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Graduate Research Spotlight: Matthew Fahrenbruch

Friday, June 15, 2018

KU Geography grad student Matthew Fahrenbruch outdoors in NicaraguaMatt Fahrenbruch is a geography Ph.D. candidate working with KU Geography’s Dr. Peter Herlihy. A recipient of a Fulbright and a Stansifer Fellowship, Fahrenbruch tells us about his recent research in Nicaragua.

My research focuses on the development of jellyfish fisheries on the Miskitu Coast of Nicaragua. Within this topic, I explore the expansion of resource frontiers precipitated by the rapidly changing demographics in China, as well as the local dynamics of a new multi-level governance regime instituted on the Miskitu Coast in recent years.

In the last year, I received a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant through the State Department and Institute for International Education (IIE) and a Stansifer Fellowship through the KU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies to conduct research on the Miskitu Coast between August 2017 and April 2018.

While my time in the field was tinged by periods of political violence that ultimately led to my grant being cut short, I was able to live about eight months on the Coast— traveling widely and learning much about the development and ultimate bust of the jellyfish fishery.  I returned safely to Lawrence in April 2018. I have a new article coming out in the second issue of the Journal of Latin American Geography this year, and I recently presented a paper, Communal Governance and Jellyfish Fisheries in Post-Law 445, Nicaragua, at the 35th Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers (CLAG) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

In addition to my paper at CLAG, I will be presenting a paper, Challenges to Demarginalization: The case of fisheries governance and the development of the export jellyfish fishery on the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua, at the 2018 IGU Regional Conference in Quebec in August. I have also been invited by Fulbright to serve as an Alumni Resource at the 2018 Fulbright Pre-departure Orientation in Austin, Texas in late June. 

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