Towards Global Marine Justice: Indigenous Pacific Island Ecologies and the Right to Nature -- Oct. 27, 2021

Event Date: 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:45pm

Event Location: 

  • Virtual event:

Event Contact: 

Cora Danielson at

The Department of Asian American Studies proudly presents a virtual colloquium with UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow Olivia Quintanilla! 

Summary of Quintanilla's colloquium entitled "Towards Global Marine Justice: Indigenous Pacfici Island Ecologies and the Right to Nature":

Pacific island perspectives on climate justice reveal critical ocean-based and relationship-based knowledge vital for environmental planning and achieving more sustainable futures.

In this talk, Olivia Quintanilla brings together the fields of Ethnic Studies and Indigenous Studies with Critical Environmental Justice and Ocean Studies to conceptualize the field of Marine Justice from Pacific Island perspectives. Focusing on Guam, Quintanilla argues Pacific Island activism that prioritizes the protection of ocean and coral reef ecosystems is inseparable from struggles for Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and self-determination. Her project deploys coral reefs as a critical lens across three sites to demonstrate how island ecologies and topography matter in the militarized settler-colonial spatialization of Indigenous lands and bodies. Quintanilla considers how research focusing on coral reef regeneration and Pacific Island(er) resilience teaches us that healing and transformation are possible even in seemingly impossible circumstances if given enough time and the right conditions.

Olivia Quintanilla began her educational journey with the San Diego Community College District and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego. Olivia’s family is Indigenous to Guam and the Mariana Islands, and she’s used her academic opportunities as a Chamoru scholar to research the unique histories and futures of Pacific Island life. Her research interests include critical island and Oceanic studies, climate justice, Indigenous environmental movements, and Pacific underwater environments. She is currently a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow with the Environmental Studies program at UC Santa Barbara.