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Zoe VanGelder

Zoe VanGelder's profile image

Zoe VanGelder

In the Field
Research Interests: 
Political ecology, Anthropology of development, Gender, Youth activism, Agrarian studies, Eco-governmentality, Climate politics, Experimental ethnography, Mexico and Latin America


My research at Stanford explores how women and youth from Mexican agrarian social movements are reimagining rural futures and what it is to “live well” in a context of global economic and ecological precarity. I am interested in the ways international climate politics and adaptation and mitigation strategies get translated by frontline communities. I want to examine how climate politics affects changing notions of rural development and how it creates new opportunities and obstacles for agrarian social movements. I am especially concerned with understanding the lived-experience of women and youth from these social movements. Using experimental ethnographic methods, I work with women and youth to study how they participate in decision-making around land-use and natural resource governance.

I am an ethnographer and a political ecologist with over a decade of experience doing research, supporting agrarian social movements, feminist organizations, and international NGOs on a variety of initiatives. I have a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Before coming to Stanford, I worked and consulted with Oxfam International, ActionAid, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and the Jameel Abdul Latif Poverty Action Lab. Most recently, I have accompanied emancipatory research and advocacy projects with agrarian social movements in Mexico.