My research and teaching program centers on the intersections of Indigenous politics, environmental justice, human rights, and development in Latin America.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida (UF) where I coordinate the Indigenous Studies Specialization for the Masters in Latin American Studies. Prior to joining UF, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Arizona (UA), completed my PhD in Geography at University of Colorado, Boulder, and received an MA in Latin American Studies from UA. I am a human-environment geographer trained at the crossroads of political ecology, development geographies, and critical social theory who transgresses disciplinary boundaries through collaborative field-based studies, action research, and engaged teaching practice. As a publicly-engaged scholar, I strive to leverage research as a tool to inform academic and popular knowledge while supporting more just futures.
As a 2021 American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, I am completing Disrupting the Patrón: Indigenous land rights and the fight for environmental justice in Paraguay’s Chaco. This book project builds from longterm research with Enxet and Sanapaná peoples in Paraguay’s Chaco. As a 2019 UF Global Fellow, I launched my new research project Building the Future: Infrastructure and Environmental Justice in South America’s Chaco that investigates rapid deforestation, land-use change, and the current infrastructure boom with attention to climate and environmental (in)justice in one of the world’s most threatened forest frontiers. As a Fulbright Scholar, I will continue field research on this project in 2022 working alongside collaborators from Indigenous communities, leading human rights organizations, and the Universidad Católica Center for Anthropological Studies in Paraguay.
Complementing my primary appointment at UF, I am serve as a core faculty member in the Tropical Conservation and Development and Masters in Sustainable Development Practice Programs. I serve as a faculty affiliate with the Department of Geography, American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, as well as the PhD program in Interdisciplinary Ecology.
Before returning to academia, I worked with numerous community-based organizations and initiatives to support social justice, including the Thoya-Oya Children’s Center in Kenya, Mateel Community Center in Northern California, among others. I have served as a “Crop Extension” Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Paraguay and as an Americorps Volunteer with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona’s Marana Heritage Farm Project.
When not working, you can often find me on a kavaju piru (literally “skinny horse”, but actually a bicycle), running in the forest, digging around in the garden, or, depending on the weather, drinking tereré or mate.