Emma Gaalaas Mullaney

Introduction

Agriculture is my primary research interest. My desire to understand the interdependencies of growing crops and growing bodies generates the following questions:

• Why do people use the land in the ways they do?
• What does this mean for the food grown in a given place?
• What does this mean for the wellbeing of indigenous populations, both human and otherwise?

My dissertation considers the everyday livelihood strategies of small-holder maize farming families, extension agents, and agricultural scientists in Mexico’s Central Highland region, and how these different actors encounter, enable, and resist ongoing state efforts to modernize agricultural production. I also explore the agency of nonhuman actors in this agrarian landscape; I am particularly interested in how maize germplasm and highland valleys work to constrain and enable particular practices of maize cultivation and commodification and how, as actors in geopolitical processes, they delineate who has authority and control over which forms of life.

I am currently pursuing a dual Ph.D. in geography and women's studies. In my research and activism, I use feminist theories and methodologies as a pair of shoes with particularly effective tread; they give me traction I wouldn’t otherwise have as I scamper about, exploring the intellectual terrain that I find most compelling. Biodiversity is a fundamentally spatial and temporal process; it is the ongoing concentration of genetic variance in particular bodies and particular places, an expression of difference that is produced through relationships between participants in a given ecosystem. I am most interested in agrobiodiversity as a key component of ecological resilience, and also as a cultural product developed and maintained over generations of attentive human practice. Feminist theories of power shed new light on debates about biodiversity conservation, tracing within them rare political moments in which social and ecological difference is clearly recognized as an asset. I seek an antiessentialist approach to conservation that allows me to reexamine our assumptions about environmental sustainability and social justice, and to recognize the theoretical and political power of everyday practices and experiences.

In addition to my work as a graduate student at Penn State, it has been my privilege to organize delegations of young people to participate in various United Nations negotiations, specifically the 2010 and 2012 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 2012 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). At these UN meetings, I work with networks of youth from countries around the world to raise public awareness of global biodiversity loss and gender injustice, and to strengthen youth participation in these international policy debates.

Research Interests

  • justice and power
  • Mexico
  • feminist theory and methodology
  • agroecology and political ecology
  • agrobiodiversity
  • social difference

Research Focus

political ecology

Adviser

Education

  • M.A. Geography, Miami University
  • B.A., Sarah Lawrence College

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 020
  • GEOG 030 TA
  • GEOG 430
  • WMNST 100

Publications

Articles

Book chapters

  • Mullaney, E.G. 2012. Ecuador: CONAIE. Edited by Steven L. Danver. Native Peoples of the World: Groups, Issues, and Controversies. M. E. Sharpe Publisher Inc.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2011. Agri cultural Revolution. Edited by Morris A. Pierce. Encyclopedia of Energy: History of Energy. Golson Media/Salem Press.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2011. Dominica. Edited by Morris A. Pierce. Encyclopedia of Energy: Geography of Energy. Golson Media/Salem Press.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2011. East Timor. Edited by Morris A. Pierce. Encyclopedia of Energy: Geography of Energy. Golson Media/Salem Press.
  • Mullaney, E.G. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Edited by Paul Robbins. Series on Green Society Vol. 12: Green Issues & Debates. SAGE Publications.
  • Mullaney, E.G.2010. Bacillus thuringiensis. Edited by Paul Robbins. Series on Green Society Vol. 10: Green Technologies. SAGE Publications.
  • Mullaney, E.G. Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador. Edited by Paul Robbins. Series on Green Society Vol. 5: Green Business. SAGE Publications.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2010. Environmental Justice. Edited by Paul Robbins. Series on Green Society Vol. 4: Green Cities. SAGE Publications.

Other publications

  • Mullaney, E.G. (ed.) 2012. Special Issue on Agricultural Biodiversity and Food Sovereignty. ECO – Reporting from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP11. October 16.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2012. Agricultural Biodiversity. The Global Youth Biodiversity Network: Policy position paper for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP11. October 8.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2011. Institutions of Impunity: from a Penn State Grad Student to David Brooks. The New York Times. November 18. A32.
  • Mullaney, E.G. 2011. Conservation-Based Markets: An Open Letter to the Private Sector. ECO – Reporting from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP10. 36(1): 2.
  • Mullaney, E.G. and Klinger, J. 2009. To Forgive a Genocide. American Geographical Society Media Center. http://www.amergeog.org/newsrelease/AGS-OpEd-timor09.pdf (also appeared in the East Timorese Action Network, London Free Press, Prince Rupert Daily News, and other news media.

Awards

  • GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS

     

    2015    United Nations Environment Programme Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Fellowship.

    2014    United Nations Environmental Programme: UNEP-Sponsored Scientific Consultant Travel Award, $4,000.

    U.S. Department of State Diplomacy Fellowship.

    Government of the Federal Republic of Germany: Global Youth Delegation to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 12th Conference of the Parties, Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea; Individual Grant, $6,000. Declined.

    Rutger’s University Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Association Honorarium, $250.

    Penn State Geography Department: Ruby S. Miller Endowment Fund Academic Enrichment Award, $100.

     

    2013    Penn State Center for Global Studies Career Development Award, $2,000.

                Labor and Working-Class History Association Travel Grant, $250.

    AAG Social and Critical Geography Specialty Group: Neil Smith Travel Award, $200.

                Penn State Geography Department: Ruby S. Miller Endowment Fund Academic Enrichment Award, $200.

                Penn State Geography Department: Ruby S. Miller Endowment Fund Academic Enrichment Award, $157.

     

    2012    National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, $15,362.

    Society of Women Geographers Evelyn L. Pruitt Dissertation Fellowship, $12,296.

    Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment Travel Grant, $1,000.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Travel Grant, $500.

    Penn State Department of Geography Travel Grant, $500.

    Penn State Department of Women’s Studies Travel Grant, $500.

     

    2011    National Security Education Program David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship, $23,500.

    Penn State College of Liberal Arts RGSO Dissertation Research Support Grant, $1,000.

    Penn State Department of Geography Endowment Dissertation Research Scholarship, $500.

    AAG Qualitative Research Specialty Group: Student Research Enhancement Grant, $500.

    AAG Rural Geography Specialty Group: Field Study Award, $500.

    AAG Graduate Student Affinity Group: Field Study Award, $250.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Office of Educational Equity: Travel Grant, $200.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences H. Herbert and Mary B. Hughes Travel Award, $75.

    Penn State Geography Department: Erickson Fund in Geography Academic Enrichment Award, $75.

     

    2010    Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG): Doctoral Student Field Study Award, $1500.

    AAG Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group: Student Field Study Award, $600.

    AAG Graduate Student Affinity Group: Field Study Award, $500.

    Penn State Geography Department: Academic Enrichment Award, $500.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Office of Educational Equity: Travel Grant, $500.

    Penn State Geography Department: Academic Enrichment Award, $250.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences: H. Herbert and Mary B. Hughes Travel Award, $150.

    Women in the Sciences and Engineering Institute Travel Grant, $150.

    Penn State Geography Department: Ruby S. Miller Endowment for Geographic Excellence, $100.

    Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment Travel Grant, $100.

    Huck Institutes of Life Sciences Travel Grant, $100.

    Social Science Research Institute Travel Grant, $100.

               

    2009    Penn State University: E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, $13,000.

    Penn State University: Anne C. Wilson Graduate Student Research Award, $3,000.

    Penn State University: The Carl H. and Helen H. Chelius Graduate Fellowship in Earth Sciences, $800.

    Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Office of Educational Equity: Travel Grant, $485.

    Penn State Geography Department: Academic Enrichment Award, $290.

    Miami University Graduate School: conference travel award, $150.

    Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute: research grant, $350 .

    Miami University Geography Graduate  Summer Writing Fellowship, $1,800.

     

    2008    Miami University Geography Graduate Summer Research Fellowship, $1,800.

    Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute: research grant, $350.

    Miami University Graduate School: thesis field work grant, $300.

    Miami University Geography Department: field work merit award, $350.

    Miami University Graduate Student Association: conference travel award, $350.

     

    2005    National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology and Civic Engagement Fellowship, $1,200.

                Morris K. Udall scholarship, $5,000.

     

    HONORS AND AWARDS

     

    2015    Women’s Studies Department Sara Woods Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, $2,000.

    AAG Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group (CAPE) Student Paper Award, $150.

    AAG Political Geography Specialty Group Student Paper Award, $250.

    Dimensions of Political Ecology (DOPE) Graduate Paper Award, $100.

    2014    Women’s Studies Department Sara Woods Outstanding Graduate Student Award, $1,500.

    Pennsylvania State University Spirit of Internationalization Award.

    Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) Jennifer Fluri and Amy Trauger Essay Competition, first place.

    2012    Penn State College of Liberal Arts Superior Teaching and Research (STAR) Award, $1,000.

                United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Citizen Science Paper Competition, first place.

    2011    E. Willard Miller Award in Geography, PhD proposal, first place, $600.

    2010    Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG) 1st Annual Nancy Brown Geography Community Service Award.

    2009    AAG Latin America Specialty Group Best Master’s Student Paper Award. $500.

    College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Graduate Research Poster Competition Honorable Mention, $200.

    2007    Miami University Annual Human Rights and Social Justice Writing  Contest: first place, $100.2005    Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless 1st Annual Youth Award for Social Change.