Claudia Villegas received her Ph.D. in Geography from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She has
been a lecturer at Rutgers, Seton Hall University, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico; and a
Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, UK, and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. She is a
member of CONTESTED CITIES, an international network of researchers and academics from Europe and
Latin America (http://contested-cities.net/). In 2016 she joined the Editorial Collective of ACME: An
International Journal for Critical Geographies.
Research Interests: Mexican migration to the United States; social movements and urban protests; socio-
spatial inequality in the contemporary city, the right to the city; visual methodologies for social research;
participatory action research.
In recent years, Claudia has focused her work on the use of visual (qualitative) methodologies to examine the
relationships between the city and urban protest in different geographical contexts. Doing research on
assemblies, marches, protests, and occupations in New York City, Mexico City, and Río de Janeiro, she is
explores to what extent the (re)appropriation of public spaces by these urban mobilizations leads to contested
forms of constructing the city in neoliberal contexts of dispossession and spatial inequality.
She currently conducts the research project Landscapes of contestation: reflections of contemporary urban
protest, in collaboration with the PSRG. One of the project’s central tenets is to incorporate visual
methodologies as a framework to enrich the approaches and share knowledge about the relationships between
public space and contemporary experiences of urban contestation.
The project proposes the concept of "landscapes of contestation” as an instrumental narrative that reflects the
tension with the neoliberal urban policies aimed at dictating the access, use and control over public space.
The idea is to look beyond more conventional understandings and uses of (urban) landscapes and explore the
potential of this form of spatial representation to reference significant social stories not only about the uses,
practices and forms of appropriation of the urban (public) space, but also on the symbolic and cultural
dimension involved in the construction of the city.