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.
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.
- Ybarra, Megan. 2023. "Indigenous to Where? Homelands and nation (pueblo) in Indigenous Latinx studies." Latino Studies 21:22-41.
- “Making Abolition in Geography” Online Forum, Chavez-Norgaard, S, L Montagne, JE Sayers and M Ybarra* (Guest Editors), Society & Space Magazine. https://www.societyandspace.org/forums/making-abolition-in-geography, published October 31, 2022.
- Ybarra, M (2021) Site Fight! Towards the abolition of immigrant detention on Tacoma’s Tar Pits (and everywhere else). Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 53 (1):36-55.
- Heynen, N and M. Ybarra. (2021) “On Abolition Ecologies and Making Freedom as a Place”, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 53(1): 21 – 35.
- Ybarra, M (2019) 'We are not ignorant': Transnational migrants’ experiences of racialized securitization. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 37: 197-215
- Ybarra, M. (2019) “On becoming a transnational Latinx geographies killjoy.” Society & Space Open Site. http://societyandspace.org/2019/01/23/on-becoming-a-latinx-geographies-killjoy/, published January 23, 2019.
- Lunstrum, E and Ybarra, M (2018) Deploying Difference: Security threat narratives and state displacement from protected aresas. Conservation and Society 16: 114-124
- Ybarra, M.and L. McKinley. (2017) "Hunger Strikes: A Call to End Immigrant Detention." Tacoma, WA: Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDCR). Debuted July 23, 2017 at Northwest Film Forum. Available for viewing at: www.hungerstrikershandbook.org
- Ybarra, M (2017) Green Wars: Conservation and decolonization in the Maya Forest. Oakland, CA: University of California Press
- Ybarra, M and Peña, IL (2017) “We Don’t Need Money, We Need to be Together:” Forced transnationality in deportation’s afterlives. Geopolitics (22):34-50.
- Ybarra, Megan. ""You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a": Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility.(Report)." Antipode 45 (2013): 584.
- Ybarra, Megan. "Taming the jungle, saving the Maya Forest: sedimented counterinsurgency practices in contemporary Guatemalan conservation."Journal of Peasant Studies 39, no. 2 (2012): 479-502.
- Ybarra, M, Obando Samos, O, Grandia, L and Schwartz, NB (2012) Tierra, Migración y Vida en Petén, 1999-2009. Guatemala City: CONGCOOP-IDEAR Download PDF (1.16 MB)
- Ybarra, Megan. "Slashed and Burned: The Debate Over Privatization of Q'eqchi' Lands in Northern Guatemala." Society & Natural Resources 24, no. 10 (2011): 1027-041.
- Ybarra, Megan. "Privatizing the Tzuultaq'a? Private property and spiritual reproduction in post-war Guatemala." Journal of Peasant Studies 38, no. 4 (2011): 793-810.
- Four "Remarkable" Dean's Medalists - July 9, 2020
- 2020 Awards, Honors and Achievements - June 16, 2020
- You Thought You Were an Environmentalist: Geography Students Broadcast Environmental Justice Themes through Podcasting - April 6, 2020
- M.A. Student Amelia Schwartz Receives Award from UW Center for Human Rights for Work on Indigenous Water Rights - May 16, 2019
- Professor Megan Ybarra's Green Wars Wins Award at the 2019 American Association of Geographers Conference - April 8, 2019
- Professor Megan Ybarra Creates Documentary Short - September 29, 2017
- Two Geography faculty receive Royalty Research Fund Grants - April 5, 2017
- Geography hosts "Beyond the Incarceration State" panel - March 30, 2017
- Statewide Beyond HB 1079 features Prof. Ybarra as keynote speaker - November 9, 2015
- Understanding environmental justice in the Maya Forest - June 29, 2015
- From the Chair, Summer 2015 - June 29, 2015
- Welcome to Our New Faculty Member, Dr. Megan Ybarra! - May 1, 2014