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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Faculty and Staff Directory

Dean Hardy

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-7593
Office: EWS 514

Department of Geography

Critical Ecologies Lab

Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae

Dean Hardy

Dr. Hardy received his Ph.D. in Integrative Conservation and Geography from the University of Georgia in 2016. He held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Maryland’s NSF-funded National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center from 2016-2019. He received his M.S. in Ecology in 2009 and three B.S. degrees in Marine Sciences, Biology, and Ecology with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Georgia in 2003. He has been at USC since 2019 and is jointly appointed in the School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment and the Department of Geography.


The core of Dr. Hardy’s research examines how climate change exacerbates issues of environmental justice with a special focus on how these issues relate to increased coastal flooding under rising seas. Broadly, his research spans from assessing private conservation strategies to examining processes that produce social inequities and vulnerability from local to global scales. His research employs mixed methods including spatial analyses, interviews, and participant observation. Dr. Hardy is an Affiliated Investigator with the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research Program funded by NSF. And, as part of conducting anti-racist and community-based social science research, he is an Advisory Board member to the UGA Cornelia Walker Bailey Program on Land and Agriculture, an organization that seeks “to address important questions on the history, present status, and future of agriculture, property politics, and related issues” in a predominantly African American sea island community in coastal Georgia.


  • ENVR 201 Environmental Science and Policy I
  • ENVR 202 Environmental Science and Policy II
  • GEOG 347 Water as a Resources
  • ENVR/GEOG 517 Socionatural Coastlines in Global Perspective


External Grants

2023-2027. NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 FEC ($3,999,169; USC Sub-award $942,782). An interdisciplinary program for research, education, and outreach on climate change and adaptive resilience in the Yazoo - Mississippi Delta. Shrinidhi Ambinakudige (MSU PI); Co-PIs: Dean Hardy (Sub-award PI), Brian Williams (MSU), Christy Hyman (MSU), Fikriyah Winata (MSU); Senior Personnel: Monica Barra (USC), Renee Clary (MSU). Jamie Dyer (MSU), Boniface Fosu (MSU), Jamese Sims (MSU), Frank Mrema (Alcorn State), Raja Reddy (MSU), Hattie Spencer (MVSU), Etienne Toussaint (USC). Award #2316382.

2018-2022. NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences Program ($288,652). A socioecological investigation of the impacts of uneven exurban development and sea-level rise on socioeconomically differentiated communities. Nik Heynen (PI), Dean Hardy (Co-PI). Award #1759594.


Representative Publications

Hardy, D. (2023) Flood risk as legacy vulnerability: Reading the past into the present for Environmental Justice. Geoforum 142.

 Hardy, D., M. Bailey, N. Heynen (2022) “We’re still here”: An abolition ecology blockade of double dispossession of Gullah/Geechee land. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 112(3).

 Hardy, R.D. (2021) A sharing meanings approach for interdisciplinary hazards research. Risk Analysis 41(7).

Hauer, M., D. Hardy, S. Kulp, V. Mueller, D. Wrathall, & P. Clark (2021) Assessing population exposure to coastal flooding due to sea level rise. Nature Communications 12(1).

Thomas, K., R.D. Hardy, H. Lazrus, M. Mendez, B. Orlove, I. Rivera-Collazo, J.T. Roberts, M. Rockman, B. Warner, & R. Winthrop (2019) Explaining differential vulnerability to climate change: a social science review. WIREs Climate Change, 10(2).

Hardy, R.D. & M. Hauer (2018) Social vulnerability projections improve sea-level rise risk assessments. Applied Geography, 91.

Hardy, R.D., R.A. Milligan, & N. Heynen (2017) Racial coastal formation: The environmental injustice of colorblind adaptation planning for sea-level rise. Geoforum, 87.

Hardy, R.D. & B.L. Nuse (2016) Global sea-level rise: Weighing country responsibility and risk. Climatic Change, 137(3).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.