Joel E. Correia

Assistant Professor
Center for Latin American Studies


Social & environmental justice; human rights; Indigenous politics & indigeneity; political ecology; land politics; resource rule; legal geographies; collaborative research methods.


Paraguay; Gran Chaco; Southern Cone

  • LAS 4935/6398: Human Rights in Latin America
  • LAS 4935: Drug Wars and Oil Fortunes in Latin America
  • LAS 6938: Indigenous environmental justice, decolonization, and development in Latin America
  • LAS 6938: Infrastructure, environment, society: Geographies of socio-ecological change
  • LAS 6938: Land politics: Race, rights, and power in the Américas

Joel E. Correia is a human geographer whose research and teaching focus on the intersections of human rights, justice, development, and environmental change with attention to Indigenous politics in Latin America.

In collaboration with community partners, his research seeks to understand how extra-local political, legal, and economic processes—like international Indigenous rights mechanisms, environmental governance schemes, and global commodity production and exchange—influence livelihoods, the praxis of rights, and socio-environmental relations at the “local” level, and vice versa. Joel draws theoretical and methodological inspiration from political ecology and STS, critical social theory, ethnography, and participatory research. His most recent field-based research projects in the Southern Cone have focused on Indigenous land rights, the implementation of Inter-American Court of Human Rights decisions, expanding agrarian frontiers, political ecologies of territorial struggles, and the politics of fair trade.

Correia’s first book, Disrupting the patrón: Unsettling racial geographies in pursuit of Indigenous environmental justice, is currently in progress. To date, his research is published in The Journal of Peasant Studies, Geoforum, the Journal of Latin American Geography, Erasmus Law Review and other academic journals with several chapters in press for edited volumes by Routledge, University Press of Florida, and Edward Elgar. He also contributes to public news outlets like The Conversation and has been interviewed for works on Indigenous human rights and environmental change by NBC, Mongabay, World Politics Review, among others. His new research initiative, “Frontiers of Environmental Justice: Rupture, resource rule, and resistance” investigates social-ecological transformations taking place across South America’s Gran Chaco forest region—a site where rapid deforestation, new infrastructure projects, extractivism, and climate change are creating new challenges and opportunities for Indigenous environmental justice.

After receiving his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Colorado Boulder in August 2017, Joel completed a Postdoctoral position at the University of Arizona (2017-18). He holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona and a BA in Geography from Humboldt State University.

Drinking tereré with friends and strangers, cycling near but preferably far, and digging in the dirt (aka gardening) with his partner are some of his favorite pastimes.

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