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.
Professor McKee also conducts ethnographic research in the United States to learn about farming, sustainability and agricultural economics. She examines the challenges and innovative strategies of small- and mid-scale farmers, movements for food justice, and the shifting landscapes of local food systems. This research is currently focused in the Midwest, with plans for further case studies elsewhere in the U.S. and in the Middle East. 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.
McKee, Emily. In press. “Environmental Framing and Its Limits: Campaigns in Palestine and Israel.” International Journal of Middle East Studies.
McKee, Emily. 2018. “‘It’s the Amazon World’: Small-Scale Farmers on an Entrepreneurial Treadmill.” Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 40 (1): 65–69.
McKee, Emily 2015a. "Demolitions and Amendments: Coping with Cultural Recognition and Its Denial in Southern Israel." Nomadic Peoples 19 (1): 95-119.
McKee, Emily 2015b. "Trash Talk: Interpreting Morality and Disorder in Negev/Naqab Landscapes." Current Anthropology 56 (5): 733-52.
McKee, Emily 2014. "Performing Rootedness in the Negev/Naqab: Possibilities and Perils of Competitive Planting." Antipode 46 (5): 1172-89.
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.
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