Nicholas Padilla

Photo of Nicholas Padilla
Nicholas L. Padilla
Pronouns: he/him/his
Assistant Professor
3503 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5424
Mailing address: 
Department of Geography
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5424 USA
  • Ph.D. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2017
  • M.S. Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos, 2009
  • B.A. Political Science and Spanish, St. Norbert College, 2006

Dr. Padilla is an environmental geographer whose research in Colombia explores the politics of indigenous and peasant education and economic activism in southern Colombia through ethnographic fieldwork. More specifically, his dissertation project examines the spaces of decolonial thinking and praxis among indigenous and rural actors in Cauca, Colombia, who have coalesced in order to further their ‘own’ educational model, re- introduce social relations in rural economies, and account for and incorporate nature in economic practices.

His current research examines on the production of illicit agricultures and natures, focusing on the coca leaf as a political project among Colombia’s indigenous peoples. Dr. Padilla is developing the concept of a Southern positionality that reflects the complex histories of colonization and the colonial present for rural indigenous peoples in southern Colombia. Finally, he is also developing a research project that explores teaching indigenous geographies to North American students through place-based study abroad experiences.