O’Reilly is an environmental anthropologist who studies how scientists and policymakers participate in environmental management, both in regards to the Antarctic environment and global climate change. Through participant observation and ethnographic interviews, she examines how people and ideas in science and policy interact, how experts make decisions about matters of concern, and how relationships with the environment inform knowledge production. O’Reilly’s conducted research in Antarctica, New Zealand, at the Antarctic Treaty consultative meetings and at meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Her current project analyzes how assessors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change make decisions in the writing of their assessment reports, which form the core set of science advice to the UNFCCC. Much of this work is represented in her new book “The Technocratic Antarctic: an Ethnography of Scientific Expertise and Environmental Governance.”
- Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2008
- M.A., Anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2003
- B.A., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 2000
Regions of Interest
- The Arctic
- New Zealand
- Global climate change
- Environmental management and governance
- Science, culture, and practice
- Institutions and expertise
- 2019. Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy. University of Chicago Press (with Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, Keynyn Brysse, Milena Wazeck, and Matthew Shindell).
- 2017. The Technocratic Antarctic: an ethnography of scientific expertise and environmental governance. Cornell University Press.
- 2016. Sensing the Ice: field science, models, and expert intimacy with knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 22(1): 27-45.
- 2015. Glacial Dramas: typos, projections, and peer review in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change edited by Jessica Barnes and Michael Dove. Yale University Press.
- 2012. The Rapid Disintegration of Projections: the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Social Studies of Science. 42(5):709-731 (with Naomi Oreskes and Michael Oppenheimer).
- 2011. Tectonic History and Gondwanan Geopolitics in the Larsemann Hills, Antarctica. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 34: 214–232.
- 2011. Characterizing Uncertainty in Expert Assessments: ozone depletion and the West Antarctic ice sheet. WIREs Climate Change. 2: 728-743 (with Keynyn Brysse, Michael Oppenheimer and Naomi Oreskes).