About Us

Welcome! Indigenous Urbanisation is a growing network of scholars who are working with urban Indigenous peoples and Indigenous urbanisation in Latin America. We curate this space with the aim to highlight the historical and ongoing presence of Indigenous peoples in urban centres as well as how urbanisation affects Indigenous communities in the Americas. We welcome anyone whose work intersects with this theme, from practitioners to scholars and students. 



Dr. Aiko Ikemura Amaral is currently a voluntary researcher and lecturer at the Center for Regional Development and Planning (Cedeplar) and the Department of Economics of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Brazil. Her doctoral research (Sociology, University of Essex, UK) followed the narratives of social and spatial mobility of Bolivian women working at street markets in São Paulo (Brazil) and El Alto (Bolivia), focusing on how these processes articulated their identities and experiences of exclusion at the intersections of gender, race, and class. She holds a MSc in Political Science (Universidade de São Paulo – USP/Brazil), for which she researched the politicisation of indigeneity through the relation between social movements and the state in Bolivia, and a BA in Social Sciences (UFMG/Brazil). Her research takes on a qualitative, interdisciplinary approach to address issues such as migration and mobilities, intersectional inequalities, coloniality, gender, sexuality, and race, with an emphasis on Latin America and, in particular, Bolivia and Brazil.

Dr. Philipp Horn is a Lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield, UK. His research interests centre around rights-based approaches to urban development, Indigenous rights to the city, models of knowledge co-production, and citizen-led planning. Working collaboratively with urban Indigenous collectives in Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, his research seeks to identify pathways for integrating specific interests, demands and rights-based claims of historically marginalised groups into urban policies and planning interventions.

Dr. Desiree Poets is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Theory at Virginia Tech’s Department of Political Science, as well as a core faculty member of the interdisciplinary Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) PhD programme. Since 2013, she has been working with urban Indigenous and urban Black movements in Brazil’s Southeast Region, including quilombos and favelas. Her work proposes that we should approach Brazil as a settler colony, which has implications for how we imagine and enact decolonial horizons there.

Collaborators and Associated Researchers 

Dr. Jonathan Alderman is a social anthropologist with a PhD from the University of St Andrews. He is currently Stipendiary Fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London), where he also studied for an MA in Latin American Studies. Since 2011 he has conducted research in Bolivia with the Kallawaya Indigenous nation examining the Kallawaya experience of Bolivia’s refounding as a plurinational state, and their own Indigenous autonomy project. His research explores themes such as identity politics, popular education, and the relationship of Andean families with their houses. His most recent research in 2019 on Andean houses (amongst other topics) was supported by a Society for Latin American Studies Postdoctoral Award.

Professor Kate Maclean is a feminist geographer at Northumbria University’s Centre for
International Development. She first started working in Bolivia in 2004 when doing a PhD on the country’s renowned microfinance sector. During her fieldwork in 2006, a series of remarkable coincidences led her to the valley of Luribay, where she stayed for 8 months in the hamlet of Pocuma with one of the members of a credit group there. She frequently returns. Since her PhD, she has conducted projects on themes that have been prominent in both Bolivian popular culture and political debate: the abundant and growing trade in used clothes – la ropa usada – that provides a healthy living for thousands, but also threatens national production; the rise of the Aymara bourgeoisie and changing urban culture and mobility in La Paz; and the growing industry of la moda de la chola paceña. Her overarching empirical interest is the radical potential of the everyday, and in particular how women earn a living. Her work is framed by feminist critiques of political economy and development, and she has published in Antipode, Political Geography, Gender, Place and Culture, and Development and Change. Outputs from her latest project – The Aymara Bourgeoisie –
can be viewed here: https://aymarabourgeoisie.com/

Dr. Dana Brablec is an Affiliated Researcher in Sociology and a Teaching Associate in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD in Sociology at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, and is a former Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Institute of Latin American Studies in New York. She holds a Bachelor degree in Political Science from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics from University College London (UCL). Her doctoral research looks at the collective identity re-creation practices developed by the Mapuche diaspora within Indigenous associations in Santiago de Chile and the role that the urban milieu, including the state, plays in this process. Dana has presented her work both in Europe and overseas in conferences organised by the British Sociological Association, the Latin American Studies Association and the Society of Latin American Studies, among others.

Dr. Jennifer Chisholm is a recent doctoral graduate from the Department of Sociology at Cambridge University and originally from Cleveland, Ohio, USA. She earned her B.A. from American University in 2012 where she majored in International Studies with concentrations in Latin America and Comparative Race Relations. In 2013, she embarked on her MPhil degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her MPhil dissertation fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro on black and Indigenous land rights set the foundation for her PhD project. This project is an ethnographic study of how residents of informal settlements called favelas mobilize against eviction in Rio de Janeiro.

Dr. Angus McNelly is a lecturer in Latin American Politics/International Development at Queen Mary University of London. His research primarily focuses on Latin American politics. He is particularly interested in the region’s political economy; the informal economy and city; the period of progressive Latin American governments known as the “Pink Tide”; social movements and state formation. He has done fieldwork in three Bolivian cities, El Alto, La Paz and Santa Cruz and most of my work focuses on Bolivia in particular.

Ana Luísa Sertã is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of London (Birbeck/ UCL) exploring intersections between gender, technology and housework in Brazil. Ana holds a masters in Social Anthropology from the University of Sao Paulo (USP), was one of the founders of the Urban Ethnology Group in 2010 and has worked extensively with Sateré-Mawé communities in Amazonian cities, addressing topics around gender, material culture, mobility processes and the Indigenous right to the city. Author of Following seeds: Sateré-Mawé circuits and paths between city and village and director of The paths of the seeds, awarded best ethnographic film at the ANPOCS conference of 2017.