Appointed As

Postdoctoral Fellow for Native American Collections


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Brown University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Dissertation Abstract

"The Forest Frontier in San Juan Lachao (Oaxaca, Mexico): Contested Environmental Conservation in Chatino Indigenous and Campesino Territories"

This dissertation examines how community-based forestry in Indigenous and campesino territories in San Juan Lachao (SJL, Oaxaca, Mexico) shapes community-forest relations. Over the last decade, SJL communities have implemented environmental programs that include payments for ecosystem services,
conservation of mountain cloud forest, sustainable forest management for timber extraction, and carbon offsetting. The research draws on 5 years of participant observation, interviews with community members, participatory mapping workshops and the production of a feature film in collaboration with community members. The study draws on theories of assemblage and social difference to map the complex and unequal processes of fronterization, commodification, and land enclosure, as well as inhabitants’ negotiation, resistance, and accommodation to these programs, thus revealing the dynamics through which forestry takes place. The research traces the long-term process of fronterization whereby SJL has been integrated into national and international market as new resources are produced (coffee, timber, carbon), thus demonstrating the work of forestry in (re)producing this territory as a resource frontier. Through this analysis, I explore the intersections of land, carbon, commons, knowledge production, and gender arrangements to demonstrate the emergence and reproduction of capitalist relations and spaces of agency as community members take advantage of or challenge these programs. The dissertation shows that community-based forestry territorializes (1) by advancing commodification of the forest through carbon offsetting; (2) though a complex process of enclosure of communal land linked to long-term processes of settlement, pastureland expansion, and ‘restriction’ on access to land due to forestry programs; and (3) via differential access to and ability to know the forest based on gender arrangements, location, ethnicity, and language.