Brown Arts

Macarena Gómez-Barris

Timothy C. Forbes and Anne S. Harrison University Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Chair of Modern Culture and Media


Macarena Gómez-Barris is an interdisciplinary scholar, speaker, and author of four books and dozens of essays and interviews on environmental media, decolonial theory and praxis, queer femme and creative and embodied research methods and what she deems as “antidotes to the colonial Anthropocene.” 

Her work addresses artful living and survivance in spaces of social and ecological suffering and include her book The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives. In it, she theorizes decolonization in relation to five extractive scenes of ruinous capitalism upon Indigenous territories (Duke University Press, 2017). She is also author of Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (UC Press, August 2018) that thinks from submerged perspectives and art-making, social movements, and creative intellectual labor to imagine worlds anew. Her first book Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (UC Press, 2009) traces fascism, the rise of neoliberalism, and memory’s obliteration as central to the nation-state. She shows how memorials, painting, and documentary film production are central to enlivening potential in the ruins of necro-capital. Her co-edited volume with Herman Gray of Toward a Sociology of a Trace (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) addresses global sites of deep cultural imprint, and the invisible work of tethering lives of sustenance after catastrophe. Macarena is working on a new book, At the Sea’s Edge (Duke University Press) that considers the fluidity of colonial transits and the generative space between land and sea.

Macarena is author of numerous articles and essays in art catalogues as well as peer reviewed journals on visual, multimedia and performing arts. She was the recent co-curator of Back to Earth: Queer Ecologies at the Serpentine Gallery, a two-day symposium on queerness, transitivity and fluid matters (2022), and was featured on the podcast Back to Earth: Queer Currents. She is an internationally sought-after speaker on the environment and extractivism as well as solution-based, grounded and liquid frameworks, for undoing a “no future” paradigm. 

Most recently, she received the Pratt Institute Research Recognition Award (2021-2022) and the University of California, Santa Cruz Distinguished Alumni Award (2021-2022). She was Fulbright fellow at Sociology and Gender Department in FLACSO Ecuador, Quito and Director of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance Studies (2014). In her editorial work, she co-edits the series Dissident Acts with Diana Taylor at Duke University Press, is Board Member of GLQ, and is a collective member of Social Text. 

Macarena is Timothy C. Forbes and Anne S. Harrison University Professor. And, Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media, as well as faculty member in the Brown Arts Institute.