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Author & Teacher


Humans and

monarch butterflies

across North America



Columba Gonzalez 2023

Columba González-Duarte PhD.

“I aim to bring to my students and future research projects something I call eco-social justice: How can we achieve justice for humans and non-humans alike?”


Columba González-Duarte is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research.

Pursuing a greater understanding of the relationship between monarch butterflies and the people and communities they interact with has carried Dr. Columba González-Duarte far, connecting her roots in Mexico to Toronto and to her new home in New York City.    Through her research, Columba examines the conservation dynamics of the monarch butterfly across three nations, analyzing the connections between NAFTA's agri-food industry, labor migration, and the decline of the monarch population. She also collaborates with scientific and Indigenous communities in Canada, the United States, and Mexico to document their knowledge and ways of relating to migratory insects. Dr. Gonzalez-Duarte's academic practice is shaped by feminist ethics of care, promoting a different form of justice that values the well-being of both humans and more-than-humans during their migratory journeys across North America. 

Degrees Held

Dr. González-Duarte holds a PhD degree in socio-cultural anthropology, from the University of Toronto, with a collaborative degree at the School of Environment. After graduating in 2019, she gained a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. She was an Assistant Professor at MSVU in Halifax NS before moving the anthropology department at the NSSR.  

To learn more about Dr. Columba González-Duarte please visit her profile at

This bio was taken from The New School for Social Research

The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is the best known and most cared-for insect in North America. For millennia, monarchs have inhabited and moved between what are now the sovereign territories of three different nations, performing a 4000-km migratory loop that links distinct habitats.


The monarch butterfly faces threats to its survival all along the migratory path. These threats have deepened since the signing of NAFTA due to the agreement's role in facilitating the expansion of herbicides that are toxic to milkweed, a plant crucial to monarchs, but also profoundly problematic as an agro-business model for humans.


Convergent Migrations is an ethnographic multi-sited research project that follows humans and nonhumans' mobilities across the rough pathway through which the migrant monarch lives and dies. It explores these entangled trajectories and how they speak to an eco-social crisis in North America that is particularly visible at the sites of study.


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