Fellows in Residence

Spring of 2024

Indigenous and Black Geographies: Colonialism and Cultural Persistence in the Ancient Americas (April 3-5, 2024)

(Check Zoom links below)

In this event, professors Justin Dunnavant, Roberto Rosado, and Di Hu will discuss the multiple responses of indigenous and black communities in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Andes to Colonial erasure, land appropriation, and displacement using a material culture perspective. Some topics to be discussed include Afro-indigenous diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean, indigeneity, black and indigenous geographies, alternative geographies, ruination, and placemaking. 

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. His current research in the US Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. He is the author of several articles including Have Confidence in the Sea: Maritime Maroons and Fugitive Geographies. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (2001, 53(3): 884-905 and co-author of The Future of Archaeology is Anti-Racist: Archaeology in the Time of Black Lives Matter (American Antiquity. 86(2): 224-243). Justin is co-founder of the Society of Black Archaeologists and an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver. In 2021, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.


Dr. Roberto Rosado-Ramirez is an anthropological archaeologist born and raised in Yucatan, Mexico. He uses indigenous knowledge to understand the long histories of Indigenous resilience, decolonization, community archaeology, and the politics of cultural heritage in the Americas. Funded by National Geographic and the NSF, his doctoral dissertation explored how ancient, ruined buildings in the Maya city of Ake contributed to the resilience of ancient Maya communities. It received the 2022 Alfonso Caso Award for best doctoral thesis in Mexican Archaeology. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Di Hu is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at James Madison University. She uses the lenses of political geography and landscape to develop a long-term understanding of political strategies of control, bottom-up indigenous social movements, and identity transformation. Her research is on the ancient Andes, investigating how landscape constrains and provides opportunities for collective action, such as the rise of states, coordinated rebellions, and the emergence of new group identities. In her book, The Fabric of Resistance. Textile Workshops and the Rise of Rebellious Landscapes in Colonial Peru (2022, University of Alabama Press), she highlights the key role that social landscapes—the organization of social relations over the landscape—play in facilitating collective struggles to control one’s own labor, ritual landscape, and ecological resources.

Public presentations schedule

(Click here for a complete list of activities) 

Part 1. Presentation (Thursday, April 4; 3:00-4:30 pm)

Place: Brooks Hall (The Commons), UVA

Online event: Click here for a Zoom registration: 

  • Black and Indigenous Geographies in the Danish West Indies (Justin Dunnavant, UCLA)
  • Living with Ruins: Indigenous persistence at an Ancient Maya City in Yucatan, Mexico since the 16th century (Roberto Rosado, UVA)
  • The Siren’s Call: Remixing folklore in Indigenous-led cosmopolitanism in the Andes (Di Hu, JMU)
Part 2. Discussion (Friday, April 5; 10:30 am-12:00 pm)

Place: Brooks Hall (The Commons), UVA

Online event. Click here for a Zoom registration: 

  • Reflections and conversation with the speakers (Tiffany King)

Fall of 2023


Dr. Jessica Hernandez

Dr. Jessica Hernandez (Binnizá & Maya Ch’orti’) is a transnational Indigenous scholar, scientist, and community advocate based in the Pacific Northwest. She has an interdisciplinary academic background ranging from marine sciences to environmental physics. She advocates for climate, energy, and environmental justice through her scientific and community work and strongly believes that Indigenous sciences can heal our Indigenous lands.

She is the author of ​Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science and is currently  in the process of writing her second book, Growing Papaya Trees: Nurturing Indigenous Roots of Climate Displacement & Justice.  Hernandez has been named by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful & influential women of Central America.


Dr. Esme Murdock

Dr. Esme G. Murdock is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and Associate Director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs at San Diego State University. Her research interests include environmental justice, Indigenous and Afro-descended environmental ethics, settler colonial theory, and decolonization as land/resource rematriation. Murdock comes to this work as a descendant of enslaved Africans and European settlers in North America. Her current work explores the devastating impacts of colonization and slavery on both Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples and environments on Turtle Island. She anchors her understanding of settler colonialism, in particular, in the experiences and theorization of Native and Black communities especially toward securing decolonial futures. She often writes back to mainstream environmental discourse that attempts to “read out” colonization as the context of environmental degradation and destruction, particularly in the settler colonies of the United States and Canada.  Her work centers conceptions of land and relating to land found within both Indigenous and African American/Afro-descended environmental philosophies. Murdock has work published in Environmental ValuesGlobal EthicsHypatiaAgricultural and Environmental EthicsEthics, Policy & Environment, World Philosophies, and Critical Philosophy of Race.

Murdock’s first book manuscript is a project of public ecological (re)memory anchored in the understanding that land has memory. Her methods include both Indigenous memory/re-memory work and Black feminist witnessing. She is, thus, writing a land history of the South Carolina Sea Coast that engages in the diverse and often erased ecological histories, ecological heritages, ethnobotanical knowledges, and complex relations of Indigenous and Afro-descended peoples within the colonial complex of multiple European powers.


Dr. Meredith Alberta Palmer

Meredith Alberta Palmer (Tuscarora, Six Nations) is an Indigenous Geographer who explores how US imperial notions and practices consent and refusal in research data collected about Indigenous peoples engages in a territorial politic and practice. She is currently a Presidential Postdoc at Cornell University, in the Department of Science & Technology Studies and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. Her current book project, Imperial Evidence, shows how Indigeneity disrupts core notions of reason, order, and humanism which articulate science, technology, and the US colonial state, and grounds her work in Haudenosaunee homelands. Palmer’s research has been funded by the Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Fellowship at Yale University, Ford Foundation Fellowships, UC Chancellor’s Fellowship, and the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. received her Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley in 2020, and M.P.H. from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health in 2015.