Initially trained as a human rights attorney, Prof. Tirrell focuses his
research on rights-based approaches to natural resource management, sustainable
development, and climate change adaptation. Before returning to academia, his
legal practice was predominantly in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and New York
City on issues of development, environmental protection, education, and human
rights. As a scholar, he has continued to study those regions and issues, but
recently he began a dissertation project examining the effectiveness of fisheries
management regimes in several communities in Arctic Norway, New Zealand, and New England.
A large part of this research relates to the durability, change, and interplay of
cultural, social, and political institutions, and how these impact governance across
various scales. In a similar vein, he is currently working on a project comparing
and contrasting changes in religion and secularism in Europe and the United States
over the past several centuries (and specifically how institutions have promoted
or hindered the growth of secularism in differing socio-cultural and political contexts).
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