Amity Doolittle’s research focuses on how control over and access to natural resources is defined, negotiated and contested by society and state, specifically in Southeast Asia. Her approach is interdisciplinary, combining perspectives from anthropology, political science, environmental history and political ecology to explore property relations and conflicts over resources use.
Specific interests include:
- the discourses and practices of colonial rule over native people in North Borneo, particularly in reference to native customary law and land rights and the imposition colonial land laws.
- the particularities of contemporary property relations and how these relationships articulate with local and extra-local conflict for wealth, power and identity.
- the discourse and practices of postcolonial rural development projects;
the parallels between colonial notions of progress (including the imposition of Western forms of law and “rational” resource commercialization) and postcolonial notions of modernity, development and nationalism (including the imposition of hegemonic ideas of “productive” agriculture and governable citizens).
- the impact of global discourses of conservation and economic growth on local land-use practices.
- issues surrounding international environmental justice, specifically focusing on social inequality and the maldistribution of wealth, resources and hazardous waste.