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Desirée Poets

Desirée Poets, Assistant Professor

Desirée Poets
Desirée Poets, Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science
531 Major Williams Hall
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-6571 |


Desirée Poets, an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech, is currently working on her book manuscript, which stems from her collaborations with two urban indigenous movements, two black maroons (quilombo), and one favela community in in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte in Brazil. The book argues that contemporary Brazil counts as a settler colony in a dependent position in the capitalist world-system and centers the myriad of ways that these movements and communities have refused to be over-determined by dependent settler capitalism. The book reframes common themes in Brazilian, Latin American, and Black and Indigenous Studies, and makes contributions to Settler Colonial Theory by showing how Brazil challenges many of its underlying assumptions.  

Dr. Poets has more recently also started to build collaborations with community favela museums and collective memory projects in Rio de Janeiro, through which she examines the role of the arts and memory in upholding and challenging the affective-discursive foundations of militarization in settler colonial contexts such as Brazil. 

  • Postcolonial and Settler Colonial Studies
  • Feminism and Gender
  • Carcerality and Abolitionism
  • Social/New Museology
  • Collaborative and Critical Methods
  • PhD in International Politics, Aberystwyth University
  • MScEcon in Postcolonial Politics, Aberystwyth University
  • BScEcon in International Politics with Economics, Aberystwyth University
  • 2019-2020 El Centro Faculty Fellow
  • Editor Collaborator for Catalytic Communities (CatComm) NGO’s Rio On Watch
  • Member of the Abolition Journal’s publication collective/editorial board
  • 2018 Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) Events Grant to organize the conference ‘Indigenous Urbanization in Latin America’ (Sheffield, March 2019). Co-organizers: Philipp Horn and Aiko Ikemura Amaral.
  • 2015 Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Harold Blakemore Prize for Best Postgraduate Essay. 
  • 2013-2016 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) PhD +3 Studentship.

Journal Articles

  • “The Elimination and Assimilation of Black and Indigenous Peoples in Brazil,” Settler Colonial Studies (Forthcoming).
  • “Curating Against Militarisation: The Politics of Life in Rio de Janeiro’s Museu da Maré,” Critical Military Studies (Forthcoming).
  • “This is Not a Favela: Rio de Janeiro’s Urban Quilombo Sacopã and the Limits of Multiculturalism,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 36, no. 4 (2017): 409-423. DOI: 10.1111/blar.12561.
  • “The Securitization of Citizenship in a ‘Segregated City’: A Reflection on Rio’s Pacifying Police Units,” URBE - Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana 7, no. 2 (2015): 182-194. DOI: 10.1590/2175-3369.007.002.SE03 ISSN 2175-3369

Book Chapters

  • “Failing in the Reflexive and Collaborative Turns: Empire, Colonialism, Gender and the Impossibilities of North-South collaborations” in Katarina Kusic and Jakub Zahora, eds., Fieldwork as Failure: International Relations Knowledge in/from the Field. (Bristol: E-International Relations, Forthcoming).
  • “Race, Ethnicity and the State: Contemporary Quilombos in Brazil’s Settler Colonial Present” in Robbie Shilliam and Olivia Rutazibwa, eds., Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Politics. (London: Routledge, 2018).
  • Mentoring Program for New Faculty Members Award (1500 USD), Virginia Tech. Mentor: Prof Richa Nagar, University of Minnesota.
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences International Travel Support (1000 USD), Virginia Tech, for fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in July/August 2019. 
  • Economic and Society Research Council (ESRC) Overseas Fieldwork Grant (2014-2016).

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