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

Biography

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.

I am currently researching and making a documentary on women-led resistance to hydrocarbon development in Tariquia National Reserve of Flora and Fauna, part of a new wave of extraction and socio-environmental conflict in Bolivia's protected areas. 

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

Publications

Authored book

  • Anthias, Penelope (2022). Límites a la descolonización: Territorios indígenas y política de hidrocarburos en el Chaco boliviano. Plural Editores (La Paz).
  • Anthias, P. (2018). Limits to Decolonization: Indigeneity, Territory, and Hydrocarbon Politics in the Bolivian Chaco. Cornell University Press.

Book review

Chapter in book

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)

  • Anthias, Penelope (direction and production) (2022). TARIQUÍA NO SE TOCA! La resistencia de Chiquiacá.

Other (Print)

Supervision students