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Miguel Rojas Sotelo

Miguel Rojas Sotelo

Miguel Rojas-Sotelo works at the intersection of ethnic/Indigenous studies, environmental and health humanities, critical human geography, and border cultural theory. As a scholar, filmmaker, visual artist, and media activist he studies how indigenous (settled or displaced) and natural spaces are shaped by modernity and how they mobilize to adapt and resist. He is particularly interested in how indigenous communities, articulate their archival knowledge, racial and class politics, the spatiality of those processes, and how they are manifest in the landscape via visual, audiovisual, oral, and textual narratives.


Miguel was the first Visual Arts Director at the Colombian Ministry of Culture (1997-2001). He serves on the board of Repurpose IT Indigenous Education NGO; a co-founding member of the Mingas de la Imagen working on hemispheric intercultural dialogues; and co-founding scholar of the Centro de Estudios Ecocríticos e Interculturales at Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá. Currently works and teaches at the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Center for Documentary Studies on environmental justice and communication (Narration Nature: Documentaries for Environmental Studies). Miguel was visiting faculty at Duke Kunshan University at the International Master in Environmental Policy (IMEP) and the undergraduate program teaching on Environmental Justice, Visual Communication, and Indigeneity (2018-2019).

Rojas-Sotelo is a citizen of Colombia, raised at the Ubaque (muísca) rural mountains of Cundinamarca.

Miguel won the 2017-2018 National Prize in Art and Essay Criticism awarded by the Colombian Ministry of Culture for his text and exhibition titled SOBERANIA VISUAL EN ABYA YALA (Visual Sovereignty in Abya Yala) the first text that recognizes indigenous visual and cultural production in Colombia- being translated for an upcoming volume Tearing Down Disciplinary Barriers: Dialogues between Hispanic Studies and Indigenous Studies (fall 2021). In 2018 Miguel was co-president of EILA V (Encuentro Internacional de Literatura y Artes Amerindias | International Encounter of Amerindian Arts and Literatures), held in Bogota, Colombia. Currently is co-edited a multi volume series (with Miguel Rocha Vivas) titled Mingas de la Imagen: Estudios Ecocríticos, Indígenas e Interculturales (Ediciones U. Javeriana) with funding support of the Cultural Conservancy and the Mino Niibi Fund.

In his book IRRUPCIONES, COMPRESIONES | CONTRAVENCIONES (Irruptions, Compressions, Contraventions), University of Los Andes Press (2016); Chapter two: De Raíz (Uprooted) tells the story of Indigenous Nonuya cultural producer Mogaje Guihu (Abel Rodríguez Muinane). His scholarly writing has been published and distributed by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and Duke Press, Routledge, Palgrave, Ediciones Uniandes, Ediciones ASAB, Ediciones Universidad Javeriana, ASP Books, and Ediciones Cubanas, among others. He has published multiple books, including the monographic artist’s books GRAPHIC IN TRANSIT | Sergio Sánchez Santamaría (ASP Books, 2021) on the work of this Nahua/Africana artist heir of the TPG; and BE PATIENT | SE PACIENTE artistic and medical entanglements in the work of Libia Posada (ASP Books, 2018), on the lack of access to health, aesthetics, systems of welfare due to race, gender, and class. Besides, he has produced exhibitions and documentaries along with indigenous producers in Mexico, among others: SACBÉ: The path of wellbeing (2017) with Maya filmmaker Edwin Noh and Mauricio Andrada; Guardians of the Huaihe River (2020), with Yumin Wang, on the life of photo documentalist Huo Daishan (an indigenous man of Henan) in his struggle for environmental justice in China; now working on six-part short films on issues of interculturality with indigenous poets Hugo Jamioy, Wiñay Mallki, Humberto Ak’abal (rip), Elicura Chihuilaf, and indigenous filmmakers Keratuma Domicó and Olowaili Green.

Miguel is the founder of the WATER TOWNS | 水乡. Environmental Film & Arts Festival. 环保电影艺术节 (China) connecting indigenous voices from South and North America with minority voices in China and South East Asia,  director of the NC Latin American Film Festival (USA). At Duke-UNC consortium co-founded the Abya Yala working group to deal with issues of indigeneity since 2013 (with Emil Keme), directed the Mellon funded project Hemispheric Indigeneity (2013-2015), co-organized the symposium Indigeneity | Decoloniality| @rt, co-directed the Working Group on Environmental | Arts | Humanities: Narrating Nature at Duke University, and lead the 2020 Duke Engage Indigenous School Project in Colombia, which works with six indigenous communities on issues of “educación propia” (situated-education) and the national curriculum. The project produced several audiovisual shorts and a website.

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