John Blatzheim

Areas of Interest: 
Marxist anthropology, feminist anthropology, environmental activism, indigeneity, and decolonization with a geographical focus on Mexico


I am excited to be a first year PhD student in the Anthropology Department at Rice University. My research interests include indigenous environmental activism, decolonization, Marxist theory and feminist anthropology, with a geographical focus on Mexico. I am particularly interested in how processes of neoliberal capital accumulation and resource extraction coupled with local social conditions produce particular, autochthonous activist subjects. This interest is significantly informed by the roles which indigenous movements have played in environmental struggles within the Anthropocene and the broader possibilities for decolonization which emerge from those movements.

Prior to joining the department I was an undergraduate in the Anthropology program at Illinois State University where I was awarded the Ed Jelks Outstanding Anthropology Senior Award. As an undergraduate I volunteered at and conducted fieldwork with Illinois People’s Action, a local community organizing non-profit. My work with the organization included performing outreach, community education, and planning and participating in protest actions. My honors thesis, which can be found in digital form at, explored the emergence of activist subjectivities through experiences of oppression, and processes of subjectivation mobilized through activists’ social relationships.

When I am not on campus or doing activism I can often be found playing tabletop games at my local game shop, or in Florida visiting my partner and our six chickens, three dogs and two birds.

John Blatzheim
Graduate student