Welcome, Bienvenido, Bem vindo, Tapeguahe porã!

Thank you for visiting my website. Here you will find information about my research and teaching. Please take a look around.

I try to keep this space updated, but cannot always do so. That said, feel free to contact me with questions or potential collaborations.


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I conduct ethnographic research in collaboration with community partners to investigate questions of Indigenous politics, land conflicts, socio-environmental (in)justice, and law in the context of development in Latin America, with a focus on human rights. My research seeks to understand how extra-local political and economic processes—like international Indigenous rights mechanisms, environmental laws, and global commodity production and exchange—influence local struggles for social and environmental justice. I am particularly interested in the uneven effects of these processes on human rights and changing notions of justice across space, time, and scale. While I hold a Ph.D. in Geography, my training is thoroughly interdisciplinary and draws from political ecology, critical social theory, cultural geography, and applied anthropology.

To date, my research has centered on five inter-related areas:

1. Indigeneity, dispossession, human rights: critical environmental justice

I have been researching how agrarian development, environmental change, and law create new territorial orders, governable spaces, and contradictory political possibilities for Enxet-Sur and Sanapana peoples in Paraguay since 2013. This research has primarily focused on investigating how three landmark Indigenous rights cases before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights impact the claimant communities involved in those cases. Through critical ethnography, action research, and partnerships with affected community members and their legal counsel, this project seeks to understand the how different actors navigate life in the gap between de jure and de facto rights and rework spaces of dispossession to create socio-environmental justice.

Publications in print:

  • Correia, J.E. 2018. Indigenous rights at a crossroads: Territorial struggles, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and legal geographies of liminality. Geoforumhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.10.013.
  • Correia, J. 2017. Life in the gap: Indigeneity, dispossession, and land rights in the Paraguayan Chaco. PhD Dissertation on file with the University of Colorado Boulder.

Publications in progress:

  • Correia, J.E. Reworking recognition: Indigeneity, rights, and land politics without guarantees. *Invited contribution for a special issue the journal Geoforum; submission in December 2018.
  • Correia, J. “All the land is stolen”: Indigenous land rights at the intersection of legal geography and critical environmental justice. In Handbook on Space, Place, and Law. Bartel, R. and Carter, J. eds. London: Edward Elgar Publishing. *Under review.

  • Correia, J.E. Indigenous land rights and/as environmental justice: Evaluating the role Inter-American System decisions play in reshaping the debate across the Americas. *For submission to Human Rights QuarterlyFall 2019.

Book Manuscript

  • Correia, J.E. Disrupting the Patrón: Indigeneity, critical environmental justice, and the politics of the possible in Paraguay’s Chaco. *In preparation with proposal submission planned for Fall 2019.

2. Resource politics, environmental change, and state violence

Trained as a political ecologist, I have a keen interest in resource politics, environmental change and violence, broadly construed. Much of my research is attentive to these issues and investigates how they are manifest through agro-export development, environmental change, and state-society relations in Latin America. Recently, I have been thinking about how soybean resource politics and more-than-human territorializations impact state formation and structural violence.

Recent publications:

3. Agrarian change, Indigenous livelihoods, and territory

Inspired by applied work in the area of smallholder agriculture and development, I have conducted research on the potential of “alternative” development models to support rural livelihoods and promote social justice. Of note, is my study about the effects of market-driven restoration via fair trade yerba mate production with Indigenous producers in the Paraguay-Brazil borderlands.

Recent publications:

  • Correia, J.E. 2019. Unsettling territory: Agrarian change, the territorial turn, and the limits of indigenous land rights in the Paraguay-Brazil borderlands. Journal of Latin American Geography. 

Publications in progress:

  • Correia, J. Overcoming the limits of rights-based claims: Territorialization, the dialectics of inclusion, and infrastructural violence in the bajo Chaco. In The South American Chaco: Contested Territories and Friction in a Multiethnic Space. Hirsch, S., Canova, P., and Biocca, M.eds.*Under review.

4. Strategic litigation impacts in Indigenous land rights cases

As part of an interdisciplinary, international research team, I conducted public research on the impacts of strategic litigation for indigenous land rights that resulted in a study that spanned the globe. I joined Jeremie Gilbert, Kanyinke Sena, Colin Nicholas, Yogeswara Subramaniam, and expert advisors from a host of international indigenous rights organizations to conduct research for an innovative Open Society Justice Initiative study. From this study, we published a critical analysis of strategic litigation impacts across the three research countries and presented the results at the 2017 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Publications in print:

  • Correia, J.E. Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights Adjudication and its Aftereffects in Paraguay: Legal Geographies of Three Inter-American Court cases. Erasmus Law Review 11 no.1: 43-56. Accessible by clicking here.
  • Open Society Justice Initiative. 2017. Strategic litigation impacts: Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights. New York City: New York.

5. Action research, engaged pedagogy, and decolonizing methodology

I am currently developing a new project that focuses on new frontiers of extractivism and indigenous self-determination in the Paraguayan Chaco. The study is an inter-disciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration with scholars in the U.S. and Paraguay based on applied anthropology and public political ecology to create engaged research opportunities for graduate students and local communities in both countries. The study will investigate how new frontiers of resource extraction (and speculation about these resources) for natural gas, new varieties of genetically modified soy, and cattle production are shaping Indigenous livelihoods and human rights.

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Please feel free to contact me via my University of Florida email address: joel.correia@latam.ufl.edu.

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