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James Holland Jones
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James Holland Jones



Current Affiliation

Stanford University



Faculty Fellow

  • 2022-23
  • 2021-22
  • 2020-21

James Holland Jones is an associate professor of Earth System Science and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Originally trained as an anthropologist, he has additional training and expertise in demography, statistics, and epidemiology. Jones works on a variety of projects relating to human adaptability and decision-making, including the analysis of livelihood-related responses to climate change, the role of dynamic exchange networks in managing environmental risks among subsistence populations, the reconstruction of prehistoric demographic patterns and how these inform debates about climate-mediated collapse, the coupled dynamics of behavior-change and disease transmission, and the impact of structural racism on epidemic outcomes. Jones also has a broad interest in the intersection of evolutionary and economic theory, which served as the foundation for his CASBS fellowship in 2015-16. Having taken a hiatus on the book project to work on more basic science on the subject, he is back to working on The Most Rational People in the World. He teaches classes, both within Stanford Earth and for Human Biology, such as "Global Change and Emerging Infectious Disease," "Biological and Social Networks," "Demography and Life History Theory," and "Adaptation." He also teaches a freshman seminar that goes by the same name as his book project, "The Most Rational People in the World." This winter, he will co-teach one of the inaugural classes in the Doerr School of Sustainability called "Imagining Adaptive Futures," which will examine how speculative fiction can help us work toward sustainable and just futures, even in the face of potentially existential environmental threats. Along with his wife, Libra Hilde (CASBS class of 2017-18), he is a resident fellow at Castaño House. Jones is the co-leader of a new CASBS program entitled Human, Nature, and Machines. He hopes to bring not only his interest in evolving coupled-socio-ecological systems but his obsession with CliFi to this task ( For more information, please find his website at: