James Biles is an economic geographer, specializing in development and policy. His research focuses on the confluence of global economic processes, development policy and local livelihoods, particularly in urban and rural areas of Mexico and Latin America. In light of the deep-seated changes in the prevailing ideology of development during the past four decades, his work relies heavily on fieldwork, including large-scale household surveys, and attempts to incorporate the experiences of those excluded from prevailing models of development while highlighting agency – the place-specific practices and strategies that people employ for the purposes of improving livelihoods. These scholarly activities have been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Mexican equivalent (CONACYT). Biles earned his undergraduate degree in Urban and Environmental Studies at Ohio University (1995) and his Ph.D. in Economic Geography at Michigan State University (2001).