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Department of Geography


Joseph Martínez, BA, MA, MSc

Third Year PhD Student, Department of Geography and Trinity Hall


Academic qualifications

  • 2018-present: PhD in Geography
    Department of Geography, University of Cambridge– Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2014-2015: MA Conflict, Security and Development, awarded with Distinction
    Department of War Studies, King’s College London– London, United Kingdom
  • 2013-2016: MSc Political Science
    Social Sciences School, Universidad de los Andes – Bogotá, Colombia
  • 2008- 2011: BA Languages and Sociocultural Studies
    Social Sciences School, Universidad de los Andes – Bogotá, Colombia
  • 2007- 2010: BA Political Science
    Social Sciences School, Universidad de los Andes – Bogotá, Colombia

Professional experience

  • 2016 – 2018: United Nations World Food Programme (Bogotá, Colombia)
    Resilience Building and Climate Change Adaptation
    Strategy, External Relations and Resource Mobilization
  • 2012 – 2013: Ideas for Peace Foundation (Fundación Ideas para la Paz) (Bogotá, Colombia)
    Research Assistant – Colombia National interpretation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • 2012: Poligrow Colombia (Mapiripán, Colombia)
    Development initiatives with Indigenous Populations and IDPs
  • 2011 – 2012: Universidad de los Andes –CESO (Mapiripán, Colombia)
    Research Assistant – Diagnosis of impacts of a palm oil plantation on Indigenous Populations in Mapiripán, Meta


  • Fellowship at the Institute of Social Critical Inquiry, New School for Social Research – New York City (2021)
  • Cambridge Global Food Security Early Career Researcher Travel Fund (2019)
  • Worts Travelling Scholars Fund, University of Cambridge (2019)
  • SLAS Postgraduate Overseas Conference Grant, Society for Latin American Studies UK (2019)
  • Colciencias – Cambridge Scholarship, Cambridge Trust and Government of Colombia (2018-2021)
  • Fulbright Scholarship (2018)
  • Colfuturo– King’s College London Scholarship (2014-2015)
  • Gilbert Murray Trust, UN International Committee Fund (2015)
  • Lightfoot Vacation Scholarship, King’s College London (2015)
  • Faculty Scholarship, Universidad de los Andes (2013-2014)
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship, Universidad de los Andes (2014)
  • “Quiero Estudiar” Scholarship, Universidad de los Andes (2007 – 2011)


Finance at Land’s End: Campesino Struggles, Debt and Palm Oil Commodity Trading in Montes de María, Colombia

My PhD research examines the existing forms of labour related to the cultivation of palm oil in Colombia, and in particular of workers’ and peasants’ experiences of financialization through forms of credit and debt, as well as international commodity price movements. Broadly put, I am interested in the territorialisation of finance and agrarian changes triggered by processes of financialisation

Recently I completed fieldwork in Colombia and Jordan, exploring the political economies of war and the politics of development and humanitarian assistance. In Colombia, I have undertaken fieldwork in the regions of Cauca, La Macarena and Montes de María (all severely affected by armed conflict), mapping encounters between identity disputes and liberal peace building; dynamics of gender and race; and, tensions between projects of rural development and efforts of post-conflict reconciliation. I have also conducted analysis of State discourses and practices of government in the context of the Colombian armed conflict. For my masters at King’s College London, I completed fieldwork in Jordan, exploring how practices of humanitarian assistance govern and organise local subjectivities.

My research interests include political economy, critical agrarian studies, environmental and economic history, decolonial studies and political philosophy.

With Tiffany Dang, I co-convene the Radical Geography reading group.

I am also a co-convener of the Subaltern and Decolonial Research Network at CRASSH, led by Professor Sarah Radcliffe and Dr Sian Lazar.


Conference papers

  • 2020: Financialization of Agricultural Production and Palm Oil in Colombia: the Hacienda/Plantation Debate Reignited? Presented at the Oxford Latin American Graduate Seminar
  • 2019: When the Palm Stays: Reification and Preliminary Notes for a Decolonial Political Economy. Presented at the conference “Governance at the Edge of the State: Recognition and Exclusion in Resource Frontiers”, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2019: Political Struggles and Markets for Rural Development in Colombia: Development Strikes Back. Presented at the 5th International Conference of Critical Geography, Athens – Greece
  • 2014 – 2015: King’s College London, Conflict, Security and Development Annual Conference. Member of the organizing team.


  • 2020 – 2021: Supervisor, Geopolitics IA
  • 2013 – 2014: Teaching assistant, Universidad de los Andes, Social Sciences School, Department of Languages and Cultures
  • 2013 – 2014: Occasional lecturer, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Human Sciences School, Department of Foreign Languages