Katherine Snyder, Ph.D., is the Director of the Master’s Program in Development Practice and a Professor in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment at UA. Her specializations include Sub-Saharan Africa, strengthening farmer-led and local community approaches to ecosystem management, and how global development narratives impact local livelihoods, gender relations, and land use.
She began her career focusing on how ideas about development shape everyday life in rural Tanzania. As Tanzania underwent the transformation from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy, she focused on how these political shifts affected social change in rural communities and in national narratives. While on a Fulbright grant to teach at the University of Nairobi in 2005, Dr. Snyder decided to stay on in Africa and carry out more applied work. She ran a small NGO in northern Tanzania that worked on community-based natural resource management and land rights for pastoralist communities. She then moved to Malawi to take up research again focusing on small-scale fisheries and farming communities who had adopted aquaculture. From fish, she moved to water in Ethiopia and concentrated on institutional analysis and livelihoods at the landscape scale. Moving south to Kenya, her research focus turned to land degradation issues. All of her work in Africa has been in multidisciplinary and multistakeholder teams.