Fabiana Li


My research, writing, and teaching are focused on the anthropology of food and the environment. I’m interested in exploring how knowledge is produced, contested, and circulated through development projects, scientific studies, policy-making, and activism. I hold a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California at Davis, an MA from Simon Fraser University, and an Honours BA from the University of Toronto. After my doctoral studies, I was a Newton International Fellow at the University of Manchester, England. I was born in Lima, Peru, grew up in Toronto, and now live in Winnipeg, where I’m Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Manitoba.


Food Politics and Globalization

My current research investigates the global expansion of quinoa production. Quinoa, a food crop that originated in the Andes and is now grown across the world, has been imagined as a food that addresses the world’s most pressing problems: climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, malnutrition, and economic inequality. My research examines how scientists, farmers, and development professionals produce different understandings of seeds, property, and food security.

World Quinoa Congress, Chile 2019

Environmental Conflict, Resource Extraction, and Social Movements

My first research project explored the dynamics of conflicts over resource extraction in Latin America, focusing on mining activity and related controversies over pollution, water scarcity, community rights, and corporate accountability. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in communities affected by mining in Peru (with some additional work in Chile). My research examined how the encroachment of mining on land used for agriculture and farming transformed ways of living and generated new forms of activism.

Yanacocha Mine, Cajamarca, Peru


Unearthing Conflict: Corporate Mining, Activism, and Expertise in Peru (Duke University Press 2015) received an Honourable Mention for the 2016 Bryce Wood Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).​

The Spanish translation of the book, Desenterrando el Conflicto: Empresas mineras, activistas y expertos en el Perú, was published by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (Institute of Peruvian Studies) in Lima.


Co-authored chapter on Water and Conflict in The Anthropology of Resource Extraction (2022).

Visual Essay: Quinoa and Small-Scale Agriculture in Times of COVID-19 by Fabiana Li and Beatriz Manzano Chura. Anthropology Now, Vol 13, Issue 2 (Dec. 2021).

En español / In Spanish

DIALOGUES: Bridging Academia, Activism, and Visual Culture in Conflicts over Resource Extraction

Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture

Online Essay: Global Quinoa and Andean Foodways
Read Here