Jéssica Malinalli Coyotecatl Contreras

Graduate Student


SocioCultural Anthropology

  • Energy Justice and anti-extractivism
  • Feminist Political Ecology
  • Indigenous and Peasant Struggles
  • Critical STS


M.A. in Social Anthropology at El Colegio de Michoacán (COLMICH)

B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology at Universidad de las Américas, Puebla (UDLAP)


Jéssica Malinalli is a graduate student in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research focuses on infrastructural projects as territorial and social transformations in Mexico and in the United States. Jéssica pursues this investigation through three venues : 1) Her dissertation research, “Sovereign and Deadly Energy Transition: Communal Life against Extractivism in Mexico” engages with Indigenous and peasant struggles in central Mexico against systematic violence (i.e. natural gas pipelines for electricity); 2) She studies oil Infrastructure abandonment in Central California through UCSB-community undertakings: and 3) she explores the potentialities of the Berta Cáceres International Feminist Organizing School (2021) to construct a digital commons during pandemic times. Her research builds on a feminist perspective of social reproduction and anti-extractivism. She approaches research as a political commitment and with community partnerships. Her work has been featured in peer-reviewed articles in Ecología Política: Cuadernos de Debate Internacional (2016), Ciudades: Análisis de la coyuntura teoría e historia urbana (2018), Regions and Cohesion (2021), as well as online pieces for broader audiences.

Jéssica is a graduate affiliate to the Environmental Justice/Climate Justice Hub and is also a co-convener of the “Energy Justice in Global Perspective” Research Focus Group at UCSB, with faculty and graduate students. Before coming to UCSB, Jéssica completed a Masters in Social Anthropology in Mexico.


"Sovereign and Deadly Energy Transition: Communal Life against Extractivism in Mexico"

The Morelos Integral Project (PIM) is a megaproject, part of Mexico’s ‘sovereign energy transition,’ but detractors have called it a ‘Death Project’ for endangering individual and collective lives in Central Mexico. Peasant and indigenous communities fighting the project have linked its construction to human rights violations such as harassment, multiple incarcerations, and two assassinations. Opponents have also embarked on legal processes against PIM, centering Mexico’s ratification of Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (DOF 1991) of the International Labour Organization. Under the

discursive and material proximity of this energy project to death, my research asks: how does a ‘sovereign energy transition’ can threaten (communal) survival?
To answer this question, I investigate: 1) the knowledge production surrounding PIM and what ideas about the region they (re)produce, what futures they enable and which ones they prevent; 2) indigenous consultation to understand the community processes involved; and 3) the regional infrastructural complex PIM engages with.

This research proposal draws from and expands two bodies of literature: 1) a feminist perspective to social reproduction and violence to engage with the relationship between energy infrastructure as ‘Projects of Death’ and the quotidian practices that sustain life and allow for its reproduction; and 2) an anti-extractivism lens on energy transition studies to shed light on the process of value production through extractivism in projects that situated climate change and energy at their core.



Salgado Lázaro, A., Coyotecatl Contreras, J.M., and Del Angel, Y. (2021) “Radio Tsinaka: Comunicación contra el despojo y por la vida” [Communicating life against dispossesion]. Regions and Cohesion, Special Issue The 2020 paradox: a multisystemic crisis in search of an integral response 11(3): 102-114 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/reco.2021.110307

Coyotecatl Contreras, J. M. and Díaz Alba, C. L. (2018) “Femibici: experiencias y reflexiones feministas” [Feminist Cycling in Guadalajara: experiences and thoughts], Ciudades: Análisis de la coyuntura, teoría e historia urbana 119:25-32. ISSN:0187-8611 http://www.rniu.buap.mx/edit/revistas/contenido.php?id=119

Coyotecatl Contreras, J. M. (2016) “Los espacios de transportación en la economía extractivista. El caso del gasoducto Morelos en el centro de México” [Transportation in the Extractive Economy: Morelos Pipeline in Mexico], Ecología Política: Cuadernos de debate internacional 51:108-112. ISSN: 1130-6378 https://www.ecologiapolitica.info/los-espacios-de-transportacion-en-la-economia-extractivista-el-caso-del-gasoducto-morelos-en-el-centro-de-mexico/ 


Instructor of Record
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), Guadalajara, Mexico
2021 “Equidad y género: respuestas feministas a una pandemia desigual” [Feminist Responses to the Pandemic] with Dr. Carmen Díaz, Summer

Teaching Assistant
University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA
2021 “Envs 155: The Built World: Infrastructure and Environmental Change,” Instructor: Dr. Summer Gray, Winter