I am a researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development. I have a PhD from Central European University. My PhD research (2016) was a feminist ethnography which focused on the politics of gender and climate change in Nicaragua. Between 2017 and 2020, I was a post-doctoral researcher on social and ecological justice at the department of Urban and Rural Development under the mentorship of Professor Andrea Nightingale.
I am currently doing research on justice and conflict resolution in resource management as well as on the linkages between natural resources management and the development of authoritarian regimes.
I have professional experience in rural development mainly in Central America where I have been working between 2002 and 2010 with smallholder farmers, Indigenous groups and international organisations.
I am particularly interested in exploring how radical social and environmental transformations towards justice and equity can emerge, and the role of scholar-activists in supporting the emergence of such transformations.
I have taught at the Central American University in Managua, Nicaragua and served as a teaching assistant at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary while I was doing my PhD. I have more recently been giving lectures in several Master's programmes at Cemus (Uppsala University) and SLU.
I am currently part of two research projects.
1) Exploring Governance Regimes through Agricultural Land Grabbing Dynamics funded by FORMAS.
Land rights are human rights which are fundamental for achieving sustainable development. In this project, I start from the idea that in a context of rapid environmental changes and shrinking democracies across the world, agricultural land grabbing requires renewed discussions as new actors, as well as new instruments for possessing, expropriating, and challenging previous land controls emerge.
In this three-year project (2020-2022, extended until 2024 due to parental leaves), I investigate to what extent agricultural land grabbing processes affecting rural areas are inserted in broader governance struggles over power relations and identities. I engage with questions concerning the relationship between State-making and land grabbing from a comparative North-South angle (Hungary/Nicaragua), an interdisciplinary standpoint (bridging feminist political ecology and scholarship on governance), a transdisciplinary perspective (with an action-research component), and with a focus on an understudied sector in the debate: agricultural areas in countries in political transition.
My research aims to:
(i) analyse the extent to which State-making is influencing transformations in national land tenure systems;
(ii) understand the effects of recent land politics, particularly on those farmers that are marginalised;
(iii) explore how sustainable land politics can be envisioned in contexts of deep political transitions.
The data collection include interviews, participatory mapping, citizen science data collection, and social network analysis.
2) Governing Climate Resilient Futures: Gender, justice and conflict resolution in resource management funded by VR. The principal investigator in this project is Prof. Andrea Nightingale.
This research probes the link between gender and social inequalities, conflict, and how they affect sustainable and resilient climate development pathways. By expanding the conceptualization of resilience to include a theory of change that embeds resilience within social-political relations, conflicts, and struggles over authority and rights, the project breaks new grounds: conceptualizing resilience as a sustainability outcome rather than a state; probing the causes of conflict and conflict resolution in environmental governance; and generating co-learning methodologies to tackle poverty and development challenges.
Empirically, the project develops case studies on the inter-related gendered, social, political and environmental causes of poverty and conflict in forest and water governance across three continents (in sectors crucial for poverty reduction, justice, and climate change adaptation and mitigation).
Our inter-disciplinary project is of direct relevance for Sweden’s development and climate change related efforts, and involves senior and junior researchers, and academic and non-academic institutions from Sweden and Kenya, Nepal and Nicaragua to build international cooperation and research capacities for promoting resilience, poverty alleviation and sustainability.
The project was supposed to be implemented between 2019 and 2022 but has been extended until 2024 due to the pandemic and parental leaves.
I am cooperating with surrounding society by giving interviews, publishing blog entries, talking at activist events and seminars, and writing for policymakers. For example, in 2020, I gave an interview on agriculture as a source of authoritarian power that was published in the Green European Journal.
I also talked on the German radio about the linkages between authoritarian populism, land-grabbing and the role of the EU in a program broadcasted in November 2020 in the German and Austrian national radios. The 28 minutes long reportage made by the journalist Thomas Kruchem is entitled “Orbán’s clique – How Hungarian oligarchs prey on the EU” (“Orbáns Clique – Wie Ungarns Oligarchen die EU ausnehmen”).
Just after the 2018 insurrection in Nicaragua, together with other political ecologists, I wrote an essay drawing attention to what was happening in Nicaragua prompting other political ecologists to show their solidarity.
The post was published by the POLLEN network.
Gonda, N., Huybrechs, F., Rodríguez-Fabilena, R., Hecken, G. V., & other political ecologists from Nicaragua whose names are not displayed for security reasons. (2018). Political ecologists in solidarity with Nicaragua.
In the run-up to the Hungarian elections in 2022, I co-authored a series of 3 blogposts (part 1, part 2, part 3) published by the ARC network, intended to raise awareness on how Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán’s party was contributing to the disappearance of the last smallholders in Hungary.
I have also contributed to a book chapter on the Hungarian case in the activist book entitled “Rural Europe Takes Action: No More Business As Usual” targeted towards European policy-makers and launched in 2022 at an online event with the participation of the European Commission.
Bori, P. J., & Gonda, N. (2022). Shattering the Chains of Rural Repression. In H. Lorenzen & O. Moore (Eds.), Rural Europe Takes Action: No More Business As Usual (pp. 142-147). Brussels Forum Synergies and Arc2020.
In 2021 I was an invited member of an online Hungarian activist meeting on possibilities and limitations for accessing land for agro-ecology and non-conventional farming.
My research on land grabbing and the making of the Hungarian authoritarian regime is being used (with my acknowledgment and support) in one of the last existing Hungarian oppositional online media Mérce.
On March 8, 2023, in the occasion of the International Women’s Day, I gave the keynote speech for the ‘Kvinnomaraton’ (Women’s marathon) organized by the Society for Women Researchers in Uppsala (FKF = Föreningen för kvinnliga forskare). My speech was entitled: “Why climate science needs feminism?”
Finally, I act as a regular reviewer for several journals such as Geoforum, Political Geography, Frontiers in Political Ecology, Third World Quarterly, Zeitschrift fur Vergeichende Politikwissenschaft, Pulse, and Gender Technology and Development.
After having completed my Master’s in science in tropical agriculture and development in 2003 and before starting my PhD in 2012, I acquired an extensive and fruitful international experience as a development worker and activist engaged in the defense of smallholder farmers’ and Indigenous groups’ rights to land and natural resources.
In 2002-2003, my field research for my master’s degree led to continue working with a Nicaraguan smallholder farmers’ organization – CODER (Comisión para el Desarrollo Rural)– in one of the most remote places of Nicaragua. There, I was involved in supporting smallholder farmers to develop participatory mapping tools for defending their rights on land and natural resources. The efforts resulted in many rewarding discussions but also some legal cases won and two widely used popular science publications on how to use participatory mapping tools for natural resources conflict resolution (publications n°29 and 30). I was then hired by the Irish Development Agency Trócaire in Honduras in 2004 to develop their cooperation program on land access and use for Central America. In 2005, I worked for the Nicaraguan smallholder coffee farmers’ association and between 2006 and 2010 I worked for the French NGO Agronomes et Vétérinaires sans Frontières’s (AVSF) as a coordinator first in Nicaragua and then in Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), with permanent residence in Nicaragua and frequent travels to other Central and Latin-American countries. As a program officer for Élevages sans frontières based in Lille, France (2011), I was overseeing husbandry development projects mostly in Western Africa, Haiti and Eastern Europe (with trips abroad).
During my academic career, I have attended and presented at several conferences, among them:
September 2022: Climate Change and Agrarian Studies Conference, Online. Paper presentation with Selmira Flores, Jennifer Casolo and Andrea Nightingale: “Rethinking resilience through socioenvironmental conflicts in Nicaragua.”
September 2022: Biennial Conference 2022, Online. Panel: Emotional Political Ecologies – Methods, Insights and Potential
Paper presentation with Andrea Nightingale: Embracing uncertainty in political ecology through emotions and affect.
November 2019: Political Ecology of the Far Right Conference, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Paper presentation: “Land grabbing and the making of the authoritarian populist regime in Hungary.”
March 2018: ‘Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World’, ISS, The Hague.
Paper presentation: “Championing change in rural Hungary. The role of emancipatory subjectivities in the construction of alternatives to illiberal authoritarian populism”.
June 2018: Pollen Biennial Conference 2018, Oslo, Norway.
Presentations in 2 panels with conference papers:
- Panel Nurturing “Life-in-Common”: “Affective, Emotional and Embodied Practices of/for Abundance Beyond Sustainability. Paper: “The emotional / affective political ecology of revolution: thinking about ’life in common’ in Nicaragua under political turmoil”
- “Seeing Like an Eastern European”: regional potentials of political ecology and social inquiry. Paper: “How can political ecology help envisioning emancipation in authoritarian contexts? Reflections from Hungary”.
Previous to my PhD degree, I completed two Master of Sciences degrees: one in Tropical Agriculture and Development from Montpellier SupAgro (France) and one in Agriculture from Bordeaux Sciences Agro (France). My initial training is in agricultural engineering (Bordeaux Sciences Agro).
Master student supervision:
2021: Francesca Gallisai. A pandemic revealing another
– Colombian indigenous women and the national COVID-19 discourse. SLU, Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development, Master program in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management. Defended June 2021.
2014-2015: Teresa Pérez, Master in Gender Studies, Central American University (UCA), Managua, Nicaragua. “Minería y Desarrollo en Nicaragua: una Mirada Feminista en el Caso de Rancho Grande” (Mining and Development in Nicaragua: a Feminist Perspective on the Rancho Grande case) Defended with honors: July 2015
2023-. Co-supervisor for PhD student Deeksha Sharma. PhD project "Forging iron into sustainable steel"on extractivism in India and Sweden. SLU, Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development.
2019-2023: External PhD committee member for René Rodriguez Fabilena working on the politics of natural resources governance from a feminist and decolonial perspective in Nicaragua. Institute of Development Policy- IOB (Antwerpen- Belgium)
Peer Reviewed International Journal Articles
1) Gonda, N., Flores, S., Casolo, J. J., & Nightingale, A. J. (2023). Resilience and conflict: rethinking climate resilience through Indigenous territorial struggles. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1-27. doi:10.1080/03066150.2022.2161372
2) Ojha, H., Nightingale, A. J., Gonda, N., Muok, B. O., Eriksen, S., Khatri, D., & Paudel, D. (2022). Transforming environmental governance: critical action intellectuals and their praxis in the field. Sustainability Science. doi:10.1007/s11625-022-01108-z
3) Nightingale, A. J., Gonda, N., & Eriksen, S. H. (2022). Affective adaptation = effective transformation? Shifting the politics of climate change adaptation and transformation from the status quo. WIREs Climate Change, 13(1), e740. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.740
4) Gonda, N., Prado Córdova, J. P., Huybrechs, F., & Van Hecken, G. T. (2022). Exploring the Love Triangle of Authoritarianism, Populism, and COVID-19 Through Political Ecology: Time for a Break-Up? Frontiers in Human Dynamics, 4. doi:10.3389/fhumd.2022.653990
5) Garcia, A., Gonda, N., Atkins, E., Naomi Joy, G., Karen, P. H., Parsons, M., . . . Ziervogel, G. (2022). Power in resilience and resilience's power in climate change scholarship. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change(e762). doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.762
6) Bori, P. J., & Gonda, N. (2022). Contradictory populist ecologies: Pro-peasant propaganda and land grabbing in rural Hungary. Political Geography, 102583. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102583
7) Gonda, N., Leder, S., González-Hidalgo, M., Chiwona-Karltun, L., Stiernström, A., Hajdu, F., . . . Arvidsson, A. (2021). Critical Reflexivity in Political Ecology Research: How Can the Coronavirus Pandemic Transform Us into Better Researchers? Frontiers in Human Dynamics, 3, 41.
8) Gonda, N. (2019). Re-politicizing the gender and climate change debate: The potential of feminist political ecology to engage with power in action in adaptation policies and projects in Nicaragua. Geoforum, 106, 87-96.
9) Gonda, N. (2019). Land grabbing and the making of an authoritarian populist regime in Hungary. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 46(3), 606-625. doi:10.1080/03066150.2019.1584190
10) Gonda, N. (2017). Rural Masculinities in Tension: Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in Nicaragua. In S. MacGregor & N. Seymour (Eds.), RCC Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society 2017, no. 4 (Vol. 2017, pp. 69-76).
11) Gonda, N. (2016). Climate Change, “Technology” and Gender: “Adapting Women” to Climate Change with Cooking Stoves and Water Reservoirs. Gender, Technology and Development, 20(2), 149-168. doi:10.1177/0971852416639786
12) Gonda, N. (2016). "How to recaffeinate climate change": The politics of gender and climate change in post-neoliberal Nicaragua. (PhD). Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.
13) Bori, P. J., & Gonda, N. (2022). Shattering the Chains of Rural Repression In H. Lorenzen & O. Moore (Eds.), Rural Europe Takes Action: No More Business As Usual (pp. 142-147). Brussels Forum Synergies and Arc2020.
14) Gonda, N. (2021). Re-Negotiating Rural Masculinities as Vulnerability: Cattle Ranchers in Climate Change Affected Rural Nicaragua. In P. Pulé & M. Hultman (Eds.), Men, Masculinities, and Earth (pp. 289-307): Palgrave Macmillan.
15) Gonda, N. (2019). Sujetos tecnológicamente adaptados: la nueva era del desarrollo rural en un contexto de cambio climático en el Corredor Seco de Nicaragua. [Technologically adapted subjects: the new rural development era in the context of climate change in the Dry Corridor of Nicaragua.]. In B. Ramírez Valverde, J. Ramírez Juárez, J. P. Prado Córdova, & S. Elías Gramajo (Eds.), Impacto de los siniestros en el Medio Rural en México y Centroamérica. [Impact of disasters in Rural Areas in Mexico and Central America.] (pp. 27-51). Puebla, Mexico: Altres Costa-Amic Editores. Colegio de Postgraduados , Campus Puebla. Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala.
16) Gonda, N. (2017). Revealing the patriarchal sides of climate change adaptation through intersectionality: a case study from Nicaragua. In S. Buckingham & V. Le Masson (Eds.), Understanding Climate Change Through Gender Relations (pp. 173-189). Oxon, UK and New York, USA: Routledge.
Research and Consultancy Reports
17) Gonda, N. (2017) for IDRC Canada. Mid-term evaluation of gender and social inclusion in the CARIAA consortia. IDRC, Canada.
18) Gonda, N. (2014) for UNDP Nicaragua. Género y Adaptación al Cambio Climático. Puesta en común y sistematización de experiencias sobre la integración de la perspectiva de género en la adaptación al cambio climático en el ámbito rural en Nicaragua [Gender and Climate Change Adaptation. Experience sharing and lessons learnt on how to integrate the gender perspective in climate change adaptation in Nicaraguan rural areas]. https://www.undp.org/content/dam/nicaragua/docs/MedioAmbienteyGestiondeRiesgo/NIC_Genero%20cambio%20climatico%20Nicaragua_web.pdf
19) Monachon, D., & Gonda, N. (2011). For International Land Coalition, FAO, Italy. Liberalization of ownership versus indigenous territories in the North of Nicaragua: The case of the Chorotegas. https://doczz.net/doc/2948656/liberalization-of-ownership-versus-indigenous-territories...
20) Casolo, J. J., Flores Cruz, S., Gonda, N., & Nightingale, A. J. (2022). Choosing to “stay with the trouble”: a gesture towards decolonial research praxis. Retrieved from https://undisciplinedenvironments.org/2022/03/08/choosing-to-stay-with-the-trouble-a-gesture-towards-decolonial-research-praxis/
21) Gonda, N., Huybrechs, F., Rodríguez-Fabilena, R., Van Hecken, G. T., & other political ecologists from Nicaragua whose names are not displayed for security reasons. (2018). Political ecologists in solidarity with Nicaragua. Retrieved from https://politicalecologynetwork.com/category/pollen-blog/
22) Gonda, N. (2013). Cambio Climático: Adaptarse es también buscar la igualdad de género... y viceversa [Climate Change: To adapt also means to seek gender equality... and viceversa]. Enfoque. Retrieved from http://issuu.com/crodriguezg03/docs/revista_enfoque_30_email/1
Popular science reports
23) Gonda, N., & Pommier, D. (2006). Prevención y resolución de conflictos en torno a la tierra y los recursos naturales: manual práctico de mapeo comunitario y uso del GPS para organizaciones locales de desarrollo. Managua, Nicaragua.
24) Gonda, N., & Pommier, D. (2008). Herramientas para la Gestión Social del Territorio y de los Recursos Naturales: Metodologia Participativa para Construir una Maqueta de su Territorio. Managua, Nicaragua: