Kendra McSweeney


Current CV: PDF icon Kendra_McSweeney_CV.pdf

Interests: Human-Environment Interactions, Cultural and Political Ecology

Current Research:
My primary interest is in human-environment interactions, with focus on issues in cultural and political ecology, conservation and development, resilience, demography, and land use/cover change. Current projects include (1) tracing the socioecological impacts of drug trafficking through Central America, and (2) studying the nature and implications of demographic change among Latin America's indigenous populations.

Courses Taught:
International Studies 2100-Introduction to Latin America
Geography 2800: Our Global Environment
Geography 4101-Undergraduate Research and Professionalization Seminar
Geography 7102-Fieldwork in Human Geography

Select Publications:

Ballvé, T., and K. McSweeney. 2020. The ‘Colombianization’ of Central America: misconceptions, mischaracterizations, and the military-agroindustrial complex. Journal of Latin American Studies. doi:10.1017/S0022216X20000668. 

McSweeney, K. 2020. Cocaine trafficking and the transformation of Central American frontiers. Journal of Latin American Geography 19(3):159-166

McSweeney, K. 2020. Reliable drug war data: the Consolidated Counterdrug Database and cocaine interdiction in the ‘Transit Zone.’ International Journal of Drug Policy 80 (June), 102719

McSweeney, K., and E. Nielsen. 2020. Climate change in Central America: the drug war connection. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs

Magliocca, N., K. McSweeney, S.E. Sesnie, E. Tellman, J.A. Devine, E.A. Nielsen, Z. Pearson, and D. J. Wrathall. 2019. Modeling cocaine traffickers and counterdrug interdiction forces as a complex adaptive system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

McSweeney, K., D. Wrathall, E. Nielsen, Z. Pearson. 2018. Grounding traffic: the cocaine commodity chain and land grabbing in eastern Honduras. Geoforum.

McSweeney, K., N. Richani, Z. Pearson, J. Devine, and D.J. Wrathall. 2017. Why do narcos invest in rural land? Journal of Latin American Geography 16(2): 3-30.

Sesnie, S., B. Tellman, D. Wrathall, K. McSweeney, E. Nielsen, K. Bennesaiah, O. Wang, L. Rey. 2017. A spatio-temporal analysis of forest loss related to cocaine trafficking in Central America. Environmental Research Letters 12:1-19.

Piperata, B., K. McSweeney, R. Murrieta. 2016. Conditional cash transfers, food security and health: biocultural insights for poverty-alleviation policy from the Brazilian Amazon. Current Anthropology 57(6): 806-826.

McSweeney, K., and B. Jokisch. 2015. Native Amazonians’ strategic urbanization: shaping territorial possibilities through cities. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 20(1): 13-33.

McSweeney, K., E.A. Nielsen, M.J. Taylor, D.J. Wrathall, Z. Pearson, O. Wang, and S.T. Plumb. 2014. Drug policy as conservation policy: narco-deforestation. Science 343 (31 January): 489-490.

McSweeney, K., and O.T. Coomes, 2011. Climate-related disaster opens window of opportunity for rural poor in northeastern Honduras. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 108(13):5203-5208.

McSweeney, K., and S. Chayes.2017. Want to limit migration? We can start by supporting democracy in Honduras. The Washington Post, 5 December.


Areas of Expertise
  • Human-Environment Interactions
  • Cultural and Political Ecology
  • 2000 Ph.D., Geography, Dean’s Honour List, McGill University, Montreal
  • 1993 M.Sc. Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • 1991 B.A., Geography and Environmental Studies, First Class Honors, McGill University, Montreal.

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