George Ygarza

Graduate Student
PhD Cohort 2016


Critical Ontologies, Decoloniality, Alter-Politics, Indigeneity, Southern Epistemologies


B.A. in Political Science - Rutgers University (2007 - 2012)

M.A. in International Affairs - City University of New York - Brooklyn College (2014 - 2016)

Ph.D. Candidate - expected date of graduation: June 2022 


Being a multi-ethnic, first-gen, son of immigrants to the US, George has embodied the global in many ways. Throughout his life, George has traversed several scales of politics in his work as an activist and growing scholar. George has taken part in or organized with several social movements since high school around the New York metro area, connecting with scholars and activists across the globe. From OCCUPY to #BlackLivesMatter and immigrant rights, his work on the ground has influenced his global perspective and vice versa. The solidarity networks George has built over the years has taken him abroad to participate at international gatherings and take part in social movement delegations. Most notably, George took part in the World Social Forum in Montreal and was part of the Alliance for Global Justice delegation with Dr. Jill Stein at the People’s Climate summit in Lima, Peru, where he conducted “undisciplined” research on extractivist mining in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes. Taking pedagogy seriously, George's scholarly research and social activism come to bear in his teaching, serving as a facilitator for deeply engaged and relational praxis of teaching.


Currently, George’s dissertation research investigates contemporary anti-mining resistance in Espinar, Peru, within the ontological turn in the social sciences, most recently taken up by decolonial studies by recognizing that difference extends far beyond superficial elements of culture towards new ways of being. This work explores how residents in this southern Peruvian rural mining town develop oppositional political identities based on Andean cosmovisions—historical indigenous relationalities predicated upon human and non-human filiations—to confront extractivist copper mining operations in the nearby mines of Antapaccay and Coroccohuayco. George draws upon interdisciplinary and transdisciplinanry methods for “controlling equivocation,” which Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro defines as the mitigation of distinct ways of knowing born of indigenous-centered paradigms outside of nation-state models. George makes the central claim that the politics of refusal against mining in Espinar emerge from an Andean indigenous understanding of historical ontological difference, which also is connected to critical global undercurrents of indigenous resurgence. These politics of being ultimately reconfigure contemporary models of indigeneity in the region as always already antithetical, but in empowering ways indigenous people determine.

George's broader research is situated at the confluence of critical frameworks and hemispheric hermeneutics in Black and Native studies, which explore the complexities and nuances of indigeneity and blackness to achieve a much-needed dialogue across historically interrelated ontologies. George is interested in questions of epistemic formations, the imposition of state processes, and critical praxis, particularly as these are focused around the problematic of colonization and state violence.


Selected Conferences and Special Seminars:

  • PhD Seminar Series in International Political Sociology: London, U.K. 2020-2021. Paper accepted. Refereed.
  • Decolonizing Knowledge and Power: Postcolonial Studies, Decolonial Horizons. A summer school in Barcelona, Spain, July 8-July 12, 2019. Accepted.
  • Global Studies Association North America 2017 Conference: UC Berkeley, June 14th - 17th 2017, presented working paper.
  • Global Crises and Global Change: Westminster College, March 30th - April 1st 2017, invited to give keynote.
  • World Social Forum: Montreal, August 9th - 14th 2016, presented.
  • Latin American Studies Association: New York City, May 27th - 30th 2016, attended
  • Left Forum 2016: John Jay College New York, May 20th - 22nd, presented.


Journal Publications:

Ygarza, George. "Book Review: Tiffany Lethabo King, The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies." AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, July 2020, doi:10.1177/1177180120941600.

Binetti, Matt and George Ygarza. "The Receding Pink Tide: the Evolution of State and Social Relations in Latin America." , 29 Mar. 2016.


University Teaching Experience:

Teaching Assistant, 2017-2021: Departments of Global Studies, Black Studies, Asian American Studies, and History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Visiting Assistant Professor, Fall 2019:  Department of International and Interdisciplinary Studies, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA.  Course: "Resistance to Monoculture."