Dana Baker

Research Interests

My research interests are in the fields of environment and development, with an area expertise in sub-Saharan Africa. I am interested in better understanding the relationships human society has with their environment, especially how conservation and development programs change and challenge one’s relationship with the natural world. I draw from diverse social science literatures and incorporate theories of power, government, resistance, and subject creation into my work. This allows me to think critically about the knowledge systems and models of governance that implicitly shape the practice of conservation.

My current research interests fall into 3 categories:

  1. Marine protected areas, conservation & social outcomes

  2. Human-environment relations

  3. Human wellbeing, poverty, & development

Methodological Approach

My methodological approach to research is rooted in a human-centered worldview, where research accounts are located in relation not only to the researcher, but also to the disciplines and methods used to produce them. This is characterized by working to understand the perspectives, as close as possible, of the research subject. In addition, I believe there is immense value in using collaborative, participatory approaches to generate knowledge and share information between stakeholders. This participatory approach is at the center of each of my projects. 

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