Ph.D. Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
M.A. International Affairs, The New School, 2009
B.A. Anthropology, Colorado College, 2001
My research is about the political ecology of violent conflict and development in Latin America with special interest in the role of natural resources and illicit networks.
My book, The Frontier Effect: Violent State Formation in Northwest Colombia, to be published in 2019 by Cornell University Press, examines how outlaw combatant groups funded by the drug trade engage in unexpected forms of state-building in a violent frontier zone. The book raises new questions about the commonplace notion that state-building and development provide lasting antidotes to lawlessness and violence in war-torn regions. Put simply, it shows why state-building does not necessarily result in peace-building. I have also begun research on a new project in Colombia about the ways the natural environment is being used as both a weapon of war and a tool for peace.
Before returning to academia, I spent eight years working as a journalist, covering Latin American affairs and U.S. policy toward the region.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Narco-Frontiers. Journal of Agrarian Change, forthcoming 2018.
Grassroots Masquerades: Development, Paramilitaries, and Land Laundering in Colombia. Geoforum, December 2013, 50: 62-75.
Everyday State Formation: Territory, Decentralization, and the Narco Land-Grab in Colombia. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, August 2012 30(4): 603-622.
Non-Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
A Call for Scholarly Propaganda: Or what can we Learn from Thomas Friedman? Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, April 29, 2014.
Gleaning the Current Conjuncture: Notes from the 3rd Antipode Institute for the Geographies of Justice. Antipode, September 2013 45(4): 1-6.
Territories of Life and Death on a Colombian Frontier. Antipode, January 2013 45(1): 238-241.
Dispatches from Latin America: On the Frontlines Against Neoliberalism. Co-edited with Vijay Prashad. South End Press, 2006.
Peer Reviewed Book Chapters
"Frontiers: Remembering the Forgotten Lands." In Other Geographies: The Influences of Michael Watts. Wiley, 2017.
Homies Unidos. In Youth Activism: An International Encyclopedia. Lonnie R. Sherrod, ed. Greenwood Press, 2006.
Hugo Blanco, Let’s Save Humanity from Extinction. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 24(3): 151-159. 2013
Is the Planet Doomed?
Criminal Underworlds: Drugs, Guns, Bodies
War in Lived Experience
The Invention of 'Latin America'
Selected Fellowships & Grants
U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Colombia, 2018-2019
Picker Fellowship, Colgate University 2018
The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Dissertation Fellowship, 2014
Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), 2013
Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Drugs, Security, and Democracy Fellowship (DSD), 2012
University of California Regents’ Fellowship, 2009
The Failure of U.S. Policy in Bolivia Miami Herald, October 17, 2014.
Colombia’s Chance for Peace The New York Times, May 24, 2014.
Medellín: Who’s Afraid of Hip-Hop? OpenDemocracy.net, March 4, 2013.
La telaraña de los ‘paras’ en Urabá VerdadAbierta, June 14, 2011.
The Dark Side of Plan Colombia The Nation, June 15, 2009.