About The Un/Disciplined Feminist Political Ecology Lab

Discipline: (noun) a field of study, a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity; (verb) to impose order upon, to bring a group under control (Merriam Webster)

The Un/Disciplined Feminist Political Ecology Lab is run in coordination with Dr. Kimberly Marion-Suiseeya’s Un/Disciplined Environments Lab at Northwestern University and our joint Presence to Influence team. The lab is an interconnected network of scholars who work across the Américas and in transnational borderlands. We share common frameworks for collaboratively partnering with communities and offering critical perspectives to global challenges. Scholars and activists in this lab converge work in innovative ways. We work across place-based and digital interfaces, drawing upon decolonial scholarship, feminist philosophies and feminist political ecology, postcolonial scholarship, critical ethnography, science and technology studies, and justice work to amplify storytelling from spaces which customarily are not represented in dominant discourses that disrupt longstanding narratives to support transformative change. We use emerging and standard digital and media-based technologies to enhance and accentuate data collection, management, visualization, and circulation. We have a strong pulse of engaged and decolonizing threads within and across our projects. Check out all the fabulous projects below that are housed at Purdue!

Catalina Garcia Acevedo


Anthropologist from the National University of Colombia. She has experience with peasant populations in central Colombia with indigenous communities in eastern and southern Colombia and the indigenous Kichwa people, originally from Otavalo, Ecuador. She has worked as a civil servant and researcher of public and national institutions such as the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and the National University. With this last one she participated in the development of the application UN_RUNASHIMI for the promotion of the use of the indigenous language of the Kichwa people (2015). Her interests are focused on oral and traditional oral history, social history of the armed conflict, rural populations and recently she has focused her studies on cognitive disabilities in Colombia. Although the areas are diverse, transversally has been interested in an ethnographic approach to the population and in a constant dialogue of knowledge between academia and community. She is currently a freshman of the Master of Applied Anthropology at Purdue University.

Sarah Huang


Sarah Huang is currently pursuing her PhD degree in Ecological Science and Engineering and Cultural Anthropology.  Her undergraduate research was on the ways in which the proposed Pebble Mine is a case in which the protection of cultural subsistence systems tend to be protected when threatened by environmental harms from resource development.

Her current research interests stem from her interest in human to food relationships, focusing on the topic of food identity post-migration from hometowns. She plans on examining the ways that people develop a relationship with food and how they define food identity. She wants to explore the different mediums that food identity can be defined, such as through a physical object, artistic medium, or an action like cooking. She is also interested in the creation of different cultural identities through the local sustainable agriculture movement that occurs in Anchorage, Alaska and surrounding towns.

Virginia Pleasant


Virginia’s research explores the complexity of modern food systems at both micro and macro levels. It is inspired by emergent alternative food systems that espouse more traditional methods and situate themselves within the food justice movement. Virginia is working with smallholder and alternative farmers in Indiana to identify the successes and challenges they face. Although this research is highly localized, it will provide a model for future research in the U.S. as well as abroad. Additionally, as it develops, this research will hold implications for future policy shifts with the capability to greatly impact local livelihoods, food security, and the environment.  Virginia’s research on alternative food systems explores these complexities by situating “counter” food systems in juxtaposition to the more normative institution of big agriculture. She intends to demonstrate that contrary to the highly prevalent rhetoric that espouses modern agriculture as a cure-all for everything from world hunger to poverty to environmental woes, “counter” systems are better equipped to mediate these issues. She proposes that alternative and smallholder food production (and its consumption) are in fact a locus of resilience. This resilience embodies an expanded conceptualization of sustainability and considers it in multifaceted, complex, and interrelated terms: environmental and economic, yes, but also cultural, historical, spatial and agentive.  Due to the complexity of food and food systems, as well as saturation of life by foodways more generally, this research is necessarily interdisciplinary in nature. The sources and perspectives she attempts to illuminate through her research include cultural and medical anthropology, political ecology, history, ag econ, indigenous studies, and media/popular sources.  If we examine food closely, it affects much more than our dinner tables or pocketbooks; it stands to reason, then, that the study of food systems should also be multidimensional.  It is also imperative that this research be accessible to the public and interpretive in nature.  

Shradha Naveen

As an Indian girl who has grown up in East Africa, Shradha has been fascinated with the intersection between the natural environment, culture and economic development and how these cycles and processes are interdependent but also influence each other. This fascination led her to do her BSc in Environment and Sustainability at Keele University, UK, after which she did her MA in Environment, Development and Policy at Sussex University, UK. Through her study, she has been drawn to issues of natural resource management (particularly water) and waste management as she sees them as the most pressing issues in the geographic areas she has researched. Her most recent work has looked at sanitation in India, working with an NGO in Karnataka to document best practices in the outreach, processing, and implementation of government sanitation schemes in India. She is particularly interested in a gendered understanding of the triple bottom line. 

Ingrid Ramón Parra


Her research interests are in the anthropological study of indigenous media and broader theoretical questions regarding how media alters understandings of politics and representation. She is interested in how new technology serves as a tool for the promotion of land rights, cultural preservation, communication within indigenous groups, and artistic expression. Her geographic area of interest is the transnational Amazon region.