USU Geographer Named AAUW Fellow
Thursday, May. 15, 2008
Aggie geographer Claudia Radel, right, and her infant son, met with members of USU-led PARIMA collective action groups last summer in southern Ethiopia. Radel studies similar groups throughout the world.
Radel is developing research to examine how social capital is gendered and formed within women's collective groups, such as USU’s PARIMA collectives in Ethiopia.
Utah State University geographer Claudia Radel is among 97 researchers in the nation awarded an American Fellowship for the 2008-09 academic year by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Radel was one of 12 recipients of the foundation’s Short-Term Research Publication Grants.
“The fellowship will assist me in preparing two article manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed scholarly journals,” says Radel, assistant professor in the College of Natural Resources’ Department of Environment and Society.
Radel’s research examines women’s participation in community-based organizations in rural farming communities of southern Mexico, along with those organizations’ participation in integrated conservation and development projects.
“I seek to understand women’s and households’ changing livelihood strategies, and the impacts of those strategies on wellbeing for people and environments,” says Radel, who spent a year conducting fieldwork in 41 rural farming communities surrounding the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican state of Campeche.
Radel, who joined USU’s faculty in 2005, presented her initial research findings at the 2006 Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers and at the 2007 Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers.
In addition to her work in Mexico, Radel traveled to Ethiopia in 2007 as part of USU-led Pastoral Risk Management project — known as PARIMA. While there she met with the project’s women’s groups, which operate savings and credit programs. She is developing research to examine how social capital is gendered and formed within such groups.
Radel defines social capital as the social relationships people draw on to create their livelihoods.
“We rely on our relationships with others to further our efforts to make a living,” she says. “I want to explore how women’s groups use social capital to generate other types of capital.”
Prior to completing her doctorate at Massachusetts’ Clark University in 2005, Radel studied at the University of Zimbabwe and participated in a teaching exchange program in Ghana. She also spent two years working with women’s groups in Colombia.