Ph.D. Arizona State University, 2018
Economic anthropology, environmental anthropology, applied anthropology, water and resource insecurity, alternative economies, ethnographic research methods, qualitative data analysis, US, South Africa, cross-cultural research
Dr. Melissa Beresford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at San José State University. As an economic anthropologist, her research investigates how humans mobilize markets and informal economic institutions in response to water and other resource insecurities. Her work has largely focused on (a) how people create locally-based alternative economies (e.g., informal, hybridized, pro-poor) to counteract economic and environmental injustice, and (b) the conditions under which such economies can shield people from or counteract resource insecurities.
She has conducted fieldwork in South Africa, Latin America, and the United States. As a steering committee member of the NSF-funded Household Water Insecurity Research Network (HWISE-RCN), she collaborates widely with other scholars to conduct interdisciplinary cross-cultural research on resource insecurity. As an anthropological methodologist, Dr. Beresford also conducts research on and innovates methods for ethnographic research and qualitative data analysis.
Dr. Beresford is also an experienced and enthusiastic teacher. Her primary teaching foci include supporting diverse students; research methods training; pedagogy and practice of diverse teaching modalities (including hybrid and online formats); experiential learning (undergraduate research experiences, study abroad); and citizen science projects. She also teaches courses and workshops on Qualitative Data Analysis for graduate students, professors, and other research professionals as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Cultural Anthropology Method Program (CAMP).