Merrill "Mez" Baker-Medard

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

 
 work(802) 443-5519
 Fall 2019: Tuesday 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., Wednesday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., and by appointment
 Franklin Environmental Ctr Hillcrest 215

B.A. Smith College; Ph.D. University of California Berkeley

Areas of Interest: Interdisciplinary research focused on the intersection of human geography, conservation science, environmental politics, and gender studies.

Mez Baker-Médard is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies.  Her research broadly explores how different natural resource governance strategies influence conflict arising at the interface of extractive industry and biodiversity conservation.  She is especially interested in how the benefits and burdens of these conflicts are spread across different sectors of society in relation to gender, race, class, and nationality.

Professor Baker-Médard’s research focuses on marine fisheries management in Madagascar, specifically looking at how access to and control over marine resources is constructed and contested in various locales extending from coastal villages to international policy arenas.  By examining state-managed, co-managed and community-managed conservation projects, her research investigates how different configurations of authority (the capacity of politico-legal institutions to influence other social actors) transform people’s understanding of and claims to natural resources. 

Professor Baker-Médard has teaching experience in three other U.S. Universities and two Malagasy Universities.  Her interests in conservation and social justice have led her to work with international conservation organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, and the World Wildlife Fund as well as community-based organizers based in Madagascar, South Africa and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her other interests include snowboarding, rock climbing, softball, pottery, and dancing Salegy.

For more information please visit Professor Baker-Médard’s website.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ENVS 0209 / GSFS 0209 - Gender Health Environment      

Gender Health Environment
Growing concern for the protection of the environment and human health has led policy makers and scholars to consider ways in which gender, class, and race and other forms of identity mediate human-environment interactions. In this course we will explore how access to, control over, and distribution of resources influence environmental and health outcomes both in terms of social inequities and ecological decline. Specific issues we will cover include: ecofeminism, food security, population, gendered conservation, environmental toxins, climate change, food justice, and the green revolution. We will draw comparisons between different societies around the globe as well as look at dynamics between individuals within a society. The majority of case studies are drawn from Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, however some comparisons are also made with the United States. (National/Transnational Feminisms) 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP SAF SOC

Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019

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ENVS 0211 - Conservation & Env Policy      

Conservation and Environmental Policy
This course examines conservation and environmental policy in the United States. In order to better understand the current nature of the conservation and environmental policy process, we will begin by tracing the development of past ideas, institutions, and policies related to this policy arena. We will then focus on contemporary conservation and environmental politics and policy making—gridlock in Congress, interest group pressure, the role of the courts and the president, and a move away from national policy making—toward the states, collaboration, and civil society. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (crosslisted with PSCI 0211 Fall 2018 only) AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2020

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ENVS 0380 - Global Challenges      

Global Challenges of the 21st Century
In this course we will begin by studying theories of social and political change, and then we will analyze the systematic causes of poverty and environmental degradation around the world. We will then study prospective solutions, focusing on the role of selective members of global civil society in achieving these solutions. Over the course of the semester, each student will prepare a comprehensive analysis on how to tackle and overcome a specific global challenge. (ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem. SOC

Fall 2015

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ENVS 0385 - Global Political Ecology      

Global Political Ecology
In this course we will draw on theories of social and political change to understand the systematic causes of inequality and environmental degradation around the world. Using a political ecology lens, we will look at both proximate as well as ultimate drivers of environmental conflict focusing on the relations between production and consumption, representation and regulation, rights and responsibilities, and information and norms. We will compare the disproportionate distribution of environmental benefits and burdens across communities and nations. We will also study prospective solutions, focusing on the role of individuals and organizations in achieving these solutions. (ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem. CMP SOC

Fall 2016

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ENVS 0401 - Community Engaged Practicum      

Community-Engaged Environmental Studies Practicum
In this course students work in small groups with one of a variety of partners and organizations to complete a semester-long, community-engaged project. Project themes vary by term and typically focus on local and regional environmental issues that have broader application. Projects rely on students’ creativity, interdisciplinary perspectives, skills, and knowledge developed through their previous work. The project is guided by a faculty member and carried out with a high degree of independence by the students. Students will prepare for and direct their project work through readings and discussion, independent research, collaboration with project partners, and consultation with external experts. The course may also include workshops focused on developing key skills (e.g., interviewing, public speaking, video editing). The project culminates in a public presentation of students’ final products, which may various forms such as written reports, policy white papers, podcasts, or outreach materials. (Open to Juniors and Seniors) (ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120 or GEOG 0150) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. lab

Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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ENVS 0442 / GSFS 0442 - Transnational Feminist Conserv      

Transnational Feminist Conservation
In this course we explore a transnational feminist approach to conservation. We will start by delving into the masculinist history of conservation, and reviewing a set of theories and vocabularies focused on gender, as well as race, class, and ability as key sites of power that effect both human and non-human bodies and ecological processes, from coral reefs to the arctic tundra. We will compare case studies across multiple regions globally on topics such as conservation via population control, feminist food, community-based conservation, and feminist-indigenous approaches to inquiry. We will debate feminist science, examining the conflicting epistemic foundations of objective versus situated knowledge. We will hone our writing skills in a variety of genres including blogs, academic essays, poems, and zines. (ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215 or ENVS/GSFS 209) 3 hrs. sem. AAL CMP CW SAF SOC

Fall 2019

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ENVS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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ENVS 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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ENVS 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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ENVS 1036 - Sea Turtles to Sharks      

Sea Turtles to Sharks
In the past two decades there has been an exponential increase in the number and size of marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide. MPAs are used to aid fisheries, protect biodiversity, and stabilize coastal ecosystems. In this course we will engage an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from the fields of conservation biology, political ecology, and anthropology, to investigate MPA design and effectiveness in multiple locales globally. Specific issues we will investigate include: marine organism life-cycle traits, connectivity, land-sea linkages, predator-prey dynamics, centralized versus decentralized MPA governance, gendered marine property, indigenous rights, and “sea grabbing.” We will draw comparisons among MPA projects and examine dynamics between individuals within a given MPA project. The course will consist of lectures and classroom discussions. SOC WTR

Winter 2017, Winter 2020

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Program in Environmental Studies

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest
531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753