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Publications in VIVO

Fischer, Kate Instructor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Fischer's research focuses on the interactions between people, place, and plants - specifically coffee plants. It examines the ways in which ideas about what makes coffee good, and what makes good coffee, change across space and time. Her work takes a multi-sited approach that combines participant-observation within the specialty coffee industry and with coffee growers, primarily in Central America. Earlier work examined national identity and the changing socioeconomics of coffee production in Costa Rica. Her more current work investigates coffee processing methods and the ways in which these combine, or do not, with perceptions and measurements of risk, reward, and quality, for growers in Honduras and El Salvador. She is particularly interested in the ways in which climate change and the low price of coffee have combined with increasingly challenging standards to push once-stable growers towards migration and abandonment of their fields.


  • coffee, latin america, central america, specialty coffee, identity, work, welfare state, neoliberalism, gender, inequality, class, distinction



courses taught

  • ANTH 1125 - Exploring Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2019
    Examines the geography, kinship, politics and religious values of various cultures in the United States in historical and contemporary context through an anthropological perspective. Check with department for semester offerings. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.
  • ANTH 2100 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020
    Covers current theories in cultural anthropology and discusses the nature of field work. Explores major schools of thought and ethnographic fieldwork in a range of cultures studied by anthropologists. Required for Anthropology majors.
  • ANTH 3110 - Ethnography of Mexico and Central America
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2018 / Summer 2019
    A broad overview, focusing on Mexico and Guatemala. Major topics include ethnohistory, indigenous and mestizo peoples, and contemporary problems and issues.
  • WGST 2600 - Gender, Race, and Class in a Global Context
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    Examines the positionality of women in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class and power relations in a global context.
  • WGST 3670 - Gender, Race, Sexuality and Global Migration
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Engages in an interdisciplinary study of the intersections of gender, race and sexuality that have created a multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial world. Focuses on the effects of political, economic, social and cultural forces on gender, race and sexuality in migrant communities. Recommended prerequisite: WGST 2000 or WGST 2600.

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