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Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography505+44 (0) 191 33 41901
Assistant Professor , Economy and Culture505+44 (0) 191 33 41901


My research examines struggles around indigeneity, territory and the politics of resource extraction in Latin America. This work is grounded in a decade and a half of engaged ethnographic research in sites of hydrocarbon extraction in Bolivia’s Chaco region.

At the heart of my approach is a commitment to centring the voices of colonised peoples, not only as sources of empirical knowledge but as producers of geographical theory. This has led me to methodological experimentation, combining long-term ethnography with participatory, counter-mapping and, most recently, audio-visual methods.

My work is theoretically heterodox and interdisciplinary, drawing inspiration from anti-colonial, Marxist and Foucaultian traditions to offer an empirically-grounded account of how colonial relations are reproduced and contested at resource frontiers. To this end, I have engaged debates in political ecology, settler colonial studies, legal geography and anthropology of development, among others.

My first book, Limits to Decolonization, examines the dynamics and legacies of Bolivia’s Native Community Lands (TCOs), indigenous territories created during the "neoliberal" 1990s, which came to play a central role in resource politics under the government of Evo Morales. It was awarded the 2019 APSA Award for Best Book in Race, Ethnicity and Comparative Politics and featured in this 2019 Human Geography book review forum. A Spanish translation of the book (Plural Editores, 2022) is available here.

My current research focuses on an ongoing conflict over new natural gas development in the Tariquia National Reserve of Flora and Fauna in Southern Bolivia to explore resource frontiers as sites of juristocratic reckoning, in which the promise of rights is simultaneously invoked and undermined, contributing to the emergence of new forms of juristocratic politics from below. My recent documentary Don't Touch Tariquia charts the emergence and remarkable success of rural women's resistance to extraction in one area of the national park.

Alongside my position at Durham, I am Assistant Professor (0.5) at the Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, which I am a member of the research project "LEAKS: Extractive enclaves and unintended flows in Latin America".

Before joining Durham in 2018, I held research positions at the University of Copenhagen and the University of California, Berkeley, as Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow. I completed my PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge in 2014.

I welcome expressions of interest from prospective PhD students, particularly those with research interests in (post)colonial geographies and/or land and resource politics.

PhD students (completed)

Tim May

Research groups


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Anthias, Penelope (2012). Territorializing Resource Conflicts in “Post-Neoliberal” Bolivia: Hydrocarbon Development and Indigenous Land Titling in TCO Itika Guasu. In New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance. Haarstad, H. Palgrave MacMillan. 129-153.
  • Anthias, P. (2012). Regulación ambiental de los hidrocarburs en el Campo Margarita, Tarija. In Jamás Tan Cerca Arremetió lo Lejos: Inversiones Extraterritoriales, Crisis Ambiental, y Acción Colectiva en América Latina. Peralta, P. & Hollenstein, P. Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Rimisp, Ediciones La Tierra. 51-88.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Anthias, Penelope (2016). Indigenous autonomy in the age of extraction. North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA)

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • (2023). La casa nueva (documentary directed, produced and filmed by Penelope Anthias, 2023) Documentary film.
  • Anthias, Penelope (2022). TARIQUÍA NO SE TOCA! La resistencia de Chiquiacá

Supervision students