Karen Piper is a professor of English and adjunct professor of Geography at the University of Missouri in Columbia. She is the author of The Price of Thirst, which explores the connection between water privatization and global social unrest; Left in the Dust, about L.A.’s destruction of Owens Valley; and Cartographic Fictions, about the evolution of mapping technologies in the British colonies and American West.
With a master’s degree in environmental studies and a Ph.D. in comparative literature (University of Oregon, 1996), Piper’s research interests include California’s water infrastructure, military settlement, and inaccessible places; colonial water infrastructure; decolonization and globalization; World Bank and IMF discourse; food security; water, women, and war; climate change narratives; and literary journalism. She grew up at China Lake Naval Weapons Center, adjacent to Owens Valley, in California’s Mojave Desert. She has received the Sierra Nature Writing Award, National Endowment of the Humanities Awards, a Huntington Fellowship, a Carnegie Mellon Fellowship and a Sitka Center Writing Residency.