I research struggles for justice in the context of social-ecological change in Latin America. Much of that work examines dynamics of large-scale infrastructure development, expanding extractive frontiers, deforestation, Indigenous rights, territorialities, and social movements. As a human-environment geographer and Latin American studies scholar, my work transgresses disciplinary boundaries while drawing from and contributing to scholarship in political ecology, environmental justice, development studies, and integrated social-environmental systems.
Collaborative work with community partners drives my research. I employ a suite of methods and analyses that range from qualitative (like interviews, participant observation, archival analysis, community mapping) to quantitative (like Q-method, household surveys, spatial analysis) and visual (like photo, video, and drone imagery). Throughout, I strive to use engaged research as a vehicle to support more just futures.
My current and recent field-based research projects are based in the Gran Chaco (Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina) and the Ecuadorian Amazon. I am working on projects related to Indigenous territorial management and land rights, the implementation of Inter-American Court of Human Rights decisions, legacies of settler colonialism, expanding agrarian frontiers, political ecologies of infrastructure, and relationships between biocultural diversity, climate change mitigation, and just conservation policy.
Below, please find information about several of my research projects and areas of interest.
Currently Funded Projects
Disrupting the Patrón: Indigenous land rights and the fight for environmental justice in Paraguay’s Chaco
As a 2021 American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, I completed my first book that University of California Press will publish in mid-2023. The work builds from longterm research with Enxet and Sanapaná in Paraguay’s Chaco. The project traces the formation of racial geographies that result from settler colonialism and its extractive imperative yet attends to the future-oriented resistance of Indigenous peoples who are renewing relations with territories once stolen through the pursuit of environmental justice.
Resilient Socio-Environmental Systems: Indigenous Territories in the Face of Change
I am a Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems grant (2021-2025). Based in the Ecuadorian Amazon, the study integrates ecology, socio-environmental modeling, human geography, and spatial sciences to investigate Indigenous territorial management strategies and their effects on system resilience. Our team comprises a collaboration between U.S. and Ecuadorian academics and Indigenous communities.
The project started in November 2021 — our project website is under construction and will soon be available.
Building the future: Infrastructure, climate change, and environmental justice in the Gran Chaco
As a 2019 UF Global Fellow, I expanded my research program to begin investigating land-use change, expanding extractive frontiers, and the infrastructure development with attention to climate and environmental (in)justice in the Gran Chaco–one of the world’s most threatened forest frontiers. My Fulbright Scholar award (2022-2023) will support in-depth field research on this project through collaborations with partners from Indigenous communities, leading human rights organizations, and the Universidad Católica Center for Anthropological Studies in Paraguay.
Core Research themes (being updated, available soon)
Indigenous Land Rights
Environmental & Climate Justice