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Nora Haenn


she / her

Associate Head (Fall 2023)

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty Affiiliate, Interdisciplinary Studies

1911 Bldg 229

View CV 


I am a Professor of Anthropology and International Studies and affiliate faculty with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center. My research focuses on globalization, environment, and migration.

My research on southern Mexico considers rainforest conservation, sustainable development, environmental justice, multiculturalism, and the government mechanisms employed to create and implement environmental policy. My book, Fields of Power, Forests of Discontent: Culture, Conservation, and the State in Mexico (Univ. of Arizona Press, 2005), brings these topics together to describe how conservation programs took root in southern Mexico. At the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, I place the experiences of small-holding farmers in conversation with biotechnology and large-scale industrial agriculture.

As Southern Mexicans were drawn into international migration at the dawn of the new century, I began to examine the social and environmental effects of international migration. My second book, Marriage after Migration: An Ethnography of Five Women in Globalizing Mexico, was published in 2020 by Oxford University Press. Marriage after Migration explains how a particular kind of travel, men’s labor migration, gets underway and how families transform to sustain the outflow or put the brakes on it altogether.

My personal website is located at

Extension and Community Engagement

Public Talks

2015-2108 Dr. Haenn has presented to participants in the UNC Center for International Understanding’s Latino Initiatives program on “Mexican Society: Points to Consider in Outreach to NC Latinos”

Print Press:

2013 “When Mutant Mosquitos Attack” The New York Times Magazine. Online Feb 19.

Radio and Podcasts:

2020 “Marriage after Migration” on New Books Network

2020 “Marriage after Migration” on the Mexico Centered podcast, produced by Rice University’s Baker Center

2019 “‘Marriage After Migration’: Book Highlights The Women Who Stay In Mexico While Their Husbands Work In The U.S.” on The Show; KJZZ, Phoenix

2010 “The Truth about Migration” on The State of Things; Sept. 7; WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio

Graduate Advising

I advise M.A. students in the NCSU program in Anthropology. I also contribute to doctoral committees, especially committees linked to the Genetic Engineering and Society program.

Research Publications

Haenn, N. (2023) “Love, Money, and a Secret Divorce: Patriarchy and Senior Women’s Care-giving inMexican Migration”. Insights on Latin America and the Caribbean: An Ethnographic Reader. M.Medeiros and J. Guzman, eds. Toronto: U of Toronto Press.

Siegelman, B.,* N. Haenn and X. Basurto (2019) “‘Lies Build Trust’: Social Capital, Masculinity, and Natural Resource Management in a Mexican Fishing Cooperative.” World Development. Vol 123.

Schmook, B., N. Haenn, C. Radel, and S. Navarro-Olmedo (2018) “Empowering Women?: Conditional Cash Transfers and the Patriarchal State in Calakmul, Mexico.” Money from the government in Latin America: social cash transfer policies and rural lives. Edited by E. Balen and M. Fotta. Pp.97-113. New York: Routledge Press.

Radel, C., B. Schmook, N. Haenn, and L. Green (2017) The Gender Dynamics of Conditional Cash Transfers and Smallholder Farming in Calakmul, Mexico. Women’s Studies International Forum, DOI:10.1016/j.wsif.2016.06.004.

Haenn, N. (2016) The Middle-Class Conservationist: Social Dramas, and Blurred Identity Boundaries and their  Environmental Consequences in Mexican Conservation. Current Anthropology, 57(2), 197-218.

Navarro Olmedo, S., N. Haenn, B. Schmook, and C. Radel (2016) The Legacy of Mexico’s Agrarian Counter-Reforms: Reinforcing Social Hierarchies in Calakmul, Campeche. Journal of Agrarian Change, 16(1), 145-167.

Haenn, N., B. Schmook, Y. Reyes Martínez, and S. Calmé (2014) Improving Conservation Outcomes with Insights from Local Experts and Bureaucracies. Conservation Biology, 28(4), 951-958.

Haenn, N., E. Olson, J. Martinez-Reyes, and L. Durand (2014) Between Capitalism, the State, and the Grassroots: Mexico’s Contribution to a Global Conservation Debate. Conservation and Society,12(2), 111-119.

Haenn, N., B. Schmook, Y. Reyes Martínez and S. Calmé (2014) A Cultural Consensus Regarding the King   Vulture?: Preliminary Findings and their Application to Mexican Conservation. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 3(1), 1-22.

McCoy, R. and N. Haenn (2013) Gentlemen-Type Rules’ and ‘Back Room Deals’ in Public Participation: Natural Resource Management and a Fractured State in North Carolina. Journal of Political Ecology, 20, 444-459.

Haenn,N. (2011) “Who’s Got the Money Now?: Conservation-Development Meets the Nueva Ruralidad in Southern Mexico” in H. Kopnina and E. Shoreman, eds. Environmental Anthropology Today, Routledge Press.

Haenn, N. (2010) “A Sustaining Conservation for Mexico?” in International Handbook of Environmental Sociology. G. Woodgate and M. Redclift, eds. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, Pub.

Shoreman, E. and N. Haenn (2009) Regulation, Conservation, and Collaboration: Ecological Anthropology in the Mississippi Delta. Human Ecology 37: 95-107.

Haenn, N. (2006) The Changing and Enduring Ejido: A State and Regional Examination of Mexico’s Land Tenure Counter-Reforms.  Land Use Policy 23:136-146.

Haenn, N. (2004) New Rural Poverty: The Tangled Web of Environmental Protection and Economic Aid in Southern Mexico.  Journal on Poverty. 8(4):97-117. [Reprinted 2004 in Poverty and Inequality in the Latin American-U.S. Borderlands :Implications of U.S. Interventions,pp. 97-117, K. Kilty and E. Segal, eds. New York: Haworth Press.]

Funded Research

2011:    North Carolina State University, College of Humanities and Social Science for “Bosses and Friends, Citizens and Foreigners: An Examination of Employers’ Dispositions to their Immigrant Workers” (Co-PI, $4,000)

2011:    National Science Foundation, Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT)    for Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Transgenic Pests (Co-PI, $3.3 million for 2011-2014)

2010:    National Science Foundation for “Effects of International Migration on Land Use and Conservation in Mexico” (Principal Investigator, BCS 0957354, $63,452 for 2010)

2009:    Dept. of State, Fulbright-García Robles Fellowship for “Effects of International Migration on Land Use and Conservation Planning in Tropical Mexico” (Principal Investigator, for academic year 2009-10)


Select recent presentations – see c.v. for full list

2021     “The Cultures of Natures across North America,” roundtable, 68th annual conference of Southeastern Council of Latin America Studies, cyberspace.

2019     “Multiple Roles to Effect Change: Lobbyists, Thought Leaders, Public Intellectuals, Others,” with  Madelaine Adelman, 118th Annual Meetings of Am. Anthro. Assoc., Vancouver, BC.

2019     “Conservation Science as Hybrid Knowledge: Social Class and the Transformation of Local            Environmental Expertise in Southern Mexico,” Latin American Environments: Approaches from the       Sciences and the Humanities, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC

2019 “Changing Myths of International Engagement: Competing Imagnaries of Colonialism, Development and Globalization,” with J. Copper*, L. Graham*, M. Smith*, V. Way*. Society for Economic  Anthropology, Orlando, FL

2018    “Take it Easy Kiddo: Lesson in Fieldwork nad Applied Conservation and Development from the Mentees of the Late Norman B. Schwartz (1932-2018),” 117th Annual Meetings of Am. Anthro. Assoc., San Jose, CA

2018    “The Cattle Ranch, the Mom-and-Pop Shop, and the “Sit Down Job”: Gender and the Social Organization of Wealth in Migratory Mexico,” Society for Economic Anthropology, Tempe, AZ.

2017 “Putting Money to Work”:How Local Elites in Mexico Try to Capture Migratory Wealth, How Migrant Families Resist This, and the Values this Encounter Reveals. Society for Economic Anthropology, Ames,IA.

2016 “Migration as Erotic Journey: Remittances, Residence and a Sexual Economy in Calakmul, Mexico.” 115th annual meetings of Am. Anth Assoc. Minneapolis, MN

2015  “Cell Phone Spouse:Technology and the Social Changes that Foster Enduring Mexican Migration.” 114th annual meetings of Am. Anth Assoc. Denver, CO.

2015  “Identidades y Conservación en el sureste de México.” El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chetumal, Mexico.

2014  “The Middle-Class Conservationist: Power, Marginality, and Conservation Career Paths in Mexico.”  International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands.

2014  “Conservation Science as Hybrid Knowledge:  Social Class and The Transformation of Local Environmental Expertise in Calakmul, Mexico.” CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Mexico City.

2013 “What If People Choose Environmental Change?:  A Response to Resilience Theory from Southern Mexico” N. Haenn, B. Schmook and C. Radel, Society for Anthropology of North America, Durham, NC.

2012 “New Migration and Old U.S.-Mexico Ties” NCSU Office of International Affairs, Global Issues Seminar

2012  “State Transfer Payments, Gendered Labor Migration, and Women’s Resource Access and Control” C. Radel, B. Schmook, N. Haenn, and C. Méndez. Annual meetings of Conference of Latin American Geographers, Mérida, Mexico.


B.A. Philosophy Fordham University 1989

Ph.D. Anthropology Indiana University 1998