Self Determination in a Digital Age

Self-determination in a Digital Age is a project I co-lead with Dr. Diego Soares (Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, Brazil) in partnership with one Kayapó community (Brazil) and a local Mebêgnôkre-Kayapó NGO. The project explores the centrality of digital “media worlds” in one Mebêgnôkre-Kayapó village, paying attention to the production, consumption, and reception of digital media technologies. From an approach that combines the strengths of feminist political ecology, Science and Technology Studies, and decolonizing research methodologies we offer an intersectional analysis of different generational and gendered conceptualizations of and engagements with digital media technologies as well as their circulations across time and space. With a strong engagement component of this work, we are working with the community on building a digital media center and training youth in digital media production. Since January 2015 we have partnered with EPICS at Purdue University on this project ( and have a large team of graduate and undergraduate students from UFU and Purdue working with us. Stay posted for more information.

Check out work from the Purdue 2017 Environmental and Ecological design team here and ongoing work at this blog/website: & annotated screening room notes from MKWURI undergraduate work here and poster of the work here.


Presence to Influence

Examining the Politics of Indigenous Representation in Global Environmental Governance In recent years, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have steadily gained access and opportunities to participate in international policy-making arenas. This increased participation is particularly visible in global environmental governance venues, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Despite, however, the resources and attention dedicated to indigenous representation and the increased presence of Indigenous Peoples in global environmental governance, their influence on decision outcomes remains mixed (Witter et al 2015).  In this project, we seek to identify and examine the ways in which marginalized and underrepresented groups effectively influence governance processes that directly impact their ways of living. Led by Dr. Kim Marion Suiseeya and myself, presence2influence is a multi-sited, multi-year collaborative research project.
More information about the team can be found here:


Water Security and Sovereignty

Water Security and Sovereignty: Indigenous Lands, Conservation Issues, and Freshwater Resources. This project partners with Mebêngôkre-Kayapó communities to analyze water security issues for current and future generations. The goal is to identify culturally relevant solutions for ongoing healthy socio-ecological systems in the face of climate change, development plans, artisanal mining, and other emerging issues that will impact local livelihoods.


Leadership and Strength

Since 2009, we have partnered with community leaders to collaboratively design a project that shares community members’ stories about living well in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska. This project draws from the Iñupiat Values and the Iñupiaq Learning Framework as models for leadership, strength and healing. Our project goal is to collect these stories for the community and future generations. We use a community-based framework to show how women and men across generations build leadership, strength and community well-being. We root our work in a participatory and inclusive approach where research and learning projects are part of larger decolonization processes. Our project website is under construction but should be back soon. Please check out our best practices film here:

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Payment for Ecosystem Services

Using cash transfers to promote ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods: What is the role of conditionality? I am part of a team of researchers led by Dr. Zhao Ma who are investigating the strong belief in the research and practitioner communities that conditionality is a core attribute of PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) programs, dictating that payments (i.e., cash transfers) should be conditional on measurable ecological benefits or on specific management actions intended to produce desired ecological benefits.


Equitable Co-existence of Agriculture, Mining, and Regional Development in Arequipa: Realities, Barriers, and Opportunities

This project led by Dr. Zhao Ma (Purdue PI) and Dr. Patricia Salas OBrien (UNSA PI) investigates how communities across the rural-to-urban gradient perceive water availability and quality in the context of climate change to identify potential strategies for facilitating the co-existence. Co-investigators on the team include Laura Zanotti, Jonathan Bauchet, Eliseo Zeballos, Nelly Ramirez, Glen Arce Larrea, Carlos Trujillo Vera. Learn more here:

Electronic Life Histories

I am part of an interdisciplinary project lead by Dr. Kory Cooper that focuses on the electronic life histories of electronic waste. Hundreds of millions of electronic devices (computers, cell phones, LCD televisions, etc.) have been produced globally in the last few years and many of these devices contain materials known to have serious negative impacts on human health. When an electronic device comes to the end of its use-life, or is replaced with a newer model, it is disposed of in a landfill, stored in the home (closet-fill), refurbished for resale and reuse, or dismantled for the purpose of recycling metal components. As the amount of e-waste continues to grow at an alarming rate it is clear that the hazardous effects of e-waste will be with us for a very long time to come. Check us out here - and on our Teaching Tools post, called "Teaching Electronic Life Histories" by Laura Zanotti, H. Kory Cooper and Shannon McMullen. Here is the link: