Megan Ybarra is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. She is interested in radical placemaking, abolition geographies and environmental justice across Abiayala (also known as the Américas). Her research has included archival research of community records and planning documents, surveys, participant observation and institutional ethnographies to explore the workings of power relations and promise of liberation. She advises graduate students in the MA/PhD program who are researching abolition, migration, environmental justice and/or Latinx geographies. (Note: she is not recruiting students for the cohort beginning Autumn 2023.)
After living in Guatemala for two years, Ybarra conducted fieldwork over a decade in rural Guatemala and Mexico. She co-authored Tierra, Migración y Vida (2012), bringing together a replication survey of land use and attitudes with ethnography to offer insights for policymakers on land titling, migration, and conservation in Péten, Guatemala. In 2017, she published an ethnography, Green Wars, on conservation, settler colonialism and Indigenous Q’eqchi’ land defense in Guatemala. The Spanish translation was published in 2020 by AVANCSO with a new prologue by Gladys Tzul Tzul and epilogue by Jennifer J. Casolo. The book is available open-access through the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO). With Lorena Muñoz, she co-edited a forum on Latinx Geographies for Society & Space Magazine (2019). With Nik Heynen, she co-edited a special issue on Abolition Ecologies for Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (2021). She is passionate about collaborating in multiple languages and modes of knowledge production, including art, documentaries and zines.
Professor Ybarra taught and advised undergraduate students in the Politics Department at Willamette University for four years before moving to UW.