Fiona Gladstone

Ph.D. Student

I am a human-environment geographer and PhD candidate currently researching food system change in Oaxaca, Mexico. My dissertation analyzes the political economy and underlying narratives of contemporary government food assistance policy, its implications for local and regional provisioning networks, and its influence on the subjectivity of Oaxacan producers and beneficiaries. As I conduct ethnographic fieldwork, I am also teaching at a rural high school in the Central Valleys district so as to draw on the perspectives of young Oaxacans and to better link my research to local decision-making and organizing processes.

I am a 2016-2017 Fulbright Garcia Robles scholar, a 2016 U.S. Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security and a 2016 Carson Scholar. My Borlaug research is supported by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

I have been interested in US-Mexican political economy and its relationship to indigenous food traditions for many years. In my MA thesis, I used a 1973 baseline study of maize cultivation practices in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca to document changes in land and water resources for agriculture and explore drivers of continued investment in local, seed-saved maize. For six years before coming to the University of Arizona, I worked in immigration legal defense in Portland, Oregon, where I developed my abiding interests in rural Mexico and political economy. From 2015 to 2016 I worked at the Institute of the Environment on a retrospective project that examines the environmental impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

I am grateful for the mentorship of committee members Diana Liverman (chair), Sallie Marston, Liz Oglesby, and Hallie Eakin (ASU) and the support of Dr. JonathanHellin at CIMMYT.