Emily Reisman


Emily Reisman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environment & Sustainability. Her work engages agrarian political ecology, science and technology studies and more-than-human geography to understand the politics of agricultural knowledge. Her first major project explores the question of how we come to know what plants “need,” through a comparative investigation of intensive “thirsty” almond production in California and low-input “resilient” almond production in Spain. This work sheds light on the origins and impacts of divergent approaches to irrigation, fertilization, and pollination of a crop experiencing an unprecedented global boom amidst increasing ecological precarity. Along the way her investigation of almond ecologies has touched on the political economic underpinnings of superfood claims, the role of care in navigating plant disease, and the pitfalls of protected geographical indications. Reisman’s second area of research looks at the knowledge politics of “Agriculture 4.0,” a surge of interest from Silicon Valley’s technology industry in developing digitally-enabled innovations for improving agri-food systems. As a member of the Agri-Food Technology Research (AFTeR) collaboration, this project examines how technology entrepreneurs and investors seek to address the challenges facing food and agriculture and what implications this drive towards digital entrepreneurialism may hold for advancing a more socially and ecologically just agri-food future.

Recent publications

2021     Reisman, E. “Plants, Pathogens and the Politics of Care: Xylella fastidiosa and the intra-active breakdown of Mallorca’s almond ecology” Cultural Anthropology 36:3, 400–427. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca36.3.07

2021     Reisman, E. “Sanitizing Agri-Food Tech: COVID-19 and the Politics of Expectation” Journal of Peasant Studies 48:5, 910-933, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2021.1934674

2021   Reisman, E. and L. Macaulay. “Which Farms Drill During Drought? The Influence of Farm Size and Crop Type.” International Journal of Water Resources Development https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07900627.2021.1874889

2020    Reisman, E. and M. Fairbairn. “Agri-Food Systems and the Anthropocene.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Online. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2020.1828025

2020     Reisman, E. “Superfood as Spatial Fix: The Ascent of the Almond.” Agriculture & Human Values, 37:337-351. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09993-4