Emily Yeh photo portrait
Professor of Geography • President, American Association of Geographers (2021-22) • Nature/society geography; political ecology; cultural politics; development; Tibet; China • Faculty Affiliate: Center for Asian Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2003
Human Geography • Environment-Society

Research Interests

My main research interests are on questions of power, political economy, and cultural politics in the nature-society relationship. Using primarily ethnographic methods, I have conducted research on property rights, natural resource conflicts, environmental history, development and landscape transformation, grassland management and environmental policies, and emerging environmentalisms in Tibetan areas of China. In addition, I have also worked on the politics of identity and race in the Tibetan diaspora, and on several NSF-funded interdisciplinary, collaborative projects on putative causes of rangeland degradation and vulnerability to climate change on the Tibetan Plateau. Broader research and teaching interests include transnational conservation, critical development studies, the relationship between nature, territory, and the nation, and environmental justice. My regional expertise is in China, Tibet, and the Himalayas.

More Info

Despite living in Colorado and doing research in Tibet, I love the ocean and try to scuba dive when I get the chance. Fortunately, I also enjoy cycling and camping. I am also a "professora" of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, and mom of Osel and Seldron. 


Recent Courses Taught

  • Spring 2021  GEOG 5161 Research Design in Human Geography
  • Fall 2020  GEOG 5632 Development Geography
  • Spring 2020  GEOG 5161 Research Design in Human Geography
  • Spring 2019  GEOG 3822 Geography of China
  • Fall 2019  GEOG 5632 Development Geography
  • Fall 2017  GEOG 5632 Development Geography

Selected Publications

Yeh, Emily T.  2021 “The cultural politics of new Tibetan entrepreneurship in contemporary China: Valorization and the question of neoliberalism.”  Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12479

Yeh, Emily T. and Gaerrang. 2020. “Pests, keystone species and hungry ghosts: The Gesar Epic and Human-pika relations on the Tibetan Plateau.” cultural geographies.28(3) 461-478 https://doi.org/10.1177/1474474020963144

Yeh, Emily T. 2019. “’The land belonged to Nepal but the people belonged to Tibet’: Overlapping sovereignties and mobility in the Limi Valley Borderland.” Geopolitics. 26(3); 919-945  https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2019.1628018

Yeh, Emily T., Leah Samberg, Gaerrang, Emily Volkmar and Richard B. Harris. 2017. “Pastoralist decision-making on the Tibetan Plateau”, Human Ecology. 45(3), 333-343.

Yeh, Emily T (editor). 2018 The Geoeconomics and geopolitics of Chinese Development and Investment in Asia. Routledge.

Yeh, Emily T. 2013. Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Cornell University Press. 

Publications updated August 2021