Natalia Mendoza received a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2015 and is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University.
Her current research examines the confluence of criminal and extractive economies —from smuggling to clandestine mining and fishing— in the Sonora desert borderlands, where she has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork since 2005.
Her book Conversaciones en el desierto examines the transformations in the local organization of illegal economies in the region of Altar that led to a sharp increase in violence in 2010, in particular the rise of protection rackets and the establishment of a permanent body of gunmen managing all access to the border. Her previous research project was based in Mali, where she looked at the discredit of political language and the discontent with liberal democratic institutions among the political engaged youth. Her research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright, and Conacyt. She is a monthly collaborator of Nexos.