Dr. Moeller's interdisciplinary, ethnographic scholarship examines the gendered, sexualized, and racialized nature of corporate power. She specifically considers how it influences the fields of education, feminism, and international development using transnational feminist theory, anthropological theories of corporations and education, critical development studies, and political economy.
Her forthcoming book, The Girl Effect: The Corporate Politics of Ending Poverty and Promoting Development (August 2017), is based on over two years of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in the US and Brazil at Nike, Inc. and the Nike Foundation, two international NGOs in Brazil, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the World Bank, and ten years of archival research and documentary analysis, this global ethnography examines how and why US transnational corporations, including Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Walmart, and Nike, Inc. are “investing” their philanthropic and corporate social responsibility resources in the education, employment, health, and financial futures of poor girls and women of color in the Global South as a solution to ending poverty in pursuit of economic growth and corporate profit. The book focuses on The Girl Effect, the corporate philanthropic brand of Nike, Inc. to understand how diverse, unequal subjects negotiate corporatized development practices in distinct, yet interconnected geographies. The Girl Effect argues that corporatized development focused on poor girls and women of color in the global South is constituted through the reactionary and expansionary tendencies of corporate capitalism as they are articulated with gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and nation on different spatial scales. It demonstrates how these corporate practices simultaneously position poor girls and women of color as instruments of poverty alleviation and new frontiers for capitalist accumulation. The Girl Effect concludes that these practices enable corporations to expand their legitimacy, authority, and reach without having to deal with the contradictions in their business practices, and de-politicize girls and women’s demands for a fair global economy. While making a methodological contribution to conducting multi-scalar, transnational ethnographic research in corporations and powerful development institutions, the book also theorizes how corporate capitalism searches for value in new population frontiers by empirically tracing the reach and effects of corporate influence over girls and women’s bodies, lives, and futures from corporate headquarters in the global North to NGO classrooms in the global South.
The National Science Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation supported this project. Scholarly publications from this project also include articles in Feminist Studies and International Journal of Education and Development.
Her second project, "The Education Business," seeks to understand Brazilian corporations and private foundations are promoting a “common core” curriculum through the discourses of racial and gender equity n a moment of heightened political polarization. Fulbright and the Wenner Gren Foundation have supported this research.