Maria J Mendez Gutierrez
My research is situated at the intersection of multiple disciplines—political theory, international relations, anthropology, and political economy—with a regional focus on Central America. It is characterized by three overarching themes. First, I am interested in studying the illicit and subaltern worlds that occur below, beside, and in resistance to the liberal global economy. Second, I approach these worlds by engaging the voices of those in the social margins, like women gang members in Central American prisons, migrants stuck in the border zones of Mexico, or indigenous people defending their land in Honduras. Third, informed by these perspectives I articulate conceptual tools to reframe contemporary questions of violence, and to excavate new forms of survival under global capitalism that point to ways in which economies and polities are being re-organized by non-state actors. In bringing these themes together, my research is committed to theorizing about illicit and subaltern worlds with ethnographic and historical research that centers marginalized people.