Desirée Poets

Mauro J. Caraccioli

Desirée Poets

Assistant Professor


510 Major Williams Hall
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061




Department Membership

Political Science


  • Postcolonial Politics/Theory
  • Latin American Studies/Politics
  • Indigenous and Black Politics/Thinking
  • International Relations
  • Critical and Collaborative Research Methods 

Professional Activities

  • Catalytic Communities (CatComm, NGO), Rio On Watch, Editor Collaborator


  • PhD, International Politics, Aberystwyth University
  • MScEcon, Postcolonial Politics, Aberystwyth University
  • BScEcon, International Politics with Economics, Aberystwyth University

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    • 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.

    Selected Publications

    Edited Books

    • Poets, Desirée. “Race, Ethnicity and the State: Contemporary Quilombos in Brazil’s Settler Colonial Present,” Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Politics, edited by Robbie Shilliam and Olivia Rutazibwa, Routledge, 2018.


    • Poets, Desirée.“This is Not a Favela: Rio de Janeiro’s Urban Quilombo Sacopã and the Limits of Multiculturalism,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, vol. 36, no. 4, 2017, pp. 409-423. DOI: 10.1111/blar.12561. 2017.
    • Poets, Desirée.“The Securitization of Citizenship in a ‘Segregated City’: A Reflection on Rio’s Pacifying Police Units,” URBE - Revista Brasileira de Gestão Urbana, vol. 7, no. 2, 2015, pp. 182-194. DOI: 10.1590/2175-3369.007.002.SE03 ISSN 2175-3369

    Sponsored Research 

    • Caroline Adams Travel Bursary, Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University (summer 2015).
    • Economic and Society Research Council (ESRC) Overseas Fieldwork Grant (2014-16).

    Additional Information

    Dr. Poets is currently working on her book manuscript, which explores the politics of recognition of two urban indigenous and two black maroon (quilombo) groups in Brazil, more specifically in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte. The book demonstrates how multicultural policy and official recognition are complicit with settler colonialism, and explores the myriad of ways that the four groups have creatively negotiated settler colonialism to survive and thrive in Brazil. Simultaneously, the book makes a theoretical contribution to Settler Colonial Theory by showing how Brazil’s history of miscegenation and black and indigenous relations challenge its underlying assumptions.  

    Dr. Poets is also starting to work on her new project, which extends the framework of settler colonialism to favelasin Rio de Janeiro and explores the tensions between settler colonial governmentality and sovereignty, and community solutions to issues of human security.