Shaylih Muehlmann

Wall Scholar


Associate Professor


Department of Anthropology





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Shaylih Muehlmann

Shaylih Muehlmann is Canada Research Chair in Language, Culture and the Environment. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Toronto (2008) and was postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (2008-2010).

Dr. Muehlmann’s work has focused on the relationships between environmental conflict, narco-related violence and identity in northern Mexico. In particular, she has examined the cultural impacts and political conflicts associated with the environmental degradation of the former delta of the Colorado River as well as the effects that the recent rise in narco-trafficking has had on the rural poor of this region. Dr. Muehlmann’s research draws on an ethnographic approach to contemporary social problems, attentive to how ordinary people experience larger scale social and environmental problems on an everyday basis.

In her first book, Where the River Ends: Contested Indigeneity in the Mexican Colorado Delta (Duke University Press, 2013), Dr. Muehlmann analyzed how local indigenous people have experienced conflicts over their fishing rights at the end of the Colorado River, in an overall context of water scarcity and environmental degradation. Muehlmann’s second book When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of California Press, 2013), examines the effects of the so-called “war on drugs” on the working classes of the US-Mexico borderlands, at a social, cultural, and economic level.

Primary Recipient Awards

Shaylih Muehlmann – Theme Development Workshop – 2017
Shaylih Muehlmann – Wall Scholars – 2015

While at the Peter Wall Institute, Dr. Muehlmann will be working on a book manuscript on the emergence of women’s led activism against drug war policies in Mexico.

Shaylih Muehlmann – Early Career Scholars – 2012