Pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree
Research Area: Political Geography, Geopolitics, Political Ecology, Development Studies
Supervisor: Philippe Le Billon
Degrees: MA International Affairs (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies: 2018), Honours BA Liberal Arts: Global Challenges (Leiden university College: 2016)
Entry Date: September 2020
My PhD research explores geopolitics, violence, and colonialism in Latin America and the decolonial futures proposed by Indigenous struggles for racial, environmental, and climate justice.
In the Sierra Norte de Puebla region in Mexico, dozens of Nahua and Totonakú Indigenous communities are embroiled in violent socio-ecological conflicts with the Mexican government and transnational corporations over hydropower and mining projects. Whereas the government and corporations depict these projects as instances of sustainable development, Indigenous cooperatives and land and environmental defenders argue that they endanger livelihoods, lives, and ecologies. Beyond resisting these projects, Nahua and Totonac community organizations propose and develop what they term Proyectos de Vida (“Projects of Life”) that aim to realize an alternative future that ensures Indigenous racial, environmental, and climate justice.
Through participant observation and archival research, I examine how these conflicts are influenced by, and themselves influence power structures, state and corporate discourses and practices as well as the mobilization of values, norms, and principles in the politics of sustainable development and alternative development rationalities.