Matt Comi

Environmental Sociology, Rural Sociology, Agri-Food Studies

email + orcid + researchgate + google scholar + cv (pdf)

Matt Comi is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Kansas. His research uses qualitative methods to explore social relationships between agricultural practitioners and materials. His work has primarily focused on agri-environmental problems in rural spaces and obstacles to sustainable transitions in agricultural praxis both in the US Midwest, Nortwhest, and its implications for agriculture elsewhere. With funding from the National Science Foundation (Award #1946941), he is currently conducting data collection and early analysis for a qualitative research project with hop farmers operating in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and across the Midwest. This project studies the practices of these niche farmers to better understadn the relationship between agricultural innovation, technological change, and environmetnal outcomes for farmers of scale. For more information about his current, past, and potential projects, go to Matt's projects page on researchgate or send a query by email.


  • Present- PhD Sociology. University of Kansas
  • 2019- Graduate Certificate, Environmental Studies. University of Kansas
  • 2018- MA Sociology. University of Kansas
    Thesis: Selling seeds, selling communities
  • 2014- BA Studio Art, Writing. Whitworth University

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • 2019. Comi, Matt 'The right hybrid for every acre': Assembling the social worlds of corn and soy seed selling in conventional agricultural techniques. Sociologia Ruralis 59(1) pp 159-176. DOI: 10.1111/soru.12227
    *Recipient, ASA Robert Boguslaw Award

Peer Edited Publications

  • 2019. Comi, Matt Participatory Research in More than Human Worlds (Book Review) Agriculture and Human Values. Online first. DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2018.083.015
  • 2018. Comi, Matt Rethinking Control: Complexity in agri-environmental governance research JAFSCD 8(3) DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2018.083.015
  • 2017. Comi, Matt Vital seeds: An assemblage approach to seed production and ownershipEnvironmental Justice in the Anthropocene Symposium Conference Paper. HDL Handle:10217/183728


  • 2020. National Science Foudnation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant. Award# 1946941 "Exploring on-farm innovation, environmental change, and rural livelihoods in the US hop-growing industry" Division of Social and Economic Sciences: Science, Technology, and Society Program.
  • 2019. American Sociology Association (ASA) Robert Boguslaw Award for Research on Technology and Humanism
  • 2019. Institute for Policy and Social Research (IPSR) Doctoral Fellow
  • 2019. Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) Alex McIntosh Paper Award
  • 2018. Carrol D. Clark Award
  • 2018. Sociology Departmental Scholarship
  • 2018. Graduate Studies Research Support Award
  • 2018. Morris C Pratt Award [for travel]
  • 2017. University Graduate Fellowship
  • 2017. Warriner Fellowship In Sociology

Conference Presentations

  • 2019. Comi, Matt "The distributed farmer: Tracing US Midwestern precision agriculture techniques in the Anthropocene American Sociology Association. New York, NY.
  • 2019. Comi, Matt "‘Pure Yeast Culture:’ Assembling a Social History of Standard Lager” Midwestern Sociological Society. Chicago, IL.
  • 2019. Mahmoud, Kafayat and Matt Comi “Exploring Gender and Place: Professional Craft Brewing in the Heartland” Midwestern Sociological Society. Chicago, IL.
  • 2018. Comi, Matt Thinking With Seeds and Seed Dealers: Exploring the Techno-Political Relations of Big-Ag Seed Sales in Rural Kansas and Missouri International Sociological Association World Congress XIX. Toronto, Canada
  • 2018. Comi, Matt The Distributed Farmer: (Re)Thinking Ownership, Autonomy, and Decision-Making in Precision Agriculture Midwestern Sociological Society. Minneapolis, MN
  • 2017. Comi, Matt Vital Seeds: An assemblage approach to seed production and ownership” Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene Symposium. Colorado State University. Fort Collins, CO

Research Experience

  • Graduate Research Assistant, Digital Inequalities in The Heartland (NSF Award Number: 1742815)—Institute for Policy and Social Research and the Department of Sociology, University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS

Professional Memberships

  • RC 40 (Agriculture and Food), International Sociological Associaion
  • Environmental Sociology Section, American Sociological Association
  • Midwest Sociological Association

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