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Catherine Whittaker

Research Fellow in Hispanic Studies, University of Aberdeen

I am a research fellow on the ESRC-funded research project, Activism in Regions of Crime-Related Violence and Institutional Fragility, led by Trevor Stack (University of Aberdeen). Working alongside a team of eight UK- and Mexico-based social scientists, I have been interviewing and observing anti-violence activists in the state of Michoacan, Central Mexico.

My social anthropology PhD thesis was titled, “Warrior Women: Contested Understandings of Violence and Gender in Highland Mexico” at the University of Edinburgh. This research, which included 15-months of immersive ethnographic fieldwork in the rural south of Mexico City as a visiting scholar at the Mexican National University (UNAM), was funded by the Mexican Government, the University of Edinburgh, and the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Sutasoma Award, as well as receiving an award from the American Anthropological Association.

I was previously awarded MSc degrees from the LSE and the University of Oxford, and a BA degree from the University of Bonn in Germany.

In September 2019, I will be starting my next long-term anthropological research project on "The Vigilance of Those Mistaken for Migrants at the U.S.-Mexican Border" at the Collaborative Research Centre "Cultures of Vigilance" of the LMU Munich.

My publications include, "Sahagún reloaded? The Priest, his pyramid, and deliberate syncretism in Milpa Alta" (2016) and "The cosmopolitics of rights and violence in Central Mexico" (2019).


  • –present
    Research Fellow in Hispanic Studies, University of Aberdeen


  • 2019 
    University of Edinburgh, PhD in Social Anthropology