My research connects the politics of conservation and development to the production of citizenship, territory and nation in Latin America. My current book project, Living on Scorched Earth, is a study of how people negotiate their identities and land rights through conservation projects in Guatemala’s ‘Maya Forest.’ Prior to my graduate studies, I spent two years working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in ecotourism, women’s rights and municipal development in rural Guatemala.
I am co-organizing two panels at upcoming conferences that I think will be great. In April 2013, Alice B. Kelly and I have put together a double panel session on Nature, Property and Violence at the American Association of Geographers (AAGs) in Los Angeles, with Nancy Peluso and Rod Neumann as discussants. In May 2013, Jennifer Casolo and I are organizing a session entitled Who is a Criminal? Rethinking Rights Claims and Justice in Mesoamerica at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), with Diane M. Nelson as discussant.
Ybarra, M. (2013) You Cannot Measure a Tzuultaq'a: Cultural Politics at the Limits of Liberal Legibility. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 45(3): 584-601.
Ybarra, M. (2012) Taming the Jungle, Saving the Maya Forest: Sedimented counterinsurgency practices in contemporary Guatemalan conservation. Journal of Peasant Studies 39(2): 479-502. Special Issue: Green Grabbing: A new appropriation of nature? guest edited by James Fairhead, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones.
Ybarra, M. (2011) “Privatizing the Tzuultaq’a? Private property and spiritual reproduction in post-war Guatemala.” Journal of Peasant Studies 38(4): 793-810.
-- Reprinted in: Peluso, Nancy L. and Christian Lund (eds). (2012) New Frontiers of Land Control. New York: Routledge. Chapter 8.
Ybarra, M. (2009) “Sostenibilidad Legal y Cultural de Patrimonios Agrarios Colectivos en Comunidades Q’eqchi’s en las Tierras Bajas de Alta Verapaz.” Cobán, A.V., Guatemala: Mercy Corps.
Plenary presentation. "Tierra, Migración y Vida 1999-2009, Resultados Destacados." 2° Simposium Internacional de Investigación Interdisciplinaria; sponsored by Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, División Académica Multidisciplinaria de los Ríos; and the Universidad de San Carlos. Santa Elena, Petén, Guatemala. August 16, 2012.
"Regularización de Tierras y Campesinos sin Tierra en Petén, Guatemala." 2° Simposium Internacional de Investigación Interdisciplinaria; sponsored by Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, División Académica Multidisciplinaria de los Ríos; and the Universidad de San Carlos. Santa Elena, Petén, Guatemala. August 16, 2012.
"Voting for Mano Dura? Remilitarization and Political Activism in Post-War Guatemala." Paper session: Critical Geographies of Counter-Insurgency. Annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), New York, NY; February 27, 2012.
"Private Property as Spiritual Reproduction: Contradictory Consciousness in a Guatemalan Development Pole." Paper session: Indigenous Peoples, Property and Geography. Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Seattle, WA; April 14, 2011.
"Taming the Jungle, Saving the Maya Forest: The Military’s Role in Guatemalan Conservation." Paper session: POLITICS: Conflict and Violence. International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, Land Deal Politics Initiative; Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK; April 6, 2011.