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Laura German

UGA Arch
Professor of Anthropology
Director, Center for Integrative Conservation Research

My scholarly interests are diverse, spanning academic and applied, critical and constructive research traditions, as well as the social and biophysical sciences. Themes of ongoing interest include land and environmental governance in the global South; the political and ontological roots of global inequality; and an orientation towards research traditions relevant to policy and practice. My current research draws insight from critical legal, agrarian and development studies, contrasting development discourse with the ethnographic evidence to interrogate global land governance discourses and practices. This work is brought together in a book forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press entitled, Power/Knowledge/Land: Contested Ontologies of Land and its Governance in Africa. In addition to these academic pursuits, I am regularly engaged as a visiting lecturer for the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training Taiwan (for the Regular Session on Land Policy for Sustainable Rural Development) and as a land governance consultant.

Prior to my return to academia, I worked as Scientist / Acting Coordinator for an ecoregional action research program hosted by the World Agroforestry Center and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (2002-2007), and as Senior Scientists / Domain Leader for the Center for International Forestry Research (2007-2011). This work is published in journal articles, publications for non-academic audiences, a co-authored book (Integrated Natural Resource Management in the Highlands of Eastern Africa: From Concept to Practice, 2012) and two edited volumes.


PhD, Anthropology, University of Georgia, 2001

Research Interests:
  • Land and environmental governance
  • The politics of knowledge and ontology
  • Critical agrarian, legal and development studies; coloniality
  • Property rights, institutional theory and customary land relations
  • The governance of tropical forests and multi-functional, multi-actor landscapes
  • Community-based natural resource management and self-governance of the commons
  • Commercial pressures on land and forests
  • Biofuels sustainability
  • Process and institutional innovation
Selected Publications:

In press German, L. Power/Knowledge/Land: Contested Ontologies of Land and its Governance. University of Michigan Press.

2021 DePuy, W., J. Weger, K. Foster, A. Bonanno, S. Kumar, K. Lear, R. Basilio and L. German. Environmental governance: Broadening ontological spaces for a more livable world. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

2020 German, L.A., A.M. Bonanno, L.C. Foster and L. Cotula. “Inclusive business” in agriculture: Evidence from the evolution of agricultural value chains. World Development 134, October 2020, 105018.

2019 German, L. and C.M.T. Braga. Decentering emergent truths on tenure security: Archaeology of a global knowledge regime. Journal of Peasant Studies, doi: 10.1080/03066150.2019.1682555.

2018 German, L. Catalyzing self-governance: Addressing multi-faceted collective action dilemmas in densely settled agrarian landscapes. International Journal of the Commons 12: 217-250.

2017 German, L., A. Goetz, T. Searchinger, G. de L.T. Oliveira, J. Tomei, C. Hunsberger and J. Weigelt. Sine Qua Nons of sustainable biofuels: Distilling implications of under- performance for national biofuel programs. Energy Policy 108: 806-817.

2017 German, L., E. King, R. Unks and P.W. Naiputari. This side of subdivision: Individualization and collectivization dynamics in a Maasai group ranch held under collective title. Journal of Arid Environments 144: 139-155.

2017 Hunsberger, C., L. German and A. Goetz. “Unbundling” the biofuel promise: Querying the ability of liquid biofuels to deliver on socio-economic policy expectations. Energy Policy 108: 791-805.

2016 German, L., E. Cavane, A. Sitoe and C. Braga. Private investment as an engine of rural development: A confrontation of theory and practice for the case of Mozambique. Land Use Policy 51(2016): 1-14.

2016 German, L., R. Unks and L. King. Green appropriations through shifting contours of authority and property on a pastoralist commons. Journal of Peasant Studies 44: 631-657.

2015 German, L. The global land rush: Implications for agricultural communities. CAB Reviews 10(33): 1-19.

Articles Featuring Laura German
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 9:06am

Congratulations to Dr. German on becoming the new director for the Center for Integrative Conservation Research! The CICR was founded in 2007 and supports innovative conservation and sustainability research and training through its interdisciplinary…

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 2:11pm

Walker DePuy, Katie Foster, Suneel Kumar, and Kristen Lear, along with co-authors Jacob Weger, Anya Bonanno, Raul Basilio, and Laura German, receive the J. Peter Brosius Integrative Conservation Research Award for their paper, “Environmental Governance:…

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