Emily McKee

Emily McKee specializes in environmental and Middle East anthropology, with a particular focus on political ecology. She is jointly appointed with the Anthropology Department and the Institute for the Environment, Sustainability and Energy.

In the Middle East, Professor McKee researches land conflict and socio-environmental movements. Two years of fieldwork in the Negev/Naqab region investigated how Jewish and Bedouin Arab citizens and governmental bodies vie over access to land for farming and homes and over the status of unrecognized Bedouin villages. She also examines cross-border water use and conservation among Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli water conservationists, as well as the reactions of local residents to water scarcity, resource competition and conservation campaigns.

Professor McKee also conducts ethnographic research in the United States to learn about farming, sustainability and agricultural economics. She examines the challenges and innovative strategies of small- and mid-scale farmers, movements for food justice, and the shifting landscapes of local food systems. This research is currently focused in the Midwest, with plans for further case studies elsewhere in the U.S. and in the Middle East. Across these field sites, Professor McKee is interested in the drawing and policing of group boundaries; experiences of agriculture, urbanization and environmental change; and environmental sustainability activism.

Selected Publications


McKee, Emily. 2016. Dwelling in Conflict: Negev Landscapes and the Boundaries of Belonging. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Selected Articles

McKee, Emily. 2021. “Where Do ‘Localphiles’ Shop?: A Mixed-Methods Case Study of Food-Buying Habits.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 10 (2): 1–20.

McKee, Emily. 2019. “Water, Power, and Refusal: Confronting Evasive Accountability in a Palestinian Village.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 25 (3): 546–65.

McKee, Emily. 2018. “Environmental Framing and Its Limits: Campaigns in Palestine and Israel.International Journal of Middle East Studies 50 (3): 449–70. 

McKee, Emily. 2018. “‘It’s the Amazon World’: Small-Scale Farmers on an Entrepreneurial Treadmill.Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 40 (1): 65–69.

McKee, Emily 2015. "Demolitions and Amendments: Coping with Cultural Recognition and Its Denial in Southern Israel.Nomadic Peoples 19 (1): 95-119.

McKee, Emily. 2015. “Trash Talk: Interpreting Morality and Disorder in Negev/Naqab Landscapes.” Current Anthropology 56 (5): 733–52. .

McKee, Emily 2014. "Performing Rootedness in the Negev/Naqab: Possibilities and Perils of Competitive Planting.Antipode 46 (5): 1172-89.




Associate Professor
Office: Stevens Building Room 179


Ph.D., University of Michigan

Office Hours

12:30-1:30 p.m. online (email to request meeting link)