PhD Seminar

The PhD seminar is a group of PhD candidates at UBC who meet for monthly meetings where they share research. All PhD candidates at UBC are welcome to join. They can do so by writing to the chair of the program, Dr. Benjamin Bryce (, or one of student members.

Participants in the PhD seminar, 2023-24

Peter de Montmollin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography. His research explores the comparative history of water and science in Chile and Canada during the twentieth century. He received his BA from Syracuse University and his MA from UBC.

Daniel P. Gámez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography. His dissertation deals with the making of Indigenous autonomy and self-government in Xochimilco, Mexico City from the seventeenth century to the present. His research interests include critical race theory, anticolonialism, critical ethnic studies, political geography and ethnohistory.

Paolo Sosa-Villagarcia is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science. His dissertation uses a multi-method approach to explore the link between authoritarian legacies and the mainstreaming of the far-right in Andean countries. His research interests include political regimes, electoral politics, social movements, and political ideologies. He is a principal researcher at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP). He was the country coordinator for Peru at the V-Dem Institute and a Fox International Fellow at Yale University (2019-20).

Francisco Eslava is a PhD candidate in Economics at the Vancouver School of Economics. His dissertation studies the long-run determinants of economic development in Latin America, with emphasis on the role that gender relations have in the region. In particular, his research includes work on Colombian conflict studying how female leaderships have helped in de-escalating violence; as well as work on the colonial legacy of the Spanish empire in Mexico, and on the way that Catholic indoctrination shaped modern gender relationships within households in the southern highlands.

Inari Sosa-Aranda is a PhD candidate in Human Geography. Her  dissertation explores the entanglements between environmental protection efforts and racial segregation in Mexico, using  the case study of a small beach town in the Riviera Maya. Her project uses the frameworks of Blanquitud and internal colonialism to understand  how the connection between the production of environmental and racialized subjects plays a significant role in facilitating segregation, dispossession, and extractivism. Inari has a background in biology with Bachelor and M.Sc. degrees in this discipline from the National Autnomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Debbie Pierce is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Forestry. Her research examines the relationships between land markets, land access, deforestation and gender in the Colombian Amazon. She finds inspiration from the fields of feminist political ecology, political geography, and ecological economics. She has a BA from the University of Michigan and an MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Romina Tantaleán-Castañeda is a PhD student in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. Working collaboratively with an Indigenous women’s grassroots federation of the Peruvian Amazon, her dissertation focuses on the Rights of Mother Nature from a strongly pluralist legal paradigm while centering and prioritizing Indigenous women’s leadership, knowledge, voices, and context. Romina is a lawyer from Peru focused on the defense of human rights. Her work has also focused on advocacy and oversight of Indigenous peoples’ rights and giving advice to grassroots and local organizations on a range of issues. She received her MA from UBC.

Patricio Robles is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies. His dissertation examines texts about  nature in the Southern Cone (Patagonia and Pampas). Focusing on the intersection of Affective theory and Ecocritical analysis, Patricio investigates how nature and culture have been perceived in post-Independence travel writing, gauchesca literature, and contemporary novels. He  studied Anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires and Environmental Studies at FLACSO (Latin American Social Sciences Institute).

Pablo Gonzalez Moctezuma is a PhD candidate in Forestry. His dissertation explores how small farms interact and transform their surrounding landscapes. He is producing the first map of smallholder farms in Mexico and, based on that, calculating the types and amounts of food they produce. Parallelly, his work based on an agroforestation public policy called Sembrando Vida explores to what extent a government led restoration initiative meets its goals. He holds a BS in Mathematics from UNAM and a Masters in Rural Development Management from Universidad Autonoma Chapingo.

Sarah Revilla Sánchez is a PhD student in Hispanic Studies. Her dissertation explores how Mexican female writers portray and critique gender-based violence through gothic and horror narrative fiction from the mid 20th century to the present. Some of her other research interests include Testimony, Masculinity Studies, Digital Humanities and Sound Studies.

Daniel Orizaga Doguim is a PhD student in Hispanic Studies. His research focuses on transpacific connections between Europe, America and Asia, particularly with China during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Fabiola del Rincón Fernández is a second-year PhD student in Hispanic Studies. Her doctoral research delves into the intersections between migration, female gender, and decoloniality in the ecofeminist creations of Latin American female authors/artists working from postcolonial contexts.

Joachim Stassart is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Forestry. He is passionate about land conflicts and deforestation in Brazil and is analyzing those issues through a political ecology lens. His research is inspired by his experience at Transparency International Brazil, where he worked on the linkages between corruption, land grabbing and environmental crimes. He holds a M.A. from Sciences Po Paris and a B.A. from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium.

Pamela Zamora Quesada is PhD Candidate in Hispanic Studies. Her doctoral work looks at the ways in which Mexican and Central American fiction from the 20th and 21st centuries challenges the environmental and humanitarian concerns of the neoliberal era. Her work, which lies at the nexus of sound studies, feminist theory, and migration studies, tackles the state’s broken pledges to safeguard its residents and the marginalization of historically underrepresented groups, such as women, migrants, and Indigenous communities.

María Cervantes is a PhD candidate in the Geography Department. Her dissertation focuses on the ways in which immigration policies and education have an impact on the choices of highly skilled migrants throughout their lives, shaping their understandings of citizenship and identity. This project contributes to the study of class and educational achievements in immigration and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the future of work.

Camila Scheidegger Farias is a PhD student in Political Science, researching the political determinants of deforestation enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon. Her research interests lie in the intersection of state-society relations, public policy, and political institutions, particularly in environmental and Indigenous issues.

Lorenia Salgado-Leos is a PhD Candidate in Hispanic Studies. Her doctoral project, “Infrastructures of Mobility,” explores twentieth- and twenty-first-century migration, literature, and culture. With a focus on Haiti, Central America, Mexico, and the United States, she analyzes the (un)structuring of movement and evaluates infrastructures at the U.S.-Mexico border and along migrant routes across the Americas.