Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Department of Gender and Women's Studies main office and building are closed effective 10 Sep, 2020 until further notice. The GWS office can be reached by voicemail at 520-621-7338 or by email at SBS-GWS@email.arizona.edu.

We at the Department of Gender and Women's Studies stand with UA’s Institute for LGBT Studies to “vehemently oppose the continued attack on transgender rights. We stand in solidarity with our trans* family, friends, colleagues, and community and are committed to support movement toward inclusive education in Arizona, which encompasses trans* peoples’ right to participate in sports and athletic teams.”

Katherine Freeman

About Katherine Freeman


Katherine E. Freeman recieved her PhD from the Department of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona in 2020. Raised in the rural U.S. Southwest, Katherine is dedicated to the production of scholarship that addresses contemporary socioeconomic oppression. 

Katherine's dissertation examines the enduring representation and exploitation of Guatemala as a particular type of travel and research destination in the imperial/colonial imaginary. She argues that it is a place where trauma is engaged, managed, and/or commodified as an object of white supremacist, cisheteropatriarchal, and capitalist desires. Drawing from over a decade of research, including ethnographic fieldwork and archival analysis, Katherine shows that this exploitation depends upon and activates the regimes of control left in the wake of the European invasion of the Americas. To advance her arguments, Katherine traces the inauguration and maintenance of Guatemala’s tourism sector against a carefully managed backdrop of colonial warfare, one that still targets Maya peoples as spatiotemporal and somatic markers of the “savage” and “pre-modern.” She reveals how military officials, oligarchic stakeholders, and venture capitalists continue to exploit this “nostalgic” representation to encourage and guard the intranational travels of European and Euro-American anthropologists, archaeologists, humanitarians, missionaries, sightseers, and other “benevolent” representatives of Empire. As Katherine illustrates, genocide in Guatemala has never fully impeded this travel because it remains a requisite for the production of imperial knowledge about the country and for accumulation of power/capital. Alongside original research, her work builds on Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Third World, queer, working-class, and feminist scholarship. These perspectives, and Katherine's own research findings, demand a form of knowledge production that can sustain, uplift, and honor planetary life. This includes how to demolish the Invasion as a persistent, pernicious geocultural project and philosophy.


KatherineKellyAbraham. 2018. Burn it Down: Abolition, Insurgent Political Praxis, and the Destruction of Decency. Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics 1(2): 1-22.

Freeman, Katherine. 2016. Neocolonial Biopolitics in Southern Arizona: Lessons Learned from the SB 1070 Boycott. Feminist Formations 28(3): 222-243.

Freeman, Katherine. 2015. 'And God is the Water': Reflections on the EPA Spill, Power, and the U.S. Southwest.The Feminist Wire, September 3. Selected for additional publication by Truthout, September 7.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Louise Foucar Marshall Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2016
  • University of Arizona Women’s Plaza of Honor Fellowship, 2010-2014 & 2016
  • Women's Studies Advisory Council Travel Grant, 2013 & 2012
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship to study the Kaqchikel-Maya language in Guatemala with Tulane University, 2013
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship to study the Kaqchikel-Maya language at the University of Arizona, 2011-2012
  • University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Fellowship, 2010-2011
  • The University of Arizona Faculty/Student Interaction Grant, 2011

Courses Taught

  • Instructor of Record: Gender and Contemporary Society
  • Discussion Section Instructor of Record: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies; Gender and Contemporary Society; Technology and Society; Women and Western Culture

Research Interests

The global coloniality of power, development studies, necrocapitalism, necropolitics, critical race theory, transnational feminisms, queer theory, tourism studies, war and militarization, U.S. Southwest studies, Latin American studies & somatechnics (to name a few)

Areas of Study

Central America and the U.S. Southwest


Ph.D, Gender and Women's Studies, University of Arizona
Minor: Cultural Anthropology
Working Dissertation Title: Imperial and Colonial Economies of Trauma, Travel, and Knowledge in Guatemala
Chair: Dr. Monica Casper
Committiee Members: Dr. Linda Green, Dr. Eithne Luibhéid, Dr. Susan Stryker
M.A., Applied Cultural Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Minor: Medical Anthropology
Thesis: An Alternative Approach to Risk Reduction Dissemination 
B.A., Cultural Anthropology, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
Minor: Women's Studies
Advisor and Mentor: Dr. Kathleen Fine-Dare
Katherine Freeman's picture

Contact Information

Katherine Freeman
Former Doctoral Student