Rebecca Clouser

Rebecca Clouser

Lecturer in Global Studies
Global Studies Study Abroad Advisor
PhD, Indiana University
research interests:
  • Latin America
  • Critical geographies of development
  • Post-conflict societies
  • Geographies of emotion and affect
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Mobility

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1217-137-255
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Dr. Clouser is a cultural geographer whose research interests lie at the intersection of critical development theory, postcolonialism, and the geographies of emotion and affect. Her work examines humanitarianism and development in post-conflict Latin America, with a particular focus on Indigenous communities in Guatemala. She holds a PhD in Geography from Indiana University as well as an MA in Earth Science and a BA in Telecommunications from Ball State University.


Clouser, R. (2020). Development and denial: Guatemalan post-genocide development narratives.  Geoforum, 117: 93-102.

Clouser, R., Méndez, Y. & Finn, J. (2020). Cities of Middle America. In S.D. Brunn, D.J. Zeigler, M. Hays-Mitchell, & J. Graybill (Eds.), Cities of the World, 7th edition (pp. 97-137). Rowman & Littlefield.

Zeigler & J. Graybill (Eds.), Cities of the World, 7th edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Clouser, R. (2019). Security, development and fear in Guatemala: Enduring ties and lasting consequences. Geographical Review, 109 (3): 382-398.

Rickly, J. & Clouser, R. (2019). Research Note: Spectacle and adventure philanthropy. Annals of Tourism Research, 77: 158-160.

Clouser, R. (2018). Reality and rumour: the grey areas of development work in Guatemala. Third World Quarterly, 39(4): 769-785.

Clouser, R. (2016). Nexus of emotional and development geographies. Geography Compass, 10(8): 321-332.

Clouser, R. (2014). Facing fear: The importance of engaging with fear in development literature. Progress in Development Studies, 14(2): 131-146.

Clouser, R. (2009). Remnants of terror: Landscapes of fear in post-conflict Guatemala. Journal of Latin American Geography, 8(2): 7-22.


Recent Courses

AMPERSAND: Geographies of Globalization and Development

This course provides an overview to the geographies of globalization and development in the world today. We begin by engaging with a variety of theoretical perspectives, definitions, and debates in order to establish the foundations upon which students can conceptualize and understand existing patterns of inequality, social injustice and environmental conflicts. In order to further highlight the different ways in which development and globalization interventions are experienced and contested, in the second half of the course we will focus our considerations towards specific contemporary issues at the forefront of globalization and development debates, including migration and refugees, urbanization, sustainable development, tourism, and alter-globalization social movements. This course is restricted to first-year students in the Global Citizenship Program.

    First-Year Seminar: Mapping the World: Introduction to Human Geography

    What is human geography and why is it important? This course addresses these questions by introducing students to the fundamentals of the discipline of human geography. A geographic perspective emphasizes the spatial aspects of a variety of human and natural phenomena. This course first provides a broad understanding of the major concepts of human geography, including place, space, scale and landscape. It then utilizes these concepts to explore the distribution, diffusion and interaction of social and cultural processes across local, regional, national and global scales. Topics include language, religion, migration, population, natural resources, economic development, agriculture, and urbanization. In addition to providing a general understanding of geographic concepts, this course seeks to engender a greater appreciation of the importance of geographic perspectives in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world. No prerequisites.

      Geographies of Development in Latin America: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges

      This course provides an overview to the geographies of development throughout Latin America. We will begin by examining a variety of theoretical perspectives, definitions and critiques of 'development'. We will highlight the uneven processes of development at multiple, overlapping scales and the power imbalances inherent in much of development discourse. In the second half of the course we will focus our considerations towards specific contemporary trends and development issues, utilizing case studies drawn primarily from Latin America. These themes will include sustainability, NGOs, social movements, social capital, security and conflict, identity, ethnicity and gender issues, participatory development, and micro-credit and conditional cash transfers. Students will acquire the critical theoretical tools to develop their own perspectives on how development geographies play out in Latin America.

        Central American Geographies of Violence

        This course provides an in-depth examination of the geographies of violence in Central America. As a region frequently characterized as endemically prone to violence, it is vital to analyze and contextualize the violence. Approaching violence in Central America from a geographic perspective involves not only locating and "placing" the violence, but also thinking relationally about the multiple, overlapping scales of activity, both within and beyond the region. The course is divided into five parts. In the first two sections of the course, we begin with an overview of the physical and human geography of the region and outline key historic moments and their legacies, including colonization, international relations (with an emphasis on U.S. interventions), civil war, genocide and torture. Simultaneously, we delve into various theoretical approaches for understanding the nature of multiple types of violence. In the third section of the course, we focus on neoliberal violence, insecurity and development and address issues such as urbanization, violent crime, issues with free trade and labor, and environmental issues. For the final two sections, we draw from contemporary case studies in the region (reading the four required books noted above). We will address identity and violence (discussing indigenous issues, racism, genocide and gender) and in the last section we will cover migration, gangs, drug-trafficking, U.S. security responses, and re-militarization. While we will continue to consider these types of violence through the various theoretical frameworks introduced in the first part of the course, we will also examine and analyze reports on contemporary violence and policy recommendations from multiple sources (multilateral organizations, governments, think tanks, and other nongovernmental organizations). Throughout the course we will also discuss current events occurring in Central America and how they directly or indirectly relate to the topic of geographies of violence.