Hugh Gladwin is an anthropologist and associate professor in the department of Global and Sociocultural Studies (GSS) at FIU. He was trained in economic anthropology and cognitive science at Stanford University where he received his PhD in 1970 and after that on a post-doc at the University of California, Irvine. His dissertation research was a study of economic decision making by women fish sellers in Ghana. He has also done field work in Mexico, southern California, and south Florida. He came to FIU in 1981 to the department of Sociology and Anthropology, and concurrently was with the Institute for Public Opinion Research from 1983 to 2011 which he directed starting in 1988.
His major area of research is the application of cognitive decision making, urban theory, survey research, and GIS tools to understand large urban settings of high cultural and demographic diversity. Within that framework, a particular interest is to better model the interactions between the human population and natural systems such as the South Florida ecosystem and, since Hurricane Andrew in 1982, extreme natural events like hurricanes and climate change. He is a co-editor (with Walter Gillis Peacock and Betty Morrow) and contributor to the book Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender, and the Sociology of Disaster and author of many publications and presentations on disaster mitigation, public health, and public opinion. In disaster research he has been PI or Co-PI on nine NSF grants. Consistent with his GSS department's lead role in the Florida Coastal Everglades NSF-Long Term Ecological Research project (in which Professor Gladwin is a participant), these NSF-funded projects combine interdisciplinary social science with engineering and computer science to develop innovative approaches to hurricane disaster planning. The research includes substantial use of geographic information systems (GIS), which the department teaches to graduate and undergraduate students in introductory and advanced courses, including GIS & Social Research.