Max Pfeffer MS’79

Max Pfeffer is a senior associate dean and an international professor of development sociology with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His interest in community and environmental sociology was fueled by a personal experience. His parents were farmers in Germany, and when they immigrated to the United States after World War II, they continued farming in their adopted home amid the fluctuation of agriculture and the broader economy of the post-war period. His studies at CALS eventually allowed him to examine those changes from a scholarly perspective. His CALS experience also gave him the perspective and confidence to go into the world and make meaningful contributions through his work, he says. That work includes teaching environmental sociology and sociological theory as well as researching rural labor markets, international migration, land use and environmental planning. Pfeffer, who earned his Ph.D. in sociology at UW–Madison, has published a wide range of scholarly articles and has written or co-edited four books. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and hiking with his wife, Pilar Parra PhD’89, who is also a CALS alum.