Mara Goldman photo portrait
Associate Professor of Geography • Political Ecology; Science and Technology Studies; indigenous knowledge; Nature-Society Relations • Faculty Research Associate of IBS • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
Human Geography • Environment-Society
303-492-8794 GUGG 102a

Research Interests

Mara J. Goldman is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and a faculty associate in the Institute for Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (geography) and was a post-doctoral fellow at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Nairobi, where she conducted research on “Communication and the Politics of Participation in Pastoral Societies.” Goldman’s research is situated in human-environment geography and can best be described as political ecology with a focus on questions of empowerment, access to resources, knowledge, and decision-making processes. Specific research projects focus on the following overlapping areas: the politics of wildlife conservation (knowledge and practice); the politics of participation and knowledge regarding natural resource management and development; changing resource governance, knowledge, and ecologies as related to climate change in semi-arid rangelands; the gendered dynamics of resource access and use, and women’s empowerment processes. Her work is based in East Africa, specifically with pastoral/agro-pastoral Maasai communities in Tanzania and Kenya. She is co-editor (with P. Nadasdy, and M.D. Turner), of Knowing nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Mara is currently publishing from a project that just ended (2009) and was funded by the National Science Foundation, and a University of Colorado Innovative Seed Grant. She was PI on the project which combined qualitative data collection with survey data to explore the impacts of different types of women's empowerment projects currently underway in Maasai villages across northern Tanzania, and how they are linked to empowerment processes at the personal and societal levels, environmental governance, community decision making, and land ownership. She has one paper (with Jani Little) in print on this project in World Development (2015). Mara is also currently Co-PI on an NSF entitled Examining Processes of Knowledge Co-production for Climate Adaptation in East Africa, with Lisa Dilling and Meaghan Daly (graduate student) in Environmental Studies and Eric Lovell (graduate student) in Geography. This project addresses the knowledge politics surrounding climate change adaptation in the semi-arid savanna rangelands of Northern Tanzania.


Recent Courses Include

  • Spring 2017  GEOG 3422 (3) Political Ecology
  • Fall 2016  GEOG 3682 (3) Geography of International Development
  • Fall 2016  GEOG 3862 (3) Geography of Africa
  • Spring 2016  GEOG 3422 (3) Political Ecology
  • Spring 2016  GEOG 6402 (3) Seminar Political Ecology: Politics of Environmental Knowledge

Selected Publications

Goldman, M. J. and J. S. Little. (2015). Innovative Grassroots NGOS and the Complex Processes of Women’s Empowerment: An empirical investigation from Northern Tanzania. World Development 66 (2015):762-777.

Goldman, M., J. R. Dephinho, and J. Perry. (2013). Beyond Ritual and Economics: Maasai Lion Hunting and Conservation Politics. Oryx. Published online: 14 May 2013: 1-11. doi:10.1017/S0030605312000907

Goldman, M., and Riosmena, F. (2013). Adaptive Capacity and Vulnerability to Drought in Tanzanian Maasailand: Changing strategies to navigate across fragmented landscapes. Global Environmental Change 23 (2013) 588–597.

Goldman, M.J., P. Nadasdy, and M.D. Turner, eds. (2011). Knowing Nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Chicago: University of Chicago University Press .

Goldman, M. (2009). Constructing Connectivity? Conservation corridors and conservation politics in East African rangelands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 99 (2):335-359 .

Publications updated April 2015