Case Watkins is a cultural and environmental geographer and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at James Madison University. Dr. Watkins studies long-term entanglements of societies and environments, especially the political ecologies and environmental histories of the African diaspora. Published in 2021, his book Palm Oil Diaspora blends ethnographic, archival, and geospatial analyses to reconstruct the development and complexity of palm oil landscapes, cultures, and economies in Northeast Brazil and the Atlantic World from prehistory to the present.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork in New Orleans and Northeast Brazil, previous and ongoing projects have examined landscapes of race, class, and disaster; transnational migration, identity, and citizenship; colonial agro-ecological transformations; agrarian, development, and environmental politics; and foodways and agro-ecological change in Latin America and the African diaspora. Through teaching, research, and service, Watkins works to integrate and enact social, global, and environmental justice.

Hispanic & Latino influences in New Orleans (2009-2011).

Previous work appears in HALAC, Geographical Review, Journal of Rural StudiesEnvironment and History,  Journal of Latin American Geography, and Southeastern Geographer. Watkins co-authored Hispanic and Latino New Orleans: Immigration and Identity since the Eighteenth Centurypublished in 2015 by LSU Press and winner of the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize awarded by the American Association of Geographers. He received the 2017 J. Warren Nystrom Dissertation Award from the American Association of Geographers. His latest book, Palm Oil Diaspora, is available from Cambridge University Press. Please recommend it to your librarians here.

Reach me by email: casewatkins [at]