Rebecca Witter, Ph.D.

Research & Teaching Interests:

The dynamic relationships, material and symbolic, between humans and environment; environmental conservation; tenure relations and dispossession; human-wildlife conflict and multi-species relations; global environmental politics; indigenous and environmental rights movements; gender, environment, and development; sustainable development values, knowledge(s), and discourses; interdisciplinary, ethnographic and collaborative methodologies; creative engagements in sustainable development; pedagogy for connecting across difference; and “commoning” environmentalism


Ph.D. 2010, Environmental Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

B.A. 1998, International Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA


Principles of Sustainable Development (SD 2400)

Development Theory & Practice (SD 2700)

Conservation and Development (SD 3365)

Gender, Inequality, and Sustainable Development (SD 3475)

Sustainability and Creative Practice (co-listed and co-taught with Art)


As an environmental anthropologist and political ecologist, I position my scholarship at the intersections between culture, power, environment, and development. My current research focuses on illegal hunting, among other practices, as forms of resistance to conservation-related dispossession in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. I am also conducting a longitudinal analysis of people’s ideas and experiences with conservation-related resettlement, and I am writing about race, labor, work, and land. In this in other work, my aim is to understand and enable just conservation. By this I mean the enhancement of ecological systems in the face of pressing global change, the well-being and empowerment of vulnerable communities, equity in benefits derived from the environment, and protections for biological and cultural diversity.

Representative Publications

Witter, R. and T. Satterfield. Rhino poaching and the “slow violence” of conservation-related resettlement in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. Geoforum. In press.

Witter, R. and T. Satterfield. The Ebb and Flow of Indigenous Rights Recognitions in Conservation Policy. Development and Change. In press

Ekblom, A., M. Notelid, and R. Witter. 2017. Negotiating identity and heritage through authorised vernacular history, Limpopo National Park. Journal of Social Archaeology. 17(1): 49–68.

Witter, R., K. Marion-Suiseeya, R. Gruby, S. Hitchner, E. Maclin, M. Bourque, J. Brosius. 2015. Moments of Influence in Global Environmental Governance. Environmental Politics. (Published online 3 July 2015)

Witter, R. and T. Satterfield. 2014. Invisible Losses and the Logics of Resettlement Compensation. Conservation Biology 28(5): 1394-1402.

Corson, C., R. Gruby, R. Witter, S. Hagerman, D. Suarez, S. Greenburg, M. Bourque, N. Gray, and L. Campbell. 2014. Everyone’s solution? Defining and re-defining protected areas through the Convention on Biological Diversity. Conservation & Society 12: 190-202.

Witter, R. 2013. Elephant-induced displacement and the power of choice: Moral narratives and conservation related resettlement in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. Conservation & Society 11: 406-419.

Hagerman, S., R. Witter, C. Corson, D. Suarez, E. Maclin, M. Bourque, L. Campbell. 2012. On the coattails of climate? Opportunities and threats of a warming Earth for biodiversity conservation. Global Environmental Change 22:724-735.

Russell, D., R. Ashley, J. P. Brosius, R. Witter, M. Welch-Devine, K. Spainhower, and R. Barr. 2010. People, Trees and Parks: Is Agroforestry In or Out? Journal of Sustainable Forestry 29:451-476.




Department: Sustainable Development

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-3008

Office address
216 Living Learning Academic