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E. Edna Wangui

Dr. E. Edna Wangui

Associate Professor and Curriculum Chair

Clippinger 106

Office Hours

GEOG: Wednesday 3-4pm, or by appointment

IDS: Tuesday 1:30-3:00pm, Friday 9:30-11am, or by appointment

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Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2004


  • Gender
  • Rural livelihoods and landscape change in East Africa

My research focuses on the human-environment dimension of rural livelihoods in African countries. Most recently I have looked at the gendered consequences of climate, land use/cover and livelihood change among pastoralists in Africa’s drylands. Interactions of biophysical and socio-economic processes have forced pastoralists formerly dependent on migration into more sedentary livelihoods. From an environment and development perspective, it is important to understand the nature of these transitions in order to critically think about better intervention measures for environmental conservation and social and economic progress. A critical starting point is an examination of local knowledge and local practices on which any external intervention should build on.

My research has focused on three specific areas: 1) Identifying the nature and root causes of land use/cover and livelihood change, 2) Linking land use/cover and livelihood change to gender relations and gendered labor availability within the household. 3) Investigating the livelihood factors that influence the nutrition security of grandparent caregivers of AIDS orphans. In my current research, I am investigating the role that gender plays in the adaptive capacity and differential vulnerability to climate change among pastoral communities in East Africa. A major concern moving forward is to evaluate how this research can better inform national policy and local civil society activities in Kenya and Tanzania.

Courses Taught

  • GEOG 1310 Globalization and the Developing World
  • GEOG 3310 Geography of Africa
  • GEOG 3430 Global Issues in Environment
  • GEOG 4450/5450 Gender, Environment and Development
  • GEOG 6310 Regional Seminar on Africa –focus on Environment and Development

Representative Publications

Wangui, E. E. 2014 Gender, livelihoods and the construction of climate change among Masai pastoralists in East Africa. In Ann Oberhauser, and Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo (eds). Global Perspectives on Gender and Space: Engaging Feminism and Development. Routledge: New York.

Muthoni, J., and Wangui, E.E. 2013. Women and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change: Opportunities and Constraints in Mangio Village, Tanzania. African Geographical Review. 32(1):59-71

Wangui, E. E. 2012 Gendered dimensions of pastoralist livelihood change: A case study of Loitokitok District, Kenya. In Musyoki, A., and Khayesi, M (eds). Environment and Development: Selected Themes from Eastern and Southern Africa. p 205-230 Gaborone: Bay Publishing

Wangui, E. E., Smucker, T., Wisner, B., Lovell, E., Mascarenhas, A., Maingi, S., Weiner, D., Munna, A., Sinha, G., Bwenge, C., Meena, H., and Munishi, P. 2012. Integrated Development, Risk Management and Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation in a Mountain-Plains System in Northern Tanzania. Revue de géographie alpine/Journal of Alpine Research [Online], 100-1 | 2012, Online since 13 April 2012, Connection on 13 July 2012.

Wangui, E. E. 2009. Livelihood strategies and nutritional status of grandparent caregivers of AIDS orphans in Nyando District, Kenya. Qualitative Health Research 19(12):1702-1715

Wangui, E. E. 2008. Development interventions, changing livelihoods, and the making of female Maasai pastoralists. Agriculture and Human Values 25(3):365-378

Selected Student Projects

Samantha Jones, M.S. Geography, 2013. Sacred Forests and the Social Dimensions of Conservation in the North Pare Mountains of Tanzania

Joyce Wairimu Muthoni, M.S. Geography, 2012. Gender and adaptive strategies to climate change in North Pare Mountains, Tanzania.

Cari Beth Head, M.A. International Affairs - Communication and Development, 2012. ICTs for Power/Empowerment?: Negotiating Narratives across the Local and Global

Kathleen Hargis, M.A. International Affairs - International Development Studies, 2012. Contextualizing Empowerment Discourse in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Case Study of the Ushindi Project

Eric Lovell, Geography, M.A. Geography, 2010. Let my cattle go thirsty?: Exploring resource access and visualizing space-time dimensions of pastoral mobility in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. With Gaurav Sinha as Co-Advisor.

Kimberly Carvey, M.A. Geography, 2008. Local knowledge, local voices: Evaluating the representation of local people in Ghanaian forest conservation policies.


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