• Contact Info
Publications in VIVO

Fischer, Kate



Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Fischer's research focuses on the interactions between people, place, and plants - specifically coffee plants. It examines the ways in which ideas about what makes coffee good, and what makes good coffee, change across space and time. Her work takes a multi-sited approach that combines participant-observation within the specialty coffee industry and with coffee growers, primarily in Central America. Earlier work examined national identity and the changing socioeconomics of coffee production in Costa Rica. Her more current work investigates coffee processing methods and the ways in which these combine, or do not, with perceptions and measurements of risk, reward, and quality, for growers in Honduras and El Salvador. She is particularly interested in the ways in which climate change and the low price of coffee have combined with increasingly challenging standards to push once-stable growers towards migration and abandonment of their fields.


  • coffee, latin america, central america, specialty coffee, identity, work, welfare state, neoliberalism, gender, inequality, class, distinction



courses taught

  • ANTH 1140 - Exploring a Non-Western Culture: The Maya
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Explores the culture of the Maya of Central America, emphasizing their material adaptations, social organizations, ideals and values, and artistic achievements in the past and the present.
  • ANTH 1170 - Exploring Culture and Gender through Film
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Explores the concepts of culture and gender from an anthropological perspective, using films and other media, as well as written texts. By analyzing media about other ways of life, students will learn the basic concepts of cultural anthropology and be able to apply them to any society. In addition, students will learn to think critically about documentary and ethnographic media.
  • ANTH 1200 - Culture and Power
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019
    Compares contemporary sociopolitical systems across cultures, from non-Western tribal groups to modern states. Introduces students to anthropological approaches for understanding and analyzing political forces, processes, and institutions that affect cultures such as colonialism, warfare, violence,ethnicity, migration, and globalization.
  • ANTH 2100 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Covers current theories in cultural anthropology and discusses the nature of field work. Explores major schools of thought and ethnographic fieldwork in a range of cultures studied by anthropologists. Required for Anthropology majors.
  • ANTH 3110 - Ethnography of Mexico and Central America
    Primary Instructor - Summer 2018 / Summer 2019 / Summer 2020 / Summer 2021
    A broad overview, focusing on Mexico and Guatemala. Major topics include ethnohistory, indigenous and mestizo peoples, and contemporary problems and issues.
  • ARSC 1480 - MASP Social Science Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Fosters an appreciation of the social sciences. Readings, discussions, cooperative learning exercises, and outside activities illustrate the interconnections between different bodies of knowledge. Emphasizes relationships between the social sciences and the real world. Department consent required. May be repeated up to 4 total credit hours.
  • ARSC 1490 - MASP Humanities Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
    Enhances students' knowledge and appreciation of the humanities. Readings, discussions, cooperative learning exercises, workshopping papers and presentation, guest speakers, and outside activities are designed to enhance both students' appreciation of the subject matter and their performance in their regular courses. Emphasis is on actively using knowledge of humanities in a variety of ways. Department consent required. May be repeated up to 4 total credit hours.
  • ARSC 1550 - Making the Self: Tools for Well-Being and Success in College
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Spring 2021
    Helps first-year Arts and Sciences students build the skills, learning techniques and agency needed for success at CU and beyond. Taught in an experiential, workshop-format, this course focuses on developing a student's critical and analytical skills along with their practices of investigation and creative problem-solving. Using materials in a variety of media (text, visual, moving image, etc.), the course will explore different ways of knowing and learning. In an active small-group setting, students you will examine and define the concepts that lay the foundation for their college education.
  • HONR 1810 - Honors Diversity Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    Students will develop an appreciation for, and experience with, diverse perspectives. In particular this includes: racial/ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and class perspectives, for constructing knowledge as they proceed through their undergraduate studies. Three themes provide the framework for the course: education for the next century, the 21st century citizen, and the modern individual in a diverse society. Topics explored include privilege, stigmatization, targeted and nontargeted grouping, and oppression. Engaging in independent research and experiential, empathetic experiences is required.
  • WGST 2600 - Gender, Race, and Class in a Global Context
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023
    Examines the positionality of women in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class and power relations in a global context.
  • WGST 3670 - Gender, Race, Sexuality and Global Migration
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Engages in an interdisciplinary study of the intersections of gender, race and sexuality that have created a multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial world. Focuses on the effects of political, economic, social and cultural forces on gender, race and sexuality in migrant communities. Recommended prerequisite: WGST 2000 or WGST 2600.

International Activities

Other Profiles