Betsy A. Beymer-Farris

BABE244's picture
  • Assistant Professor
  • Director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Visiting Associate Professor II, Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Geography
  • Social Theory
  • Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies
849 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Ph.D. Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011
M.A. Geography, Miami University, 2005
B.A. Geography, Wittenberg University, 2002


The overarching goal of my research is to link ecological and social science theories through a political ecology approach.  I draw heavily from the literatures of social-ecological resilience, matrix ecology, political economy, environmental history and justice, feminist theories, and global commodity chains.  I have 14 years of experience working in Tanzania where I conduct research on “sustainably utilized” landscapes, (re)conceptualizing social-ecological resilience, gender and the environment, environmental policies and human rights, agro-food commodity chains, carbon forestry, and tropical resource management and conservation.  I am also a Visiting Associate Professor II in the Department of International Environment and Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas, Norway.  I am working together with a research team comprised of ecologists, social scientists, human rights lawyers, and global climate change practitioners in Norway and Tanzania to examine the gender, human rights, ecology, and political-economic dimensions of emerging coastal resource management plans related to climate change in Tanzania. This interdisciplinary and international research agenda is funded by a five year grant titled “Vulnerability, Resilience, Rights, and Responsibilities: an Analysis of Climate Change in Relation to Coastal Resources, Gender, and Governance in Coastal Tanzania and Zanzibar” awarded in July 2013 by the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED).

I have experience teaching courses on political ecology, sustainability science, resilience and adaptation, and study away field courses in Tanzania.  I believe my role as an educator is to motivate students to critically examine the dynamic social-ecological processes underlying the formation and change of place and space and how they hold the potential to affect change.  In my teaching I seek to build critical thinking skills, integrate diverse worldviews and perspectives, challenge dominant modes of thinking, and incorporate field-based learning.  All of my courses contain interdisciplinary perspectives and theoretical frameworks in order to “bridge the divide” between the natural and the social sciences. 

Selected Publications: 

Beymer-Farris, B.A., and T.J. Bassett. “Environmental narratives and politics in Tanzania's Rufiji Delta: a reply to Burgess, et al.” Global Environmental Change, 23 (2013): 1355-1358.

Beymer-Farris, B.A. (2013) “Rethinking resilience through a political ecology lens: producing biodiversity in Tanzania’s mangrove forests?” Chapter 10 in Land change science, and political ecology and sustainability: synergies and divergences, C. Brannstrom and J.M. Vadjunec (eds.). Oxford, UK: Earthscan Publications.

Beymer-Farris, B., T.J. Bassett, and I. Bryceson. (2012). “Promises and pitfalls of adaptive management in resilience thinking: the lens of political ecology.” Chapter 15 in T. Plieninger and C. Bieling (eds.) Resilience and the cultural landscape: understanding and managing change in human-shaped environments. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Beymer-Farris, B.A., and T.J. Bassett. “The REDD menace: resurgent protectionism in Tanzania’s mangrove forests.” Special issue in Global Environmental Change, Adding insult to injury: climate change, social stratification, and the inequities of intervention, E. Marino and J. Ribot (eds.), 22 (2012): 332-341.

Bryceson, I. and B.A. Beymer-Farris. (2011). “Main challenges for coastal aquaculture development in the WIO region: who are the winners and losers?” Chapter 1 in Main challenges for coastal aquaculture development in the WIO region: who are the winners and losers, M. Troell, et al. (eds.). Zanzibar, Tanzania: WIOMSA Book Series.







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