Christopher Loperena

Christopher Loperena

Research Interests

  • Race and racialization
  • land
  • loss
  • autonomy
  • environment and environmental politics
  • development
  • tourism
  • witnessing
  • Central America and the Caribbean


  • Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin
  • M.A. in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin
  • B.A. in International Studies from The University of Chicago

Christopher Loperena is Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research examines Indigenous and Black territorial struggles, land, extractivism, and the socio-spatial politics of economic development. He has also published on anthropological witnessing and cultural expertise. His book, The Ends of Paradise: Race, Extraction, and the Struggle for Black Life in Honduras, is forthcoming with Stanford University Press.

His work has appeared in journals such as American Anthropologist, American Quarterly, Cultural Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Geoforum, and the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. In addition to his scholarly work, he has provided expert testimony at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and in support of US asylum claimants from Central America.

Loperena was the César Chávez Fellow at Dartmouth College and professor of International Studies at the University of San Francisco before assuming his position at the Graduate Center. In 2022, he was awarded a Mellon New Directions Fellowship to begin a project on race and climate vulnerability in coastal regions of Puerto Rico.

Prof. Loperena will be on research leave beginning January 2023.

Selected Publications



  • 2020. Special Section Introduction: “Cultural Expertise? Anthropologist as Witness in Defense of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Rights” Christopher Loperena, Mariana Mora and Aída Hernández Castillo, eds. American Anthropologist. Vol. 122(3):588-594.
  • 2020. “Adjudicating Indigeneity: Anthropologist as Expert Witness in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.” American Anthropologist. Vol. 122(3):595-605.
  • 2018. “Los retos del peritaje cultural: El antropólogo como perito en la defensa de los derechos indígenas y afrodescendientes.” Dilemas del Peritaje Cultural, Eds. Christopher Loperena, Rosalva Aida Hernández Castillo, and Mariana Mora. Desacatos, Num. 57.
  • 2017. "Settler Violence: Race and Emergent Frontiers of Progress in Honduras." American Quarterly. Special Forum on Settler Colonialism in Latin America. Vol. 69(4).
  • 2017. "Honduras is Open for Business: Extractivist tourism as sustainable development in the wake of disaster?" Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Vol. 25(5):618-633.
  • 2016. "Conservation by Racialized Dispossession: The Making of an Eco-destination on Honduras’s North Coast." Geoforum. Vol. 69:184-193.
  • 2016. "A Divided Community: The Ethics and Politics of Activist Research." Current Anthropology. Vol. 57(3):332-346.
  • 2016. "Radicalize Multiculturalism? Garifuna Activism and the Double-Bind of Participation in Postcoup Honduras." Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. Vol. 21(3): 517-538.