Josh Mayer is a researcher who uses community-collaborative, ethnographic methods to study the relationships between settler colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, and Afro-Indigenous territorial governance in Latin America. Since 2014, he has conducted research alongside the Indigenous Rama and Black Kriol peoples of southeastern Nicaragua. As a fellow, Mayer supports the Oakland Institute’s research and advocacy work in Nicaragua.
In addition to this work with the Oakland Institute, Mayer is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut. His current book project examines joint Indigenous and Black diasporic territory-building efforts amid settler colonial extraction and dispossession in Nicaragua. Mayer is also carrying out a new ethnographic project about the role of human rights and corporate social responsibility actors in the ongoing theft of Indigenous and Afrodescendant lands in Nicaragua.
Mayer earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, a master’s degree in the social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Program. Mayer was raised in Portage, Michigan, on the ancestral lands of the Bodéwadmi, Odawa, and Ojibwe peoples.