Paul Gellert’s research examines the role of natural resources in development within a world- systems perspective
and dependency research in the traditions of Baran, Sweez y, Wallerstein, and Arrighi. Much of his research focuses
on Indonesia, where he has conducted research for over two decades and is fluent in the language. He is engaged
with debates on the meaning of ‘development’, questions of who benefits, and especially, processes of
financializ ation, accumulation by dispossession, ecologically unequal exchange, and socionatural (dialectical
society- nature) relations. Gellert takes a comparative- historical perspective based in a combination of fieldwork
and interview methods – ‘structural field work’ as explained in an article (with Jon Shefner) in the Journal of World-
Systems Research), as well as historical and secondary data analysis. He has published in outlets such as the
Journal of Contemporary Asia and Globaliz ations, as well as a chapter on environmental degradation in The
Political Economy of Southeast Asia (Carroll, Hameiri, and Jones, ed., 2020).
In this research, I propose to address the changing relations among states, markets, and societal groups through a comparative study of timber exports from Indonesia and the United States to Japan. Although an unusual comparison of advanced and peripheral nations, both countries have significant exports of solid wood products to Japan and for both, Japan is a key export market. However, they are differently situated nation-states in the world economy and have different degrees of power to pursue their aims in the Japanese market. Through qualitative interviews with state agencies, firms, intergovernmental bodies, and other groups, supplemented by secondary data on timber production and trade, the research will investigate historical and contemporary timber trade relations and policy over the last twenty years. The research aims to contribute to our understanding of the social processes of producing global and/or regional markets.