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Nora Haenn
Ph.D., Indiana University, 1998
Assistant Professor

SHESC Themes: Global Dynamics and Regional Interactions

Field specializations: cultural ecology, development anthropology, frontier dynamics, globalization, political economy, social movements, sociocultural anthropology

Regional focus: Mesoamerica, North America (Southwest)


About Research
My studies of conservation explore the social and cultural questions raised by national parks and biosphere reserves. My fieldsite of Calakmul is an excellent place for these analyses. In my book Fields of Power, Forests of Discontent, I relate how conservation programming affects farmers' everyday lives. My book follows a series of articles that examine corollary issues in forest conservation. In "Risking Environmental Justice," I find that the combined democratic and patron-client norms prevalent in Calakmul pose confusing decision-making processes and difficulty in creating political transparency. Separately, I compare local ideas of forests with botanical classifications connected to the Reserve. I find these two perspectives differ markedly. Because this conflict is hidden locally, it is even less accessible in policy circles. Bringing these issues to policy-makers, I also relate the economic context framing conservation-development programming. I outline the sources of household income to demonstrate that sustainable development contributed only a small portion to family incomes.

In these books and articles, I employ my training in cultural anthropology, typically small-scale, individual research that results in single-authored books and articles. In light of the multi-disciplinary quality of environmental studies, I sought training in additional skills. I spent 2000-01 as a Mellon Foundation Fellow in Anthropology and Demography at the U. of North Carolina's Population Center. There I worked with geographers and economists to develop surveys that examine Calakmul's quality as an agricultural frontier, including settlement history, family migration trajectories, and household economies. Working in two communities, I previously described how settlers accepted or rejected new migrants. The surveys expanded this work to 11 communities and 153 households, thereby capturing the regional dynamic of frontier settlement.

With funds from the National Science Foundation, I was Principal Investigator for the project "Effects of Local Political Hierarchies on Colonization of Mexico's Southern Frontier." The project included 5-months of data collection during 2001, and my first publication examined previously unexplored ethnohistorical accounts to depict the way global political and economic structures helped open relatively pristine forests. This paper was recognized by the Anthropology and Environment section of the American Anthropological Association (hereafter AAA) as runner-up for the best article published by a junior scholar in 2002. The second publication reports the impacts of changing land tenure connected to Mexico's privatization of communal villages (ejidos) which house half of Mexico's farm land and four-fifths of Mexico's closed forests. In addition to the above mentioned policy circles, outreach with my Mexico research has included delivery of reports to local universities, community organizations, and libraries, as well as broadcasts of findings via a Calakmul radio station.

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About Teaching
My course offerings have included six new classes and two revised classes. In all, half my teaching at ASU has entailed fresh course material. As I read my course evaluations, I note my strengths lie in upper division courses that are relatively small in size. I am, in many ways, a liberal arts teacher with keen research interests. In order to continuously improve my performance in the classroom, I have worked with the university's Writing Across the Curriculum program and consulted with Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence.

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Select Publications
Haenn, N. (2005)
Fields of Power, Forests of Discontent: Culture, Conservation, and the State in Mexico, University of Arizona Press.

Haenn, N. and Wilk, R., eds. (2005)
Environment in Anthropology: Readings in Culture, Nature, and Sustainable Living. New York: New York University Press..

Haenn, N. (In press)
The Changing and Enduring Ejido: A State and Regional Examination of Mexico's Land Tenure Counter-Reforms. Land Use Policy

Haenn, N. (2004)
New Rural Poverty: The Tangled Web of Environmental Protection and Economic Aid in Southern Mexico. Journal on Poverty. 8(4)

Haenn, N. 2003
"Risking Environmental Justice: Culture, Conservation, and Governance at Calakmul, Mexico" in Social Justice in Latin America. Susan Eckstein and Timothy Wickham-Crawley, eds., pp.81-101. New York: Routledge Press.

Haenn, N. 2002
"Nature Regimes in Southern Mexico: A History of Power and Environment" in Ethnology 41(1):1-26.

Haenn, N. 2000
"Biodiversity is Diversity in Use: Community-based Conservation in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve" in América Verde. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy. [additional Spanish language version published 2001]

Haenn, N. 1999
"Working Forests: Conservation and Conflict in Tropical Mexico" in Delaware Review of Latin American Studies. 1(1):

Haenn, N. 1999
"The Power of Environmental Knowledge: Ethnoecology and Environmental Conflicts in Mexican Conservation" in Human Ecology, 27(3):477-491.

Haenn, N. 1999
"Community Formation in Frontier Mexico: Accepting and Rejecting Migrants," in Human Organization, 58(1):36-43.

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Contact: Nora Haenn

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