Ángela Castillo-Ardilla

Research Interests: Nature, Politics, Law, Extractive Frontiers, Gold Mining, Anti-Mining Coalitions, Territorial and Life Defense Practices, Multi-Species Commons, Participation, Democracy, Sovereignty, Internal Armed-Conflict Affected Countries, Colombia, Latinamerica.


My research explores how anti-mining coalitions in Central Colombia deploy practices of "territorial, water, and life defense", which have brought the Colosa mining project to a standstill. In so doing, my dissertation offers an ethnographic examination of the unmaking/unsettling of mining frontiers. Thus, through a consideration of what "territorial, water, and life defense" is -practices of care for different forms of life, the creation of new commons that comprise multiple species, the emergence of political constituencies around the claim for participation, and the materialization of that claim via different legal technologies-, my work examines what is assembled when territories and lives are defended amidst environmental conflicts.

My research also includes a collaborative dimension focused on supporting popular environmental education activities and understanding and improving women's participation in environmental decision-making. As part of the latter initiative, my research contributed to the design and facilitation of two women-led education and political advocacy spaces (the first one in 2019 and the second one in 2020) where women gathered to learn, share and discuss concepts and methodologies from feminist studies, political ecology, and environmental anthropology.

I received my B.A. in Anthropology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá) and an M.Sc. in Geography from the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá). In 2015, I received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue my doctoral studies in the U.S. Before coming to UC-Berkeley, I was a social researcher at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad de los Andes, and the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (Icanh)