Title

Academic Co-Director Graduate Policy Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology

Undergraduate Departments

  • Liberal Arts

Graduate Departments

  • Master of Arts in Policy Studies

Biography

As a result of having been raised in a bicultural family and lived in several countries outside of the United States, I have always been fascinated with studying difference, especially the differential trajectories of societal development and the root causes of social change. I grew up with a foot, so to speak, in two distinct but connected worlds – the United States and Ecuador. This, coupled with a year abroad in Germany during the historical years of 1989 and 1990, when the Berlin Wall fell, ignited my interest in political economic history and issues of social justice. This background has shaped my personal and academic interests.

As an undergraduate I pursued a degree in International Relations with an emphasis on Latin America and Environmental Studies. After a stint working in New York City in the financial sector, I went on to pursue a degree in Cornell’s unique Development Sociology program. Here I was able to meld my fascination with social change, social justice and political economic history by pursuing research on indigenous movements in Ecuador and other countries in the region. Using an ethnographic approach to research, I began working in Ecuador in 1997 and continue to periodically return to this beautiful country and others in Latin America.

My research interests include indigenous movements, coloniality, food security and food sovereignty, social and environmental justice, international development, global social change and extractive economies.

These interests inform my service on campus clubs, such as Students for Diversity, and campus initiatives including The Precarious Alliance Sustainability Symposia.  They also find their way into my courses both at the undergraduate and graduate levels which include: Introduction to Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, International Political Economy, Cultural Minorities, Non-Western Societies, Political and Cultural Geography, Globalization and International Development, Qualitative Research Methods, Environmental Justice, and Contesting Development.

Education 

Ph.D. in development sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 2006
     Major: state, economy and society; Minor: Latin American studies and social anthropology
M.S. in development sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1999
     Major: state, economy and society; Minor: Latin American studies.
B.A. in international relations, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, 1995
     Major: international relations; Minor: environmental studies.
Study Abroad (undergraduate), Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador, 1994-95

Publications

  • “Transcending the Coloniality of Development: Moving Beyond Human/Nature Hierarchies,” article forthcoming in Special Issue of American Behavioral Scientist.
  • Return of the Rainbow: Indigenous Activism in Ecuador, PhD Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2006 (unpublished manuscript)
  • “‘Another America Is Possible’: In Quito, Indigenous Peoples Rally Against FTAA,” Native Americas, Fall Issue 2003
  • “Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights – Compensation, Condemnation or Self-Determination? A Story From Ecuador,” Agrosociedad; Vol. 1, no. 3, January - June 2002
  • Rethinking the Nation-State, Developmentalism and Indigenous Activism in Ecuador, M.S. Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1999 (unpublished manuscript)

Conference Papers and Presentations

  •  “Indigenous Struggles as Epistomology: Rights of Nature and Good Living,” Presentation at the American Sociological Association’s Annual Meeting for the Section on Political Economy of the World System Invited Session: Indigenous Peoples and Self-Determination in New York City, August 10, 2013.
  • Panel Presentation: “Vulnerable Persons, Human Rights, and the Role of NGOs,” at the Conference on Power and Justice in the Contemporary World-Economy (Political Economy and World Systems Mini Conference). New York City, August 9, 2013
  • “Moving Beyond Human/Nature Hierarchies by Transcending Development,” presentation at the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, March 22-25, 2012, San Diego, CA.
  • “Transcending the Coloniality of Development: Moving Beyond Human/Nature Hierarchies”, presentation at Cornell University’s Rethinking Development Conference, November 10-12, 2011.
  • “Indigenous Ontologies and Expanding Political Frontiers”, presentation at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference on August 22, 2011 for the Political Economy of the World Systems Roundtable discussions in Las Vegas, NV.
  • Opening Remarks and Closing Remarks at “The Precarious Alliance” sustainability symposium on October 7, 2010 at Delaware Valley College
  • Served as Moderator, for panel Building Social and Ecological Resilience at “The Precarious Alliance” sustainability symposium on October 6, 2010 at Delaware Valley College
  • “Indigenous Resistance at a Crossroads”, presentation at the American Sociological Association’s annual conference on August 15, 2010 for the Political Economy of the World Systems Roundtable discussions in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • “Sustaining Peoples and Communities Through Multicultural Education”, invited speaker for the PA-NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) Multicultural Education Symposia on February 25, 2010 at Temple University
  • “Multicultural and Intergenerational Perspectives on Sustainability”, Guest Lecturer for Honor’s Course “Feed the World Save the People” at Delaware Valley College, November 30, 2010 and December 1, 2009
  • “21st Century Socialism and the Latin American Left,” lecture presented at the Delaware Valley College Liberal Arts Symposium Socialism and Communism, November 30, 2009
  • “Reconceptualizing Nature in the Avenue of the Volcanoes”, invited guest speaker for the Encore Women’s Group, November 2009 in Yardley, PA
  • “Indigenous Peoples and Nature”, lecture presented at the Delaware Valley College Liberal Arts Symposium Humans and Nature, March 2009
  • “Multicultural Education for Whom? What I learned from Intercultural Bilingual Education in Ecuador”, poster presented at the annual PA-NAME (National Association for Multicultural Education) conference held at Juniata College in Huntington, PA, April 4, 2009
  • “Che Guevara and the Tlaltelolco Massacre of 1968”, lecture presented at the Delaware Valley College Liberal Arts Symposium “1968”, November 2008
  • “Indigenous Movements and the Crisis of the Nation-State,” presented at Great Lakes Conference in International Political Economy, SUNY Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, April-May 1999
  • “Rethinking the Nation-State, Developmentalism and Indigenous Activism in Ecuador,” presented to Dept. of Rural Sociology Friday Conference Series, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY, May 1999
  • “Bilingual Education and Indigenous Activism in Ecuador,” presented to the International Association of Camel Breeders, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, September 1998
  • “Transforming National Identities,” presented at Great Lakes Conference in International Political Economy, York University, Toronto, Canada, May 1998

Contact

t: 215.489.4865
e: tanya.casas@delval.edu

Office Hours

Lasker 307
M/W: 1:30-3:00; T/Th: 10-11:30; or by appointment