Àngela Castillo-Ardila

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

With Pitzer Since: 2023
Field Group: Anthropology
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment using this link: https://calendly.com/acardila/office-hours

Educational Background

Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.

M.A. in Geography, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia.

B.A. in Anthropology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Ángela is an anthropologist of environmental politics and natural resource extraction struggles with an emphasis on Latin America —particularly Colombia. Her scholarly work explores how environmental and territorial disputes give rise to new forms of political action. Drawing on qualitative research methods, including participant observation, various types of focal groups, archival work, legal analysis, collaborative ethnography, and public scholarship, she aims to understand present-day environmental issues and challenges from the perspective of a critical socio-environmental scientist. Her research has been supported by various grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship, a Bendix-Sharling Fellowship, a UC Berkeley Graduate Division’s Writing Grant, and a UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies Writing Grant. Additionally, two of her collaborative projects —conducted in partnership with Colombian female territorial defenders— have received funding from the Global Fund for Women-Fondo Lunaria grants. Previous research projects have included ethnographic and archival studies that explore how Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in Western Colombia have experienced and navigated political violence, land dispossession, forced displacement, various forms of territorial conflicts, and demands for human rights.

Her current research project, “Defending Territory, Water, and Life: Unsettling Mining Frontiers in Colombia,” examines the formation of anti-large-scale mining coalitions, emerging political subjectivities, and types of collective action fostered under the umbrella of territorial and water defense. As a long-term ethnographic and historical study focusing on how anti-mining coalitions successfully halted the Colosa large-scale gold mining project in Central Colombia, this project serves as a lens to scrutinize how notions of political participation, space, and environmental justice are continually reconfigured within these struggles.

Environmental Politics, Natural Resources Extraction, Social Movements, Political Anthropology, Law, Feminisms, Latin America.

Selected Academic Publications


Castillo, Ángela and Rubiano, Sebastián. (2019). La minería de oro en la selva: territorios, autonomías locales y conflictos en Amazonía y Pacífico (1975 – 2015). Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes.

Castillo, Angela and Varela, Daniel. (2013). Las Compañías Chocó Pacífico y Tropical Oil Company a comienzos del siglo XX. Retratos en blanco y negro. Bogotá, Colombia: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Book Chapters

Castillo, Angela. (2021). “Antropologías de la extracción y de lo subterráneo en Colombia” in Camargo, Alejandro (Ed.). Antropología y Naturaleza. Bogotá: Asociación Colombiana de Antropología, pp. 15-53.

Jimeno, Myriam; Varela, Daniel, and Castillo, Angela. (2018). “Violence, Emotional Communities, and Political Action in Colombia” in De Marinis, Natalia and Macleod, Morna (Eds.). Resisting Violence. Emotional Communities in Latin America. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 23 – 52.

Selected Scholarship Publications

Castillo, Ángela. (2022) “Counting on Montane Birds: Biologists, Verticality, and Territorial Defense in Colombia,” Platypus, Blog of the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing (AAA), https://blog.castac.org/2022/08/counting-on-montane-birds-biologists-verticality-and-territorial-defense-in-colombia/

Page last updated on January 22, 2024