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Emily McKee

Emily McKee specializes in environmental and Middle East anthropology, with a particular focus on political ecology. She is jointly appointed with the Anthropology Department and the Institute for the Environment, Sustainability and Energy. Before joining NIU, she held postdoctoral appointments at Yale University and Brandeis University.

In the Middle East, Professor McKee researches land conflict and socio-environmental movements. Two years of fieldwork in the Negev/Naqab region investigated how Jewish and Bedouin Arab citizens and governmental bodies vie over access to land for farming and homes and over the status of unrecognized Bedouin villages. She also examines cross-border water use and conservation among Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli water conservationists, as well as the reactions of local residents to water scarcity, resource competition and conservation campaigns.

Closer to home, Professor McKee is conducting ethnographic research to learn about farming, sustainability and agricultural economics. She researches small-scale and sustainable agriculture in the American Midwest and plans future studies of local and national environmental justice campaigns. Across these field sites, Professor McKee is interested in the drawing and policing of group boundaries; experiences of agriculture, urbanization and environmental change; and environmental sustainability activism.

Peer Reviewed Publications

McKee, Emily 2016. Dwelling in Conflict: Negev Landscapes and the Boundaries of Belonging. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

McKee, Emily 2015a. "Demolitions and Amendments: Coping with Cultural Recognition and Its Denial in Southern Israel." Nomadic Peoples 19 (1): 95-119. doi:10.3197/np.2015.190107.

McKee, Emily 2015b. "Trash Talk: Interpreting Morality and Disorder in Negev/Naqab Landscapes." Current Anthropology 56 (5): 733-52. doi:10.1086/683198.

McKee, Emily 2014. "Performing Rootedness in the Negev/Naqab: Possibilities and Perils of Competitive Planting." Antipode 46 (5): 1172-89. doi:10.1111/anti.12013.

McKee, Emily 2013. "Traveling Between Reluctant Neighbors: Researching with Jews and Bedouin Arabs in the Northern Negev." In Ethnographic Encounters in Israel, edited by Fran Markowitz, 137-55. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

McKee, Emily 2010. "Of Camels and 'Ca-Mail': Engaging Complex Representations of Bedouins in Activism." Collaborative Anthropologies 3: 81-92.


Assistant Professor
Internship Coordinator 
Office: Grant Tower South A - 517


Ph.D.: University of Michigan


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