Josh Mayer is an activist researcher focusing on Indigenous and Afro-descendant land rights, settler colonialism, and governance in Latin America. Since 2014, he has conducted ethnographic research in the Rama-Kriol Territory, a vast region of southeastern Nicaragua that is legally owned and governed by nine Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.
Mayer is currently a doctoral candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a visiting researcher with the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Institute at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua. His dissertation project focuses on the effects of communal land titling on social relations, including governance, territoriality, sovereignty, and political economy. Mayer’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Program, the UCLA International Institute, and the UCLA Latin American Institute. He has served as an expert witness before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and in U.S. political asylum hearings.
Mayer was raised in Portage, Michigan (Anishinaabe Aki), on the ancestral lands of the Bodéwadmi, Odawa, and Ojibwe peoples. He received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in political science from Amherst College and a master’s degree in the social sciences from the University of Chicago.