Charis is a Presidential Fellow in Socio-Environmental Systems at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester. She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the East African Institute at Aga Khan University.
Her research interests lie at the intersection of human geography, critical development studies and political economy and ecology. She researches the impacts of large-scale investments in land and natural resources on rural landscapes and livelihoods. She is also interested in corporate social responsibility and corporate-community engagement practices around sites of large-scale land investment. Key themes running through her work include governance, citizenship, territory, mobility, knowledge, land and livelihoods.
Some of her current research focuses on how investments to promote biodiversity conservation intersect with rural livelihoods. A current project, titled Tenebo o-ngwesi (‘Together with wildlife’), uses walking interviews and storytelling to document how the landscape and human-wildlife interactions in northern Kenya have changed over the past century as a result of biodiversity conservation efforts. This research is being conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict.
Another theme of her recent research has been resource corridors, which are networks of roads, railways, pipelines, and ports built to transport commodities from sites of production to global markets. Drawing on fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Cameroon, this research explores how resource corridors intersect with rural mobilities, livelihoods, economies and landscapes. Enns is also interested in the tensions that emerge between new mega-infrastructure developments and biodiversity conservation efforts.