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Rachel O'Donnell Headshot

Rachel O'Donnell, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

PhD, York University

G-138P Rush Rhees Library


Rachel O’Donnell is an Assistant Professor in the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program. She holds a BA in English and Political Science from Moravian College and an MA and PhD in Political Science from York University. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.  Her research is on the history and political economy of bioprospecting in the Americas, and she has also written about the revolutionary forces during the Guatemalan civil war as well as the legacy of the Central American civil wars on development and policy in the region.

She previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and worked as a researcher with the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) in Toronto.

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • WRT 105:  Contemporary Social Movements: Exploring Social and Political Change
  • WRT 105:  Transnational Feminism: Global Perspectives on Power and Equality
  • WRT 266:  Words Have Power: Writing for Social Change

Selected Publications


  • Biotechnology and Biopiracy: Plant-based Contraceptives in the Americas and the (Mis)management of Nature. Climate Chaos: Ecofeminism and the Land Question, edited by the Ana Isla. Inanna Publications.


  • New Forms of Resistance in the Highlands: Reproductive Control, Biopiracy, and Local Knowledge in Guatemala. Brújula: revista interdisciplinaria sobre estudios latinoamericanos. Special Issue on Environmental Justice, Political Resistance, and Social Movements: Defying Ecological Degradation in Latin America. 
  • Interview Archive of Ajpu Women, Chiché, El Quiché, Guatemala and Activism Among Rural Mayan Women During the Guatemalan Civil War. Women and Social Movements International. Online database. Alexander Street.


  • The Politics of Natural Knowing: Contraceptive Plant Properties in the Caribbean. Journal of International Women's Studies. Special Issue Women and Gender: Looking Toward ‘Caribbeanness.’ 17:3, 59-79.
  • ‘This is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child’: The Maternal Voice in Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’ and the Politics of Nature and Knowing in the Caribbean.  Journal of the Motherhood Initiative. 7:1, 100-110.


  • Gender, Culture, and Knowledge in New Spain: Sor Juana’s ‘To the Gentleman in Peru.’  Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 44:8, 1114-1129.
  • ‘The Change was Very Strong’: Rural Mayan Motherhood and Activism During and After the Guatemalan Civil War. Mothers Under Fire: Mothering in Conflict Areas pp. 282-303. Demeter Press.