Consuelo Guayara Sanchez
Environmental-human relations, political ecology, knowledge production and food sustainability in Latin America
Consuelo graduated from The University of Iowa with a Ph.D. in Geography in 2007. She is a well-grounded human geographer with particular interests in political economy, development, cultural geography, and nature and society theories. She has a regional specialty in Latin America. Her doctoral research examined how the environment of the Amazon basin has been constructed in the policies and approaches of different research institutes both in Brazil and Colombia.
Before she came to the Department of Rhetoric, Consuelo taught a variety of geography and economics courses in both the United States and in Colombian colleges and universities. At The University of Iowa, she has been the instructor of the following upper level undergraduate courses: 1) Geographic Perspectives on Development, 2) Environment and Development, 3) Gender and Environment, 4) Special Topics: Globalization in the Developing World, and 5) Special Topics: Latin America: People, Culture and Environment, as well as the following lower division courses: 1) The Contemporary Global System, 2) Introduction to Human Geography, and 3) Contemporary Environmental Issues.
In addition to her research and teaching experiences, she gained administrative experience as chair of the Program of Economics (Corporación Universitaria de Ibagué), and as Coordinator of the Master’s Program of Planning and Environmental Management of Hydrological Basins at Colombia’s University of Tolima.
The theme of sustainability continues to connect Consuelo’s teaching and research endeavors at the University of Iowa. Thematically, her Rhetoric courses have been concerned with social and environmental sustainability. Her interest in enhancing critical thinking and fostering an educational global perspective aimed at raising levels of cross-cultural awareness and promoting “conviviality” infuses all of her rhetoric classes.
Her teaching responsibilities have included Rhetoric Honors sections with thematic emphases on development, nature, diversity, and cultural competence. In this last subject, Consuelo designed a service-learning Honors section called “Cultural Explorations for Health Care Professions” that partnered with local organizations such as the Children’s Center for Therapy, Pathways Adult Day Health Center, the Shelter House, and the North Liberty Food Pantry. Her STEM-focused Rhetoric sections focus on the social, economic, and environmental processes contextualizing the production of knowledge and technology, with particular attention given to difference and exclusion. Consuelo has also engaged first year students with her First-Year Seminar called “Humans and Environment: The Invisibility of the Impact of Our Lifestyles” which explores the complex ways in which our lifestyles are connected to environmental and social processes beyond our local community and environment.
Her research focuses on meanings and practices of sustainability in alternative projects of sustainable food production in Colombia, which involve cases studies of both big farmers in the state of Tolima and peasants, as well as indigenous coffee and food producers associated in a co-op in the state of Caldas. Consuelo is looking to expand her research interests into the examination of communities’ resilience.