Léo Heller is a Brazilian researcher at the René Rachou Institute – Fiocruz Minas, a regional unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a scientific institution for research and development in the biological sciences. He is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. Known for his activism in social movements relating to water and sanitation as human rights issues, he also has extensive experience in policymaking, teaching, and research in environmental policy and management, as well as environmental health related to water and sanitation.
Mabel Moraña (b. Montevideo, Uruguay) holds the William H. Gass Chair of Humanities at Washington University in Saint Louis, where she teaches courses on a wide variety of topics, from colonial studies to the present, focusing on the baroque, nationality, and modernity. She is a specialist in cultural criticism and theory, contemporary Latin American narrative, postcolonial studies, intellectual history, gender and violence, among others topics.
Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres, of Honduras, is a social activist and the director of Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). In this role, she advocates for social, cultural, and environmental rights and protections for Lenca Indigenous people in the face of megaprojects that threaten to destabilize and harm them. She is the daughter of activist Bertha Cáceres, who was assassinated in 2016.
Lorenzo Álvarez-Filip is a marine ecologist and researcher at the Reef Systems Unit of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Broadly, he is interested in ecology, including marine biodiversity, global change biology, and conservation ecology. His research is primarily based in the Caribbean, but also is interested in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and the Indian Ocean. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University (Canada), and has worked in the Mexican Agency for Protected Areas and served as a Science Coordinator for the Healthy Reefs Initiative.
Ras Michael Brown is associate professor in the Department of History at Georgia State University. His research and teaching interests engage the long historical development of religions and cultures in the African Diaspora with special emphasis on the dispersal of Kongo/Bantu people and cultures throughout the Atlantic World. His book African-Atlantic Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry (2012) was honored by the Journal of Africana Religions as the inaugural recipient of the “Albert J. Raboteau Book Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions” in 2013. His current book project, provisionally titled “Black Hunters and Spiritual Violence in African/Atlantic Cultures,” traces the spread and transformations of Black hunting cultures as both practical and spiritual sources of power in West and West Central Africa and the Americas.
Clark Erickson is professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on Indigenous knowledge, cultural landscape creation and management, biodiversity, sustainable lifeways, and environmental management. His Andean and Amazonian research applies the perspectives of landscape archaeology and historical ecology to understand the long, complex human history of the environment and cultural activities that have shaped the Earth.
Scherezade García is a painter, printmaker, and installation artist whose work often explores allegories of history, migration, collective and ancestral memory, and cultural colonization and politics. A co-founder of the Dominican York Proyecto GRÁFICA, she has been featured in solo and duo exhibitions at the Art Museum of the Americas, Clifford Art Gallery at Colgate University, Miller Theater at Columbia University, Lehman College Art Gallery, Crossroads Gallery at the University of Notre Dame, Museo de Arte de Santo Domingo and others. She is assistant professor of studio art in the UT Department of Art and Art History.
Maria-Elena Giner is the United States Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico. The second woman and first Latina to hold the post, Giner previously served as general manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), an institution that developed environmental infrastructure along the U.S.–Mexico border in association with the North American Development Bank. During her tenure at the BECC, she focused on policies that addressed U.S.–Mexico cooperation on water, energy, and climate change. She holds a doctorate in Public Policy from The University of Texas at Austin.
Sarah Hines is an assistant professor of Latin American history at the University of Oklahoma. She previously taught at Smith College and the University of Maine at Machias. Her research explores human-nature relationships and social struggle over territory and natural resources in modern Latin America. Her first book, Water for All: Community, Property, and Revolution in Modern Bolivia, was published by the University of California Press in 2022. A related article, “The Power and Ethics of Vernacular Modernism: The Misicuni Dam Project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, 1944-2016,” appeared in the Hispanic American Historical Review in May 2018. She is currently researching and writing a new book on the history of glaciers in the Bolivian Andes tentatively titled, “Mother of the Waters: The Life and Death of the Glaciers of Bolivia’s Cordillera Real.”
Marixa Lasso, a historian, is author of the books Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism during the Age of Revolution (2007) and Erased: The Untold Story of the Panama Canal (2019), which received the Friedrich Katz Prize of the American Historical Association for the best book in Latin American and Caribbean History and the William M. LeoGrande award for the best book on U.S.-Latin American relations during 2018-19. Her opinion pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, El Espectador, La Prensa y la Estrella de Panamá. Her work has also been published in American Historical Review, Environmental History and Citizenship Studies, among other journals. She is currently director of the Center for the study of History, Anthropology and Culture (CIHAC AIP), affiliated with Panama’s Ministry of Culture.
Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach is professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at The University of Texas at Austin, where she holds the Raymond Dickson Centennial Professorship of Liberal Arts, and is co-director of the Beach/Butzer Geoarchaeology Labs. She is also a LLILAS faculty associate, a founding member of the Maya Studies Cluster, and on the Leadership Team of Planet Texas 2050. Her research specializes in hydrology and geoarchaeology of the Maya World. She is a fellow and a past president of the American Association of Geographers, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Bryan Mark is a professor in the Department of Geography at The Ohio State University, and also PI at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. He directs the Glacier Environmental Change research group comprising graduate students and staff in internationally collaborative and student-centered research funded by NSF, NASA, National Geographic, Fulbright, the Western National Parks Association, and other sources. His research focuses on climate change and water in different landscapes, specializing in low-latitude mountain glacier environments, and particularly the tropical Andes. He helped establish and serves within the State Climate Office of Ohio.
Alida C. Metcalf is Harris Masterson, Jr., Professor of History at Rice University in Houston. She is the author of Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil (1992; 2005), Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil (2005), Mapping an Atlantic World circa 1500 (2020), and, with Eve M. Duffy, The Return of Hans Staden: A Go-between in the Atlantic World (2012). With Farès el-Dahdah she developed the digital humanities project imagineRio, which maps and illustrates the social and urban evolution of Rio de Janeiro from 1500 to the present. She is currently writing a history of water in Rio de Janeiro.
Santiago Muñoz Arbeláez is Assistant Professor of History at UT Austin. His research and teaching focus on the interactions between Indigenous peoples and European empires in the early modern Atlantic world, combining material culture, agrarian history, and the history of books and maps. His book Costumbres en disputa. Los muiscas y el imperio español en Ubaque, siglo XVI (Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes, 2015) reframed the history of the encomienda—one of the most contentious institutions of the Spanish empire—through an ethnographic look at everyday interactions between Muiscas and Europeans.
Luz Mely Reyes is an investigative journalist who has covered politics in her native Venezuela since 1992. In 2015, she cofounded the independent media site Efecto Cocuyo, of which she is director. Efecto Cocuyo won the 2019 Human Rights Award from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) for its coverage of crises in Venezuela.
Rosario Sánchez is a senior research scientist at Texas Water Resources Institute and associate graduate faculty of the Water Management and Hydrological Sciences Program, both at Texas A&M University. She is co-chair of the Transboundary Aquifers Commission of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, and founder and director of the Permanent Forum of Binational Waters. She is also the PI of the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act Program (TAAP) for the State of Texas, founder of the Transboundary Water Portal, and leader of the transboundary groundwater research team. She published the first complete map of transboundary aquifers between Mexico and the United States in 2021 and coined the term transboundariness, that defines the strategic value of an aquifer that happens to be located at the border between two or more countries.
Omise’eke Tinsley is professor of Black Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on queer and feminist, Caribbean and African American performance and literature. She recently completed a manuscript titled “The Color Pynk: Black Femme-inist Love and Criticism,” which explores black femme aesthetics of resistance in the Trump era. Earlier monographs include Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism (2018); Ezili’s Mirrors: Black Queer Genders and the Work of the Imagination (2018), winner of the 2019 Barbara Christian Prize in Caribbean Studies; and Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism Between Women in Caribbean Literature (2010). Her articles have appeared in GLQ, Feminist Studies, Yale French Studies, and Small Axe and is a contributor to Time, Ebony, The Advocate, and Huffington Post.
Charles Wight is finishing his PhD in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on understanding how water-sharing mechanisms can maximize benefits to both the environment and people. His work draws on synergies across the disciplines of hydrology, governance, and economics. Prior to his role at Oxford, he was the lead freshwater scientist for the Global Water markets team at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Wight holds a master’s degree from UT Austin (LLILAS), where he developed an environmental vulnerability index to assess dam impacts in the Amazon basin. As a consultant, he has worked for USAID, International Rivers, InfoAmazonia, and The Strauss Center for International Security and Law. His work has been published in Nature, World Development, and Environmental Research Letters.
Cindia Arango López, PhD Student, LLILAS. Research interests: Environmental history; human geography; identity and race; slavery studies; transatlantic history; environment; and territorial studies.
Luciana Barreto-Lemos, PhD Student, LLILAS. Research interests: Water planning, water governance, social equity and community engagement.
Simon Brandl, Assistant Professor, UT Austin Dept. of Marine Science; Principal Investigator at Brandl Lab, UT Austin Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas. Research interests: Ecology, evolution, functional role of fishes.
Khytie Brown, Assistant Professor, UT Dept. of Religious Studies. Research interests: African Diaspora religions, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, Caribbean religions, religions in the Americas.
Luis Cárcamo-Huechante, Professor, UT Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese; Director, Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. Research interests: Sound studies, radio, and media ecologies; colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy; decolonizing methodologies; Indigenous aesthetics and politics; Native territories and diasporas; the Mapuche movement and Abiayala. Race, gender & sexuality.
William E. Doolittle, Emeritus Professor, UT Dept. of Geography & the Environment. Research interests: Agricultural landscapes, arid lands, Mexico and the American Southwest.
David Eaton, Professor of Natural Resource Policy Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs. Research interests: Sustainable development in international river basins, evaluation of energy and water conservation programs and prevention of pollution.
Nadia Issa, MTS, PhD Student, Department of Religious Studies. Research interests: Spiritual reparations, Regla de Ocha-Ifá (Lukumí), Candomblé, Umbanda, Africana Studies, anthropology, ethnography, autoethnography, Afrikan-derived dance and music traditions, sacred materialities.
Pablo Millalen, PhD Candidate, LLILAS. Research interests: State policies and Indigenous peoples; the Chilean state and the Mapuche people; Indigenous politics; neoliberalism, multiculturalism, and public policies; indigenous rights, human rights, and international relations.
William Pratt, PhD Student, Dept. of Geography & the Environment. Research interests: Geoarchaeology, paleoecology, paleoclimate, phytoliths, volcanism, human–volcano interactions, agroecology, resilience, sustainability, paleoecological resource management.
Adela Pineda Franco, Director, Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS); Professor, Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese. Research interests:
Megan Raby, Associate Professor, UT Dept. of History. Research interests: History of science, environmental history, US and Caribbean, 19th and 20th centuries.
Carlos Ramos–Scharrón, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography & the Environment, LLILAS. Research interests: Hydro-geomorphology; terrestrial carbon and sediment budgets; watershed analyses; land-use change.
Yenibel Ruiz Mirabal, PhD Student, UT Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese. Research interests: Venezuela; Venezuelan migrants, especially women; cultural studies; journalism; gender studies; race.
Lara Sánchez Morales, National Science Foundation Research Fellow, UT Dept. of Anthropology. Research interests: Geoarchaeology; human-environment interactions; landscape management; agriculture in the pre-Columbian Caribbean; adaptations to climate change and human induced landscape changes; Puerto Rican (pre)history; sustainability and resilience in the Neo-tropics.
Miriam Solis, Assistant Professor, UT School of Architecture. Research interests: Environmental and climate justice, urban infrastructure, workforce development, environmental education, participatory research.
Kenneth Young, Professor, UT Dept. of Geography & the Environment. Research interests: Biogeography; landscape ecology; climate change; sustainability; tropical environments.
Carlos Ramos-Scharrón, conference organizer, is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include hydro-geomorphology; terrestrial carbon and sediment budgets; watershed analyses; and land use change. His recent work, published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, has examined the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes, landslides, and floods in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Paloma Díaz-Lobos, conference coordinator, is Associate Director of Programs and Faculty Liaison for LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections. She has extensive experience developing and coordinating international conferences throughout the Americas and working in coordination with higher education institutions as well as government institutions and nonprofit organizations. A native of Chile, she holds an MA in International Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. Paloma currently manages social media for an array of Latin American Studies organizations, including LASA.