Dr. Maria Cecilia Oliveira

Research Group Leader, Democratic Governance and Ecopolitical Transformations (EcoPol) Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam
Dr. Maria Cecilia Oliveira | Speaker at SILBERSALZ 2022 (credit: IASS/Lotte Ostermann)
Dr. Maria Cecilia Oliveira | Speaker at SILBERSALZ 2022 (credit: IASS/Lotte Ostermann)

M. Cecilia Oliveira is leader of the transdisciplinary Research Group "Democratic Governance and Ecopolitical Transformations” (EcoPol) at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam. At IASS she previously led the groups “Implementing the Paris Agreement” (2017-2018) and “Democratic re-configurations of sustainability transformations” (2019-2020).

She researches the relationships of democracy and ecopolitics, focusing on topics such as climate change regime, environmental justice, ecopolitical trans-territorialities (rivers, forests, etc) and science and technology studies. The EcoPol group is currently working on a transdisciplinary case study in the Amazon basin. The aim is to identify and reflect on the political dynamics of a region in which the concepts of democracy and sustainability have become the key pillars of transformation. Within the Amazon basin, the exploratory arenas of research are Rights of Nature, environmental crises, indigenous activism, knowledge production, populism, and the development of climate policy in relation to the Paris Agreement.

Cecilia obtained her PhD in international relations in 2016 at Pontifical Catholic University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She developed part of her PhD as a Fulbright fellow at the Earth institute, Columbia University in New York, with the thesis “Millennium Development Goals: secured life and planetary governmentality.” Another area of expertise and interest is Science Communication, with the aim of unifying art and politics.

Cecilia is now co-directing the documentary film project Jatun Jaku – Amazon of Rights – the project discusses rights of nature comparing the constitutions of Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Brazil towards a journey through the Amazon river from the Andes until the Atlantic Ocean; she also leads the production of the podcast Carbon Critique – Atmosphere Politics & Democracy – a podcast interviewing scholars, artists and activists publishing on critical views about climate change politics; finally she currently works on the lecture performance Amazonas – the invention of a forest: the project is part of a previous performance - amazon urihi - and tries to bring to the academia and students the opportunity to reflect on the Amazon rainforest political dilemmas beyond western and pacified images.