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Maaz Gardezi

Maaz Gardezi, Assistant Professor

Maaz Gardezi
Maaz Gardezi, Assistant Professor

Department of Sociology
518 McBryde Hall
225 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-2765 |

Maaz Gardezi is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Tech. He studies two broad and interrelated topics: (1) climate change and sustainability and (2) the social implications of emerging digital technologies (e.g. big data, artificial intelligence) in food and agricultural systems. Maaz is the principle investigator on research grants in excess of $3M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier program. Through these projects, he works with large interdisciplinary and multi-institutional teams to interrogate how innovation and governance of ‘smart farming’ can enable sustainability transition in agriculture, including improving political and social outcomes for farm labor and farm work. In these projects, Maaz and his team rely on participatory design approaches that re-imagine farmers, farm workers, policy-makers, and civil society organizations not just as users or regulators of agricultural technologies, but also as their co-designers and co-evaluators. He has current projects related to climate change and agriculture in the U.S. and in South Asia. Maaz is originally from Lahore, Pakistan.

Before joining Virginia Tech, Maaz was an assistant professor of sociology and rural studies with a secondary appointment in the natural resource management at South Dakota State University. He has a Bachelors in Economics from University of Bath (UK), a Masters in Environmental Policy from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a PhD in Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University. He has experience working in different sectors, including the private sector (Porsche Cars Great Britain), non-profit (World Wildlife Fund- Washington D.C.), and as a consultant to various government bodies.

At Virginia Tech, Maaz offers undergraduate and graduate courses within the Department of Sociology and the newly approved graduate certificate program in Science, Technology, and Engineering in Policy (STEP).

  • Social implications of emerging agricultural technologies
  • Climate change and sustainability
  • Responsible innovation and governance
  • Computational social sciences
  • Participatory design of emerging technologies
  • Ph.D. in Sociology and Sustainable Agriculture (Minor: Statistics), Iowa State University, 2017
  • M.S. in Environmental Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2014
  • B.S. in Economics, University of Bath, UK, 2008
  • Awarded the 2021 David Fee Memorial Lecture at South Dakota State University, entitled: “Dilemmas of technological progress in advanced capitalism: Big data and artificial intelligence” Link:
  • College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, South Dakota State University. Outstanding Faculty Achievement for NSF: Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier
  • Travel Award, United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) & National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ($1000).
  • Ecological Risk Assessment Specialty Group Paper Award, Society of Risk Analysis ($500)
  • Fulbright Masters Scholarship, The US Department of State ($132,000)

Journal Articles

Vij, S., Biesbroek, R., Stock, R., Gardezi, M., Ishtiaque, A., Groot, A., Termeer, K. Power-sensitive design principles’ for climate change adaptation policy-making in South Asia. Earth System Governance, 9, 100-109.

Stock, R., and Gardezi, M. (2021). Make bloom and let wither: Biopolitics of precision agriculture at the dawn of surveillance capitalism. Geoforum, 122, 193-203.

Gardezi, M., and Stock, R. (2021). Growing algorithmic governmentality: Interrogating the social construction of trust in precision agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies84, 1-11.

Gardezi, M. and Arbuckle J.G (2020). Techno-optimism and farmers’ attitudes toward climate change adaptation. Environment and Behavior, 52, 82-105.

Gardezi, M and Bronson, K. (2020). Examining the social and biophysical determinants of U.S. Midwestern corn farmers’ adoption of precision agriculture. Precision Agriculture, 1-20.

Gardezi, M., & Arbuckle, J. G. (2019). The influence of objective and perceived adaptive capacity on Midwestern farmers’ use of cover crops. Weather, Climate, and Society11(3), 665-679.

Gardezi, M., and Arbuckle, J. G. (2019). Spatially representing vulnerability to extreme rain events using midwestern farmers’ objective and perceived attributes of adaptive capacity. Risk Analysis39(1), 17-34. Risk Analysis. https://doi:10.1111/risa.12943

Shao, W, Gardezi, M., Xian, S. (2018). Examining the effects of objective hurricane risks and community resilience on risk perceptions of hurricanes at the county level in the U.S. Gulf coast: An innovative approach. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. 108:5, 1389-1405

Book Chapters

P. F. Biehl, S. Crate, M. Gardezi, L. Hamilton, S.L. Harlan, C. Hritz, B. Hubbell, T.A. Kohler, N. Peterson, J. Silva (2018). “Innovative tools, methods, and analysis: Social science perspectives on climate change, part 3.” Washington, DC: USGCRP Social Science Coordinating Committee.

Gardezi, M. & Illahe S (2019). “The five configurations of climate compatible development for poor natural resource dependent communities in Pakistan.” Sustainable Development Policy Institute Anthology.

Gardezi, Maaz (2013). “Historical perspective of the Indus river basin.” In L. Powell & S. Mittra (Eds.), Perspectives on Water: Constructing Alternative Narratives. New Delhi: Academic Foundation.

PI, National Science Foundation (NSF), Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier- Research Large: Testing a Responsible Innovation Approach for Integrating Precision Agriculture (PA) Technologies with Future Farm Workers and Work (Award # 2026431). Total Award: US$3,013,792 (2020-2024)  Link:

PI, National Science Foundation (NSF), Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier- Planning: Anticipating Risks and Benefits of Precision Agriculture (PA) for the Future of Agricultural Work and Workforce: A Multi-Stakeholder Research Agenda (Award # 1929814). Total Award: $150,000 (2019-2021) Link:

PI, Midwest Big Data Hub – Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Plant Sciences, and Education (UASPSE), Early Career Researcher Foreign Collaboration Grant: Understanding the Digital Divide in Precision Agriculture. Total Award: US$4,500.

PI, South Dakota State University. Research and Scholarship Support Fund. Examining the Social and Behavioral Determinants of U.S. Public’s Support for Climate Change Mitigation Policy: A Bayesian Meta-Analysis. Total Award: US$1,872 (2018-2019)

PI, Computing Community Consortium (CCC) & Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH). Early Career Research Seed Funding. Total Award: US$3,500. (2016-2017)

CO-PI, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Roadmap to Water Resilience- Valuing Water as a Resource for Improved Ag Land Profitability and Reduction of Downstream Flood Risk”. Total Award: US$887,687; Dr. Gardezi’s share = US$90,000 (PI: Dr. John McMaine) (2020-2023)

  • Presenter, “In pursuit of responsible innovation and governance of precision agriculture”. College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, June 2, 2021.
  • Presenter, David Fee Memorial Lecture, “Dilemmas of technological progress in advanced capitalism: Big data and artificial intelligence” South Dakota State University, Brookings, March 25, 2021.
  • Presenter, “Precision Agriculture: Algorithmic Governmentality and Reconfiguration of Farm Work and Workers”, presented to Department of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, February 18, 2021.
  • Presenter, “Anticipating Risks and Benefits of Precision Agriculture (PA) or the Future of Agricultural Work and Workforce: A Multi-Stakeholder Research Agenda”, PI/Co-PI Meeting for Awardees of the National Science Foundation Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea Program, December 9, 2020.
  • Presenter, “Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Review of INGO agenda”, the Northern Climate Network at Northern Michigan University, August 28, 2020.
  • Panelist, “Technology Forum”, South Dakota State University, September 26, 2019.
  • Presenter, “Interdisciplinarity in research and grant work”, Graduate College Professional Development Program, South Dakota State University, September 10, 2019
  • Presenter, “Examining the social and biophysical determinants of Midwestern farmers’ adoption of precision agriculture”, Midwest Big Data Hub meeting in Salina (KS) on August 21, 2019
  • Presenter, A conversation on the challenges that confront climate change research in Pakistan, and hinder its uptake in policy and practice. Climate Change, Social Vulnerability and Food Security in Pakistan Conference, Islamabad, Pakistan. Feb 16, 2015
  • Presenter, Water: Source of conflict or cooperation between India and Pakistan? Presentation at the Blue Water Revolution Conference: Charting South Asia's Water Future. New Delhi, India, 11th April, 2011
  • Panelist, Is civil society cooperation on climate change effective? Evidence from South Asia. A conversation between academics, policy makers, and civil society members. Kathmandu, Nepal, 21 September, 2011
  • STAT/PSCI/SPIA 5134: Tools and Approaches for Policy-Making in STEM-H Domain Link:
  • SOC 4454 Culture and politics of big data and algorithms (teaching in Spring 2022)

I am always looking to recruit graduate student (MS or PhD) in Sociology at Virginia Tech to work with me on the social implications of emerging digital technologies in agriculture or other sectors (Big Data, Artificial Intelligence). If you are interested in this area of research, please send me a brief email and tell me about your interests and qualifications: