Mara Goldman

Visiting Scholar


Associate Professor


Department of Geography


University of Colorado Boulder

Geographic Location

United States
Mara Goldman

Mara J. Goldman is an associate professor in the Department of Geography, a faculty fellow in the Institute for Behavioral Sciences, and an affiliate faculty in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Dr. Goldman’s research is situated in human-environment geography and can best be described as political ecology with specific attention to knowledge politics as related to conservation and development interventions. She draws on a combined feminist political ecology and science studies perspectives. Specific research projects focus on the following overlapping areas: the politics of wildlife conservation (knowledge and practice); the politics of participation and knowledge regarding rangeland management, conservation practice, and development; changing resource governance, knowledge, and ecologies in pastoral communities as related to climate change and institutional changes in semi-arid rangelands; and the gendered dynamics of resource access and use. She has worked for over two decades in East Africa, specifically with pastoral/agro-pastoral Maasai communities in Tanzania and Kenya and has recently begun to expand her research to include comparative work with forest-dwelling tribal communities in India. Her book, Narrating Nature: Wildlife conservation and Maasai ways of knowing, was published by the University Arizona Press, Critical Green Engagements Series in 2020.

Current projects include a large-scale collaborative research project with scholars and co-researchers across Europe, Asia, and Africa on the effects of COVID-19 on dryland communities broadly, and on community conservation efforts in particular. She is also looking at what it means to decolonize conservation in different places around the world, from East Africa to Asia, Canada and the US. Dr. Goldman is currently in Portugal for the year (2021-2022), as an Integrated Researcher at the Centro de Estudos Internacionais (CEI), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL, As part of this affiliation she is working with collaborators on establishing a research center dedicated to drylands and the interdisciplinary study of fire.

Primary Recipient Awards

Mara Goldman – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2020

Dr. Goldman is interested in connecting theories about ‘decolonizing/Indigenizing’ conservation occurring within the academy, with on the ground struggles over resource governance in Indigenous communities globally, and ecological plans in Canada and elsewhere to meet conservation goals. What does it mean to really decolonize and/or Indigenize conservation? How is it being framed in Canada and how does this compare to processes unfolding in other parts of the world, with different and similar ecologies, and histories of colonialism and conservation? And how are decolonization efforts addressing internal differentiation within Indigenous communities (i.e. gender, class, age)? Dr. Goldman will work with UBC scholars to explore these questions and initiate a global conversation and research agenda to link theory-method-practice, across epistemological and ontological worlds, comparing processes and approaches in Canada, East Africa, and India.