Heather L. Williams

Professor of Politics; On leave Spring 2024
With Pomona Since: 1998
  • Expertise


    Heather Williams is a Professor of Politics at Pomona.

    Heather Williams conducts research and teaches courses on the global politics of water, food, agriculture and land use. She is also the author of numerous works on migration, labor and social movements in the Americas. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Haynes Foundation Fellowship for research on the Santa Ana River in Southern California. She also won two Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowships in 2007 and 2011 and was a co-founder with Javier Bojorquez Gandarillas of the Suma Quta (in Aymara language, “Beautiful Lake”) Project, a community-based water monitoring, education, and stewardship project in the Lake Titicaca basin.

    Areas of Expertise


    • Latin America
    • Mexico
    • Peru
    • U.S.-Mexico borderlands
    • Freshwater supplies and global water politics
    • Global politics of food and agriculture
    • Global politics of water and mining
  • Work


    2021: “‘If You Give Us the Best Place in the World, It Is Not So Good as This’: Some Reflections on Catastrophe, Consciousness, and the Right to Home,” The Arrow Journal 3 (2), September.

    2021: “Debtors’ Revenge Revisited,” Gilbert Joseph and Timothy Henderson, eds., The Mexico Reader, 2nd edition. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

    2020: With Alex Lintner, website, “Public Trust Thinking in Food and Agriculture,” with essays by Williams and Lintner

    2020: “States of Emergency: New Writing on Deportation and Democracy,” Latin American Perspectives 47 (6): 148-156, November 1

    2017: “Agricultural Subsidies and the Environment,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Environmental Science, DOI 10:1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.310.

    2015: “The Paradoxical PANista: The Legacy of President Vicente Fox,” for Eric Zolov, Icons of Mexico, Greenport, CT: Greenwood Press, p. 241-246.

    2015: “What Lies Beneath: An Eco-Historical View of High Andes Water Pollution,” Ambiente e Sociedade 18:1

    2015: “The Organizers Who Never Gave Up: An interview with Alicia Jrapko, co-founder of the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, on how persistence pays in uphill political struggles, NACLA Report on the Americas, online edition, January 13, 2015

    2015: Guest editor and lead author, “Global Water Grab in the Andes,” winter issue feature for NACLA Report on the Americas 47 (1), including the following articles: “Glacial Retreat in the Andes”; “Peru’s Media-Friendly Mining Ban Masks Toxic Inaction”; “U.N. Climate Conference Exposes Peru’s Poor Record on the Environment.”

    2015: “Both sides now: the rise of migrant activism and co-investment in public works in Zacatecas, Mexico,” with Fernando Robledo in Enduring Reform: Business Responses to Bottom-Up Social Change in the Americas, University of Pittsburgh Press.

    2014: “A Din Amid Quiet Ruins,” The Arrow, 1 (2).

    2012: “Both Sides Now: Migrant Philanthropy, State Power, and the Struggle for Accountability in the Zacatecas, Mexico” in Terrence Lyons and Peter Mandaville, eds. Diasporas and Globalization: Local Politics from Afar. Hurst/Columbia University Press, pp. 45-67.

    2011: “After the Gold Rush in Peru,”  Los Angeles Times, August 7 (Sunday), p. A25.

    2006. “Fighting Corporate Swine.” Politics & Society 34 (3): 369 - 398

    2004: “Why France Joined the U.S. in Haiti,” CounterPunch, print edition 11 (4), February 16-23.

    2004: With Karl LaRaque. “Marines Retake Haiti: The U.S. Coup Continues,” CounterPunch, March 3. 

    2004: “Haiti As Target Practice: How the U.S. Media Missed the Story,” CounterPunch, March 1.

    2003: “Of Legal Farce and Labor Tragedy: The Han Young Struggle in Tijuana, Mexico.” Social Science History 27 (4): 525-550,

    2001: “Of Free Trade and Debt Bondage.” Latin American Perspectives 28 (4): 30-51.

    2001: Social Movements and Economic Transition: Markets and Distribute Protest in Mexico. Cambridge University Press.

    1999: “Mobile Capital and Transborder Labor Rights Mobilization.” Politics & Society 27 (1): 139-166.

    1996: Planting Trouble: The Barzón Debtors' Movement in Mexico. La Jolla: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego.

  • Education


    Bachelor of Arts
    Amherst College

    Master of Philosophy
    Yale University

    Yale University

    Fluent Languages

    • English
    • Spanish

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Global Politics of Food and Agriculture
    • Global Politics of Water
    • Independent Research in Politics
    • Intermediate Seminar in International Relations
    • Introduction to International Relations
    • The Politics of Modern Latin America
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Haynes Foundation Fellowship for study on Santa Ana River, 2013

    Andrew Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, to study how villages manage land and water resources in the Lake Titicaca region, divided between Peru and Bolivia, 2007-09

    American Council of Learned Societies, Fellowship Recipient, 2001-2002

    University of Pennsylvania, Sawyer Series on Globalization and Inequality, Research Fellowship, 1997-1998

    Stanford University, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Participant in Seminar in Contentious Politics, 1996-1998

    U.C. San Diego, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, Guest Scholar, 1995-1996

    Yale University, Awarded Distinction for doctoral thesis, 1998