Professor, Anthropology

Office: 541-737-3896

Waldo Hall

Waldo Hall 222

2250 SW Jefferson Way

2250 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Washington 2004
M.A. Anthropology, University of Washington 2001
B.A. Asian Studies, Utah State University 1998
B.A. Technical Writing, Utah State University 1998
Cultural, Environmental, Ecological Anthropology
Additional Information: 



PDF icon tilt_cv_full_2023.pdf



East Asia / China, United States



Environmental anthropology, international development, applied anthropology, energy, demography and migration, human dimensions of natural resources

I am an environmental anthropologist who specializes in natural resources and energy development in contemporary China and the United States. My work is guided by three central questions with both scholarly and practical significance: 

  • What role does culture play in shaping people’s interactions with the natural environment?
  • How do individuals and communities balance economic development and environmental protection?
  • How can anthropological theory and method be applied to help communities find sustainable solutions to the problems they face?

Many of my research projects have applied outcomes, and I am interested in working with community members to shape policies that promote both human welfare and environmental sustainability.  My research is grounded in ethnography, although I often use a mixed-methods approach and collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines.

Prior to joining the Anthropology Department at OSU, I worked for two years as a research contractor at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington, one of several major research facilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).



Looking Beyond the Dams: Inclusive Decision Processes and Interdisciplinary Science in the Klamath Basin

OSU Dam Impacts Database (Compilation of more than 500 dams around the world, with information on population displacement, social impacts and ecological impacts. Project site:

Airborne: Pollution, Human Agency, and New Visions of Sustainability in Global China (In collaboration with the University of Oslo, Norway and Zhejiang University, China)

Growers’ Perspectives on Adopting New Technologies in the Ornamental and Fruit Tree Sector

Tribal-University Collaboration to Address Tribal Exposure to PAHs and Improve Community Health

Interdisciplinary Research and Methods for Assessing Dams as Agents of Change in China

Community Impacts of Wave Energy Development on the Oregon Coast



I am always interested in working with graduate students whose research interests align with mine. I primarily advise students in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Applied Anthropology, but I also regularly work with students in other programs at OSU, including Environmental Sciences; Water Resources Policy and Management; Marine Resource Management; and Public Policy. Over the past few years, graduate students working with me have been involved in projects in the United States and China, and have received research funding from the following sources:

National Science Foundation, Human and Social Dynamics Program

National Science Foundation, Risk Management Sciences Program

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Oregon Sea Grant

Oregon Wave Energy Trust

Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Oregon University System)

OSU Graduate School Internationalization Grant

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Intel Labs / Oregon Smart Labs

Internal Displacement Monitoring Center / Norwegian Refugee Council





  • 2023   Hennig, T., T. Harlan, B. Tilt and D. Magee. "Hydropower Development in South Asia: Data Challenges, New Approaches, and Implications for Decision-making." WIRes Water 1654: 1-10.
  • 2023   Tilt, Bryan. "China 2060: Envisioning a Human-Centered Approach to Energy Transition." in Anna Willow, ed., Anthropological Optimism: Engaging the Power of What Could Go Right. New York: Routledge.
  • 2022   Chen, Zhuo, Bryan Tilt, and Shaozeng Zhang. "Epistemic Turbulence in Renewable Energy Engineering on the Chinese 'Belt and Road.'" Engaging Science, Technology and Society 8(2): 13-33.
  • 2022   Li, Xiaoyue, John R. Stepp, and Bryan Tilt. "Nuosu Horticulturalists' Local Knowledge of Wild Edible Plants and Fungi: Socioeconomic Implications in Yunnan, Southwest China." Journal of Ethnobiology 42(3): 1-21.
  • 2021  Tilt, Bryan and Zhuo Chen. "Population Resettlement for Hydropower Development in the Lancang River Basin: An Evolving Policy Framework and its Implications for Local People." in J.F. Rousseau and S. Habich-Sobiegalla, eds. The Political Economy of Hydropower in Southwest China and Beyond. Palgrave.
  • 2020   Fostvedt, Mattias P., Desiree D. Tullos, and Bryan Tilt. "Institutional Analysis of Small Dam Removals: A Comparison of Non-Federal Dam Removals in Washington and Oregon." Water Alternatives 13(2): 369-392.
  • 2019   Tilt, Bryan, Xiaoyue Li, and Edwin A. Schmitt. "Fertility Trends, Sex Ratios, and Son Preference among Han and Minority Households in Rural China." Asian Anthropology 18(2): 110-128.
  • 2019  Tilt, Bryan. "China's Air Pollution Crisis: Science and Policy Perspectives." Environmental Science and Policy 92: 275-280.
  • 2019  Li, Xiaoyue and Bryan Tilt. "Public engagements with Smog in Urban China: Knowledge, Trust, and Action." Environmental Science and Policy 92: 220-227.
  • 2019  Burleson, Grace, Bryan Tilt, Kendra Sharp, and Nordica MacCarty. "Reinventing Boiling: A Rapid Ethnographic and Engineering Evaluation of a High-Efficiency Thermal Water Treatment Technology in Uganda." Energy Research and Social Science 52: 68-77.
  • 2018  Tilt, Bryan. “空气污染与人类世 [Air Pollution and the Anthropocene],” in Zhaohui Liu and Mette Halskov Hansen, eds. 仰望窗外的天空:中外科学家对话空气环境与治理 [A Window on the Sky: Chinese and Foreign Scholars Discuss the Atmospheric Environment and its Governance]. Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press. P. 185-193. (In Chinese).
  • 2017  Li, Xiaoyue and Bryan Tilt. "Perceptions of Quality of Life and Pollution among China's Urban Middle Class: The Case of Tangshan." The China Quarterly. Open Access: 1-17.
  • 2017   Ferguson, Laura, Samuel Chan, Mary Santelmann, and Bryan Tilt. "Exploring Participant Motivations and Expectations in a Researcher-Stakeholder Engagement Process." Landscape and Urban Planning 157: 447-456.
  • 2017  Consulting Report: Walicki, Nadine, Michael J. Ioannides, and Bryan Tilt. “Dams and Internal Displacement: An Introduction.” Case Study Series on Dam Displacement. Internal Displacement Monitoring Center: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 2017  Consulting Report: Ioannides, Michael J. and Bryan Tilt. “China: Lessons Learned from the Manwan Dam.” Case Study Series on Dam Displacement. Internal Displacement Monitoring Center: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 2016  Tilt, Bryan. "Dams, Displacement, and the Moral Economy in Southwest China." In Carlos Rojas and Ralph Litzinger, eds. Ghost Protocol: Development and Displacement in Global China. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • 2016  Tilt, Bryan and Drew Gerkey. “Dams and Population Displacement on China’s Upper Mekong River: Implications for Social Capital and Social-ecological Resilience.” Global Environmental Change 36: 153-162.
  • 2015  Ingman, Mark, Mary V. Santelmann, and Bryan Tilt. “Agricultural Water Conservation in China: Plastic Mulch and Traditional Irrigation.” Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. 1(4): 1-12.
  • 2014  Conte, Thomas J. and Bryan Tilt. "The Effects of China’s Grassland Contract Policy on Pastoralists’ Attitudes towards Cooperation in an Inner Mongolian Banner." Human Ecology 42(6): 837-846.
  • 2014  Caplan, Shannon, Bryan Tilt, Gwen Hoheisel, and Tara A. Baugher. "Specialty Crop Growers' Perspectives on Adopting New Technologies."  HortTechnology 24(1): 81-87.
  • 2013  Tilt, Bryan. "The Politics of Industrial Pollution in China." The Journal of Peasant Studies 40(6): 1147-1164.
  • 2013  Tullos, Desiree D., Eric Foster-Moore, Darrin Magee, Bryan Tilt, Aaron T. Wolf, Edwin Schmitt, Francis Gassert, and Kelley Kipler. "Biophysical, Socioeconomic, and Geopolitical Vulnerabilities to Hydropower Development on the Nu River, China." Ecology and Society 18(3): 16.
  • 2013  Tilt, Bryan and Edwin Schmitt.  "The Integrative Dam Assessment Model: Reflections from an Anthropological Perspective." Practicing Anthropology 35(1): 4-7.
  • 2013  Tilt, Bryan.  "Industrial Pollution and Environmental Health in Rural China: Risk, Uncertainty and Individualization." The China Quarterly 214:283-301.
  • 2013  Galipeau, Brendan A., Mark Ingman, and Bryan Tilt.  "Dam-Induced Displacement and Agricultural Livelihoods in China's Mekong Basin."  Human Ecology 41(3): 437-446.
  • 2012  Tilt, Bryan. “Damming China’s Angry River: Vulnerability in a Culturally and Biologically Diverse Watershed.” In B.R. Johnston, L. Hiwasaki, I.J. Klaver, A. Ramos Castillo, and V. Strang, eds., Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures? New York: UNESCO International Hydrological Program. Pp. 367-386.
  • 2011 Tilt, Bryan. “Local Perceptions of ‘Quality of Life’ in Rural China: Implications for Anthropology and Participatory Development.” Journal of Anthropological Research67(1): 27-46. [pdf]
  • 2011 Tilt, Bryan. “View from the 21st Century: Civil Society and Environment in China.” In Barbara Rose Johnston, ed., Life and Death Matters: Human Rights, Environment, and Social Justice. Second Edition. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Pp. 62-76.
  • 2010 Tullos, Desiree, Philip H. Brown, Kelly Kibler, Darrin Magee, Bryan Tilt and Aaron T. Wolf. “Perspectives on the Salience and Magnitude of Dam Impacts for Hydro-development Scenarios in China.” Water Alternatives 3(2): 71-90. [pdf]
  • 2010, Bryan and Qing Xiao. “Media Coverage of Environmental Pollution in the People’s Republic of China: Responsibility, Cover-up and State Control.” Media, Culture and Society. 32(2):225-245. [pdf]
  • 2009 Tilt, Bryan, Yvonne A. Braun and Daming He. “Social Impact Assessment of Large Dams: A Comparison of International Case Studies and Implications for Best Practice.” Journal of Environmental Management 90(Supplement 3): S249-257. [pdf]
  • 2009 Brown, Philip H., Darrin Magee, Bryan Tilt, Desiree Tullos and Aaron T. Wolf. “Modeling the Costs and Benefits of Dam Construction from a Multidisciplinary Perspective.” Journal of Environmental Management 90 (Supplement 3): S303-311. [pdf]
  • 2009 Tullos, Desiree, Bryan Tilt and Katherine Reidy-Lierman. “Introduction to the Special Issue: Understanding and Linking the Biophysical, Socioeconomic and Geopolitical Effects of Dams.” Journal of Environmental Management 90 (Supplement 3): S203-207. [pdf]
  • 2008 Tilt, Bryan. "Smallholders and the ‘Household Responsibility system': Adapting to Institutional Change in Chinese Agriculture." Human Ecology 36(2): 189-199. [pdf]
  • 2007 Tilt, Bryan. "The Political Ecology of Pollution Enforcement in China: A Case from Sichuan's Rural Industrial Sector" The China Quarterly 192: 915-932. [pdf]
  • 2006 Tilt, Bryan. "Perceptions of Risk from Industrial Pollution in China: A Comparison of Occupational Groups." Human Organization 65(2):115-127. [pdf]
  • 2006 Sepez, Jennifer, Karma Norman, Amanda Poole and Bryan Tilt. "Fish Scales: Scope, Scale, and Method in Social Science Research on North Pacific and West Coast Fishing Communities." Human Organization 65(3):283-296.




Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Sch Lang, Culture & Soc
OSU Main Campus
Research/Career Interests: 

Affiliated MPP Faculty

Policy Areas: Sustainable development, environmental risk assessment, pollution, community participation, natural resources, fisheries management

PhD: University of Washington

Beyond OSU
MPP Faculty
SPP Concentration: 
No Concentration
SPP Program: 
Affiliated Faculty