Drawing on theories of political ecology and nature-society relations, my research seeks to understand dimensions human-environmental change in relation to uneven power relations and enduring inequality in post-war Guatemala, particularly as they manifest in struggles over territory and natural and cultural resources.
Latin American Politics & (In)security
My Ph.D. dissertation,Tourism & Territory in the Mayan World, examines how eco-tourism development and conservation in Guatemala’s national parks and archeological sites has enabled new claims to land, identity, and heritage in a post-war climate of land tenure insecurity. In Guatemala’s booming post-war tourism sector, I argue that enduring civil war struggles over natural resources and identity are taking deceptively innocuous forms of park creation, world heritage designation, and environmental conservation. Specifically, I examine how the military has repurposed tactics of counterinsurgency warfare to enforce conservation law, the ways eco-tourism development creates new forms of enclosure, and how locals appropriate aid projects to stake claims to race and class infused notions of territory and history.
Critical Race, Feminist, and Gender Theory
My research draws on feminist geography, critical race, and gender theories to analyze how power-laden practices producing socio-natures are also productive of subjectivities. This entails attending to how different races, ethnicities, and genders experience political and environmental insecurity uniquely, as well as analyzing how human-environmental relations often rework race, class, and gender forms of identification.
Critical social theory deeply informs my research methods and epistemology. My current project employs quantitative and qualitative research methods in integrated ways that allow me to capture broad changes in forest cover and land use over space and time alongside a fine grained, ethnographic analysis of power relations shaping community based resource management and environmental governance.