• María Alexandra García
  • María Alexandra García
  • Research Interests: uneven development, globalization, modernity, mobilities, decolonial feminism, social reproduction, Andes, Ecuador, Latin America, Caribbean, Latinx geographies in the U.S., Latino studies, transnational migration and solidarity, feminist geographies, critical human and cultural geographies, cooperatives and solidarity economies
  • Advisor: James DeFilippis
  • Degree: Ph.D.


My dissertation researches the geographic and socioeconomic transformations of Ecuador in the past decade through the landscapes of el Austro region in the south central Andes. It examines how cycles of emigration to the United States, mobility and investment or absence of capital have produced landscapes of unevenness and hierarchical differentiation of rural, periurban and urban spaces at multiple scales. It interrogates how global economic restructuring exploits differences, stratifications and hierarchies of landscapes relying upon existing spatial, race, class and gender inequalities and how these unfold in everyday life. This study pays special attention to the roles that Ecuadorian migrants—who have links to New York city—play in the transformations of landscapes and economic mentalities. It analyzes the landscapes that emerge shaped by emigration and how they juxtapose with the ongoing transformation of the region into a destination for North-South migration for international retirement and a potential new frontier for real estate investment.

Through ethnographic accounts I document the ways that Ecuadorian migrants, locals and U.S. and Canadian expatriates talk about, think and respond to the ongoing economic transformations through their claims of land, space and property. How the clientele of international lifestyle and retirement markets (U.S. and Canadian expatriates) participate in the infrastructure of North-South mobility that promotes towns in el Austro region as a retirement or residential destination.


  • Pre-Dissertation Award, Graduate School–New Brunswick
  • Small Grant Fund, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • University Excellence Doctoral Scholarship Program, Ecuadorian Government National Secretariat of Science and Technology