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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Penelope Anthias

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41901
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 505

Contact Dr Penelope Anthias (email at


My research interrogates the relationship between race, property and resource extraction, combining perspectives from postcolonialism, critical race theory, political ecology and legal geography with long-term ethnographic research in Bolivia's Chaco region. My specific interests include:

  • how racialised regimes of ownership and resource distribution are produced and sustained
  • the possibilities and limits of a "politics of recognition" for indigenous peoples and other subaltern groups
  • indigenous "countermapping" and land titling processes
  • how multicultural rights regimes intersect with geographies of resource extraction
  • race, property and resource extraction in Latin America's "new left" states

My doctoral research examined the dynamics and legacies of Native Community Lands (TCOs), a form of collective indigenous property created under Bolivia's 1996 INRA Law. This culminated in a book, Limits to Decolonization (2018), which traces how the limits of recognition in TCOs are shaping the emergence of new forms of "hydrocarbon citizenship" under Bolivia's Movement Towards Socialism government. My subsequent research has examined the broader remapping of territory and power in the Bolivia Chaco at the intersection of struggles over gas rents and competing visions of a "plurinational" state.

Alongside my 0.5 position at Durham, I am a member of two collaborative research projects at the University of Copenhagen: Rule and Rupture, and Leaks: Resource Enclaves and Unintended Flows in Latin America. I am a Collaborator in the Canada-based project Territory Making as World Making, which compares indigenous-state conflicts in Bolivia and Paraguay.

Before joining Durham Geography in 2018, I held postdoctoral positions at the University of Copenhagen (2014-16) and the University of California, Berkeley (2014-16). I completed my PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge in 2014. My previous degrees are in History and English (BA) and International Relations (MA). Before becoming an academic, my previous jobs included managing a website on international development, researching migration in Bangladesh, teaching English in Ecuador and selling bread on East London markets.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Chapter in book

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