For decades, Karim-Aly Kassam has seamlessly merged research and teaching in service of communities. His research focuses on the complex connectivity of human and environmental relations, addressing Indigenous ways of knowing, food sovereignty, sustainable livelihoods, stewardship and climate change. This research is conducted in partnership with Indigenous communities in the Circumpolar Arctic, Boreal Forest as well as the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Xinjiang.
Building on his considerable research record, Kassam’s teaching includes structured reflection on his participatory methods, community engagement and Indigenous ways of knowing. His flagship course, Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-based Knowledge (NTRES/AIIS/AMST 3330) and the graduate seminar (NTRES 6330) have been taken by senior undergraduates and graduate students from across Cornell for the past 15 years.
The overarching conceptual goals of Kassam’s advising, teaching and research are direct engagement with communities with immediate and concrete impacts. And he seeks to engender hope in his students, developing a research methodology of hope and instilling a pedagogy of hope.