Andrew P. Vayda is retired from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he was Professor in the Department of Human Ecology, Cook College, and Rutgers University. Vayda received his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Vayda has maintained an interest in Popperian methodology and social science. He has taught numerous courses on the role of explanation and methodology in social and ecological science reflecting this interest in the work of Karl Popper. Additionally, his research in Indonesia as well as in other areas has reflected the importance of the work of Popper as Vayda has applied it to his own work on the processes and mechanisms of social and ecological change.
Vayda has been a major figure in anthropological research on human ecology. He has been concerned with the impact of human activity on the environment as well as in developing methods and explanations to explain the environmental effects of human action. Furthermore, Vayda has studied and written on the misuse as well as the proper use of ecological, evolutionary, and sociocultural theory. His interests extend to land use, especially tropical forestland use, conservation, and resource management. More generally he is concerned with the use of practical knowledge, including how it is produced, transmitted, and changed.
He has worked with and taught many of the major figures in the human and cultural ecology movement, including his most prominent student, Roy Rappaport, and the influential Julian Steward. Vayda continues to write influential books and articles, directing attention to the interrelationship between human and the environment while seeking ways to improve that interrelationship.
- Alland, A., Jr. (1970). Adaptation in cultural evolution an approach to medical anthropology. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Vayda, A. P. (Ed.). (1969). Environment and cultural behavior: ecological studies in cultural anthropology. Garden City, NY: The Natural History Press.
- Vayda, A. P., Walters, B. B., & Setyawati, I. (in press). Doing and knowing: Questions about studies of local knowledge. In A. Bicker, P. Sillitoe, & J. Pottier (Eds.) Investigating local knowledge: New directions, new approaches. London: Ashgate Publishing.