Confronting Confluences of Uncertainties and Unfamiliarities About Subsistence Marketplaces Through Symbiotic Academic-Social Enterprise: Climate Change and Sustainability Education

This track will assemble researchers, educators, and practitioners who would work to bridge research and practice to address a specific uncertainty that looms large in subsistence marketplaces, use research to overcome familiarity, translate insights to practice on the ground, and in turn continue the virtuous loop to enriched research and so forth. Climate change will play out in different ways in different geographies.  Research at the intersection of consumers, consumptions and specific domains of subsistence such as food, water, and livelihoods can lead to sustainability educational programs that are customized to specific geographies.  In turn, such practice can inform and enrich research. The track will push toward this cycle of research and practice in confronting a specific challenge in subsistence marketplaces.  Our approach will be a symbiotic academic-social enterprise, blurring research and practice for purposes of enhancing both.  Thus, this approach is at one end of the continuum of research and practice in realizing the promise of TCR.

Track Leader

Madhu Viswanathan is the Diane and Steven N. Miller Professor in Business at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he has been on the faculty since 1990.  He earned a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, 1985), and a PhD in Marketing (University of Minnesota, 1990).  His research programs are in two areas; measurement and research methodology, and literacy, poverty, and subsistence marketplace behaviors.  He has authored books in both areas: Measurement Error and Research Design (Sage, 2005), and Enabling Consumer and Entrepreneurial Literacy in Subsistence Marketplaces (Springer, 2008, in alliance with UNESCO).  He directs the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative ( and has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives.  He teaches courses on research methods and on subsistence and sustainability. He founded and directs the Marketplace Literacy Project (, a non-profit organization, pioneering the design and delivery of marketplace literacy education to low-income consumers and subsistence marketplaces.  He has received research, teaching, curriculum development, social entrepreneurship, humanitarian, leadership, public engagement, international achievement, and career achievement awards and his course on subsistence marketplaces was ranked one of the top entrepreneurship courses by Inc. magazine.
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