Dr Ana Laura Zavala Guillen LLB Hons, MA, MA, PhD

Dr Ana Laura Zavala Guillen

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

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From a unique transdisciplinary background, Dr Ana Laura Zavala Guillen is currently researching the geographies of dispossession and resistance of the descendants of fugitives from slavery – or Maroons - in the Americas and the Caribbean in a radical participatory way that combines archival research and oral tradition. She is also an expert in post-conflict justice based on her vast trajectory as a human rights lawyer investigating crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide worldwide.


2019. PhD in Geography sponsored by the University of Sheffield Prize Scholarship at the University of Sheffield, UK.
Doctoral Thesis title: “Geographies of Marronage: Dispossession and Resistance in the Last Palenque.”
Subject areas covered include Lecturing, Assessment & Feedback, Small Group Teaching: Seminar Facilitation, Thesis Writing Principles and Practice, Academic Culture: Transitions & Expectations, Small Group Teaching: Seminar Facilitation, Problem Solving and Small Group Teaching: Laboratory Demonstration.

2012. MA in Conflict Resolution sponsored by the Rotary International Peace Fellowship at the University of Bradford, UK (with Distinction)
Subject areas covered include Introduction to Peace Studies, Conflict Resolution Theory, Gender Conflict and Development, and Applied Conflict Resolution.

2008. MA in Human Rights sponsored by the Fundación Carolina Fellowship at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain (with Distinction)
Subject areas covered include Human Rights Theory and Vulnerable Groups and Human Rights.

2006. Bachelor of Laws, the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina (with Honours)
Subject areas covered include Agrarian and Land Law, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.


Dr Zavala Guillen is currently an ESRC postdoctoral fellow in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Birmingham. During her postgraduate studies, she worked for four years as a doctoral research fellow supported by the prestigious University Prize Scholarship at the University of Sheffield, where she was one of five chosen fellows out of more than 1,000 applicants. Furthermore, she received the highly competitive Rotary Peace Fellowship to study an MA in Conflict Resolution at Bradford University. She also worked for one year as a postgraduate fellow supported by the Fundación Carolina Fellowship to complete an MA in Human Rights at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain.

Her current research focuses on the analysis of the ongoing dynamics of territorial dispossession and community resistance of the descendants of fugitives from slavery since colonial times to the present day. Her doctoral findings currently support community land rights claims in the context of the peace process in Colombia. As a human rights lawyer, she has spent most of her career working in transitional justice empowering victims after gross human rights violations in places such as Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala and Western Sahara.


Historical and Legal Geography. Race and Maroon and Black Studies in the Americas and the Caribbean, Counter-Hegemonic Territories, Socio-Territorial Movements and Resistance, Legal Precarity and Territorial Justice, Decolonial and Post-Decolonial Theory from a Latin American perspective, and Radical Participatory Research Methods. Activist Scholar.


•             Zavala Guillén, A. L. (2019), ‘A geographical approach to the Moiwana Community v Suriname’ in Research Methods for International Human Rights Law: Beyond the Traditional Paradigm, ed. Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg & Loveday Hodson (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 146-170.

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. (2017), ‘Book Review: Andean Truths: Transitional Justice, Ethnicity, and Cultural Production in Post-Shining Path Peru (2015), Anne Lambright,’ International Development Planning Review, 39(4), pp. 461–462.

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. & González-Salzberg (2017), ‘Legislación y Derechos Humanos en tiempos K: un estudio sobre las 589 leyes sancionadas por el congreso nacional durante la presidencia de Néstor Kirchner’ [Legislation and Human Rights: A study on the 589 laws enacted by the National Congress during the Presidency of Néstor Kirchner] in Revista Argentina de Teoría Jurídica, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, No. 17.

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L., Schapiro, H. & Castelli, P. (2014), 'Notas sobre el juzgamiento de la criminalidad económica de la última dictadura militar en Argentina' [Notes on the prosecution of economic crimes perpetrated during the last military dictatorship in Argentina] in Current Issues in Research of Gross Violations of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Nation of Argentina. ISBN: 978-987-3720-06-2. Id SAIJ: LB000093.

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. (2013), ‘Argentinian Transitional Justice Process: Women Behind’ (Article), in Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development, No. 20, pp. 52-60. ISSN 1742-0601.

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. (2014), “The right to identity for donor offspring in the light of the judgement "C., E. M. y otros c/EN-M Salud s/Amparo" and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in InfoJus: Argentine legal information system, Id Infojus: DACF140357,http://www.infojus.gob.ar/doctrina/dacf140357-zavala_guillen-derecho_identidad_descendiente_donante.htm

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. & Rios, L. (2011) “What the genocide left us, legal and psychosocial consequences in the recovery of stolen childhood in Argentina” in EMUI Euro-Mediterranean University Institute and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, ISSN 1578-6730: http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/nomadas/MT_americalatina/zavala_rios.pdf

•             Zavala Guillén, A.L. (2009), 'Que mi cuerpo no sea utilizado en contra de mis victimarios: El caso "Vázquez-Ferra" y los límites a la búsqueda de justicia y verdad' [My body will not be used as evidence against my aggressors: The case of "Vazquez Ferrá" and the limits in the search for justice and truth”] in Universitas: Journal of Philosophy, Law and Politics, No. 9, pp. 21-44, ISSN 1698-7950.