Associate Professor, UC Davis since 2012.
B.A. summa cum laude, Yale University, 1996
Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
Postdoc in the Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University, 2006-07
- Announcement: Toxic Trespass
- Motivation: Fighting Cancer Among the Q’eqchi’
- Inspiration: A Clean Start and the Scent of Clean
• LA Times, January 17, 2019, "Guatemala's democracy is under assault. Again."
• Globe Post, January 14, 2019, "As Guatemala's coup unfolds, US must act to prevent humanitarian crisis."
UC Davis affiliations:
- Director of the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas (IRCA)
- Associate director of the Native American Language Center (NALC)
- Affiliated with Community and Regional Development (CRD), International Agricultural Development (IAD), Hemispheric Institute of the Americas (HIA), and Human Rights Studies (link)
Q'eqchi' Maya; Belize & Guatemala; peasants, and agrarian change; corporate trade and globalization; foreign aid and empire; biodiversity conservation; political ecology and environmental justice; the politics of cancer; and theories of the commons.
- Office: 2419 Hart Hall, please be fragrance free when you visit
- Tel: 530-752-0357, Fax: 530-752-7097
- Email: emgrandia at ucdavis.edu
- Skype: lizagrandia
- Office hours: Fall Quarter 2019, variable times.... sign up here.
Courses Taught (with syllabi and Facebook groups)
- NAS 001, Introduction to Native American Studies syllabus and student group
- NAS 133b, Ethnohistory of Native People of Mexico and Central America syllabus and student group
- NAS 121, Corporate Colonialism syllabus and student group
- NAS 123, Native Foods and Farming of the Americas 2019 syllabus and student group
- NAS 212, Community Development for Sovereignty and Autonomy syllabus
- NAS 220, Colonialism, Neoliberalism, and Indigenous Self-Determination (syllabus) and student group
- First Year Seminar: Toxics in Everyday Life: Green Schools. student group
Books and films:
Grandia’s first two books concern the agrarian struggles of the Q'eqchi' Maya, Guatemala's second largest indigenous group.
Tz'aptz'ooqeb' (published in Spanish in 2009 by one of Guatemala's leading social science research institutions, AVANCSO) explores the recurring dispossession of the Q'eqchi' people over the past five centuries by the Church, coffee, cattle, conservation, charity, and corporate trade.
- Enclosed: Conservation, Cattle and Commerce among the Q’eqchi’ Maya Lowlanders (2012, University of Washington Press) examines in more detail how and why this indigenous group has been driven into conflict with biodiversity conservationists as a result of neoliberal trade and infrastructure projects financed by international development banks across the region.
A film derived from these, "Territory: The Path to our Roots" ("Li Qana'aj: Li B'e Re Xtawb'al li Qaxe"), documents how Q'eqchi' smallholders are losing their parcels to African palm plantations and cattle ranchers in the wake of land administration projects.
Always sharing research back with Q'eqchi' villages, her booklet "And Where To Work?" in Spanish and Q'eqchi', co-authored with community organizers, helped mobilize 159 Q'eqchi' villages in the ACDIP peasant federation into new strategies for territorial defense.
Liza Grandia has collaborated with ProPetén in Petén, Guatemala since 1993 in the areas of reproductive health, organic agriculture, ethnobotany, gender equity, environmental justice, and agrarian reform and since over the last decade with ACDIP, the Indigenous Peasant Association for Integrated Development of Petén
Across the border in Belize, Dr. Grandia accompanied Maya communities as an expert witness in two constitutional land cases in 2007 and 2010 that resulted in historic rulings in favor of the Q'eqchi' and Mopán Maya plaintiffs. To encourage such collaborative activism between academics and indigenous communities, Dr. Grandia coordinates the Q'eqchi' Scholars Network. Anyone interested in joining this listserv should contact her by email.
Through the Indigenous Research Center of the Americas, she worked with cartographer and graduate students to develop a collaborative map of the historical context of the Dakota Access Pipeline: DOWNLOAD THE STANDING ROCK MAP IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT or Share on social media.
In her local civic life, she founded and coordinates the Woodland Coalition for Green Schools.
Major Reports / Monographs:
2012. G. Grünberg, L. Grandia & B. Milian. "Tierra e Igualdad en Petén, Guatemala." Report to the World Bank and Government of Guatemala, 156 pp.
- 2012. (w. M. Ybarra [lead author], O. Obando, and N. B. Schwartz). Tierra, Migración y Vida en Petén, 1999-2009. Guatemala City: CONGCOOP/IDEAR (Coalition of NGO and Cooperatives in Guatemala / Institute of Agrarian and Rural Studies). 106 pages.
- 2001. (lead author with N. Schwartz, A. Corzo, O. Obando and L. Ochoa). Salud, Migración y Recursos Naturales en Petén: Resultados del Módulo Ambiental en la Encuesta de Salud Materno Infantil 1999. Instituto Nacional de Estadística, USAID y Measure/DHS. Guatemala. 176 pp.
- Sarstoon Temash film and monograph series (" Wealth Report," "Stories of the Sarstoon Temash," and "From the Q'eqchi' Kitchen").
Articles and chapters
- 2019. “Toxic Tropics: Purity and Danger Everywhere in Everyday Life.” Journal of Ecological Anthropology 21(1): 1-10.
- 2018. “Trickster Ecology: Climate Change and Conservation Pluralism in Guatemala’s Maya Lowlands" In Churches and Cosmologies: Religion, Environment and Social Conflict in Contemporary Latin America. Eds. Evan Berry and Robert Albro. Routledge, New York, pp. 145-172.
- 2018. “Los Restos: Renacimiento y Resiliencia del Pueblo Q’eqchi’ en Petén.” Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Revista Centroamericana de Investigación y Postgrado, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala 5(1): 31-43.
- 2018 (with J. Hawkins). “Norman B. Schwartz: Antropólogo y Hombre de Maíz (Brooklyn, Nueva York, 1932 - Newark, Delaware, 2018).” Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Revista Centroamericana de Investigación y Postgrado, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala 5(1): 151-54.
- 2017. "Ecocide in the Americas: Continuities and Connections." Brújula 1:1-25.
- 2017. "Sacred Maize against a Legal Maze: The Diversity of Resistance to Guatemala's 'Monsanto Law'.” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture 11(1): 56-85.
- 2015. "Slow Ethnography: A Hut With a View." Critique of Anthropology, 35(3): 301-17.
- 2014. “Modified Landscapes: Vulnerabilities to Genetically Modified Corn in the Political Economy of Basic Grain Production in Northern Guatemala.” Journal of Peasant Studies, 41(1): 79-105.
- 2013. “Road Mapping: Megaprojects and Land Grabs in the Northern Guatemalan Lowlands” for a special volume on “Governing the Global Land Grab,” eds. W. Wolford, S.M. Borras, Jr., R.Hall, I. Scoones, and B. White, Development and Change 44(2): 233-59.
- 2012. "Imagining a New Wildlife Politics: Conservation Contrarians and Corporate Elephants in the Room." A Review Essay of Rosaleen Duffy’s Nature Crime: How We Are Getting Nature Wrong. Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy 15(1): 95-114.
- 2010. "Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans (2008) by David Stoll." Delaware Review of Latin American Studies 11(1):http://www.udel.edu/LAS/Vol11-1Grandia.html
- 2009. "Silent Spring in the Land of Eternal Spring: The Germination of a Conservation Conflict." Current Conservation 3(3): 10-13.
- 2009. "Milpa Matters: Maya Communities of Toledo v. Government of Belize" in Waging War, Making Peace: Reparations and Human Rights, eds. Barbara Rose Johnston and Susan Slyomovics. Walnut Creek, Ca.: Left Coast Press. 153-182.
- 2009. "Raw Hides: Hegemony and Cattle in Guatemala’s Northern Lowlands" in a special edited volume, "Land, Labor, Livestock and (Neo)Liberalism: Historical and Contemporary Transformations in Pastoralism and Ranching," ed. Nathan Sayre. Geoforum 40: 720-31.
- 2007. "Between Bolivar and Bureaucracy: Biodiversity Conservation and the Lost Potential of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor" in a special edited volume, "Engaging Neoliberal Conservation," eds. Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington, Conservation and Society 5(2): 478-503.