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Debora Hammond
Born 1951
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley PhD 1997
Known for Exploring the Genealogy of Systems Thinking (2002)
The Science of Synthesis (2003)
Scientific career
Fields Systems sciences
systems theory
Institutions Sonoma State University
Doctoral advisor Carolyn Merchant

Debora Hammond (born 1951) is an American historian of science, former Provost and Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies of the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at the Sonoma State University. She is known as author of the 2003 book The Science of Synthesis: Exploring the Social Implications of General Systems Theory, and as 2005–06 President of International Society for the Systems Sciences.


Debora Hammond received a B.A. in History in 1974 at Stanford University. After teaching at the secondary level in Colorado and on the Hopi Reservation, she returned to graduate school in 1989 to study History of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1991 she received an M.A. and completed her Ph.D. in 1997 with Professor Carolyn Merchant.

Her dissertation research focused on the history of systems thinking, specifically the lives and work of the five founders of the Society for General Systems Research: Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, James Grier Miller, and Anatol Rapoport. Her research was motivated by an interest in exploring ways of thinking about complex systems that might support more participatory and inclusive forms of social organization.

Beginning in 1996, while completing her dissertation, she taught part-time in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at the Sonoma State University, where she was hired full-time in 1997. In addition to teaching courses in the lower division integrated general education sequence, she has taught upper division seminars on such topics as The Global Food Web; Oikos: Ecology and Economics; Water Matters; Health and Healing; The Dharma of Complex Systems; Technology, Ecology, and Society; and the Systems View of the World. Her teaching revolves around the core issues of ecological sustainability and social justice, exploring how to create a healthy society that works for everyone. She was promoted to Full Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in 2008 and retired in May 2017.

In 2005 Hammond participated in the Complex Systems Summer School at Santa Fe Institute. In 2005–2006, she served as President of International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), hosting the annual meeting at the Sonoma State University. Her primary purpose was to enhance the quality of the conference program by integrating contemporary developments in the field of complex systems. Beginning in 2010, she took on the leadership of the Organization Development MA Program at Sonoma State.

Debora Hammond finds much of her inspiration in the wilderness, which is reflected in her work on environmental philosophy and ethics. She believes that social justice depends upon our ability to find more harmonious ways of living with the natural world. This is reflected in her work from 2005 to 2007 as coordinator of the Northern California Earth Institute, which nurtures community dialogue on themes relating to the environment and sustainable living.

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