Research Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology
Sean is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Energy Ethics research group in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Since late-2018, Sean’s multidisciplinary research has focused on how financial professionals in Houston (Texas) conceptualize energy and value hydrocarbons. This ethnographic work explores the calculation of risk, the performance of financial expertise, and the ethical valuation of energy resources and extractive energy technologies in the United States. A key implication of Sean’s research is that the world of finance is central to the materialization of our collective energy and anthropogenic landscapes.
Sean’s project is part of the larger Energy Ethics research project led by Dr Mette High and funded by the European Research Council. His current project follows the arch of his postgraduate research on the intersection of financialization and natural resources, economisation, and economic development.
Sean is currently teaching The Anthropology of Energy module (SA4064) in the Department of Social Anthropology with Dr Pauline Destrée.
Before relocating to St Andrews, Sean was a Lecturer in Economic Geography at the University of Toronto’s Department of Geography (Mississauga campus) and an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Queen’s University’s School of Policy Studies. Sean has also been an Adjunct Professor in Queen’s University’s Department of Geography and Planning and Smith School of Business. Over his university teaching career Sean has developed and delivered undergraduate and graduate courses on a number of topics including: Economic Geography, Energy and Society, Business and Industrial Geography, Economics of Social Policy, Applied Ethics, Human Resources Management, and both Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods.
Sean started his career in business and finance working with the Royal Bank of Canada during the housing frenzy of the early 2000s. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce (BComm, honours) at the University of Guelph (Canada), Sean left the financial sector to begin multidisciplinary graduate training. Sean earned his Master of Science (MSc) in Food Agriculture and Resource Economics and International Development at the University of Guelph, where Sean studied food supply chains and conducted several months of fieldwork in Ghana. During this time Sean also worked as a consultant for the World Bank. Sean earned his Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economic Geography from Queen’s University (Canada) where he studied the intersection of financial and agricultural commodity markets.
Sean has family ties to the extraction industry in the United States and Canada with two generations of family members having worked in mineral, oil and gas extraction, including in Houston, Texas, and Calgary, Alberta.