Jessie Fredlund

Assistant Professor-in-Residence



Ph.D., 2021, CUNY Graduate Center


I am a cultural and environmental anthropologist whose research focuses on agriculture, gender, and climate change in Tanzania. My current book project, “Climate Change and the Ancestors,” analyzes histories of rainmaking and agroecology in the Uluguru Mountains, one of Tanzania’s most important watersheds. The book challenges persistent depictions of forests as spaces devoid of human labor, showing instead how unpaid work by rural communities in the Global South—especially women—is critical for the maintenance of the world’s clean air, fresh water, and healthy climate. The book also explores ritual practices related to rainmaking and ancestor spirits, revealing these as sites of political struggle that can allow us to rethink the climate crisis from feminist and anticolonial perspective. In addition to the book, I am also engaged in an ongoing project to document and share agroecological knowledge in collaboration with community elders in Uluguru. My work has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright, the Global Religion Research Initiative, and the Society for Citizens and Scholars. I received my PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2021.

At the UConn, I teach courses related to gender, environment, and Africa cultures. I am interested in student-led course design and feminist pedagogies which allow students to recognize their own expertise on the social worlds they inhabit. Many of my classes allow students to carry out original research on issues they care about in their own communities.

Research Interests

Africa, environment, agriculture, gender, religion


  • ANTH 1000. Peoples and Cultures of the World
  • ANTH 2000W. Social Anthropology
  • ANTH 3025. Contemporary Africa
  • ANTH 3351. Sex and Gender
  • EVST 1000E. Introduction to Environmental Studies


Fredlund, J. 2020.” Naming Matters: Inheritance, Land, and Reproductive Labor in Rural Tanzania.” Feminist Anthropology 1(2): 272-287

Fredlund, J. & D. Y. Fiaveh. “Activist Anthropologist Sentenced to 18 months in Prison.” Anthropology News online, August 7, 2019

Jessie Fredlund
Contact Information
Office LocationBeach Hall (BCH) 442