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Meztli Yoalli Rodriguez Aguilera

Ph.D. Candidate in Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Residency: July 2020 – May 2021 

Research Project: Grieving Geographies, Mourning Waters in Mexico: Environmental Struggles, Life, Death Among Black and Indigenous Women in a Mestizo Nationalist Country 

Research Interests: Environmental racism, mestizaje formation, state violence, anti-racist movements, political ecology, feminist anthropology and geography


Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin with a minor in anthropology. She is interested in environmental racism and racialized geographies in the context of mestizaje in Mexico to understand nation-state project building, identity politics and the intersection between race, gender and environment. She draws from critical geography, decolonial and antiracist theory, feminist ethnography and anthropology of the State.

Rodríguez’s dissertation focuses on the everyday inter-ethnic resistances of a racialized community and territory in the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico to understand how mestizaje ideology operates in a material form. However, her dissertation explores how in spaces where governments fail to respond, for example, a community in the coast that faces ecocide of the lagoon in their land and violence, black and indigenous women particularly have stepped to create everyday practices of care; practices of local and community informal economies; practices of solidarity within women in the community to support each other and their families and finally, practices of care towards nature, in this case, towards the lagoon. Rodríguez’s dissertation is developed in mixed-methods of ethnography, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, community participatory map-making and historical archival work collected during 12 months of multi-sited fieldwork. This project has received generous support from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin and the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS-UT Austin).