Janet Sturgeon received her doctorate from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2000. Since 2004 she has been in the geography department at Simon Fraser University, where she is now an Associate Professor.
Her work looks at access to resources and landscape transformations among ethnic minority peoples along the borders of China, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. She is interested in how borders are constituted and transgressed, and how globalization is changing livelihoods and identities for farmers. Sturgeon's research has brought to light the complex and unintended outcomes of regionalization. She has published numerous articles and a book, Border Landscapes: the Politics of Akha Land Use in China and Thailand (University of Washington Press, 2005).