- Professor Emerita
- Senior Associate Dean, International Studies & Programs
ANNE FERGUSON, Professor and Director of the Women and International Development Program, does research and teaching in the areas of development studies, gender, agricultural and environmental change, and medical anthropology. Her early work in El Salvador in medical anthropology focused on the impacts of multinational pharmaceutical firms’ business practices on health care provided at pharmacies, and on the integration of these companies’ products into lay and alternative medical practices.
In the mid-1980s Dr. Ferguson shifted her research focus to Southern Africa where she has studied development initiatives in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, and water sector reform. Her research in Malawi centers on the gendered social construction of agricultural technology and natural resource management programs and policies. She focuses on scientists, policy makers, and other development planners, as well as villagers and other actors in development initiatives. Dr. Ferguson has studied the social and cultural factors which underpin the maintenance of crop bio-diversity, examining how these factors shape agricultural technology improvement programs. She also has examined the social impacts of fisheries policies in Malawi. Currently, her research centers on the gender dimensions of Malawi’s new water reform policies. How are new international agreements and understandings in the water sector which promote governmental decentralization, stakeholder participation, neoliberal market reforms and environmental rights translated into national and local policies? How are these policies shaped, acted upon and implemented at the local level? Who benefits and who loses? Much of Dr. Ferguson’s research has been carried out in collaboration with colleagues at MSU and at the University of Malawi. Her research has been supported by the McArthur Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Rockefeller Foundation, and USAID. In 2000, she received a Fulbright Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program grant to study the gender dimensions of Malawi’s and Zimbabwe’s water reforms.Dr. Ferguson teaches gender studies courses with a focus on agriculture, environment and development.