warild 2008

María Alejandra Pérez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geography
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
West Virginia University

I am an Assistant Professor in the Geography Program at WVU. Before this
appointment (which began in the Fall of 2014), I was a PROF-DOC for two
years in the same department. The WVU PROF-DOC program is designed to
prepare minority scholars for academic success. The mentoring and support
received as participant of this program made possible the development of my
new research project: Field Studies of Karst Environments: A Case Study
of International Scientific Collaborations and Network Building
. This
project focuses on the history and present activity of collaborations and network
building between US and Cuban speleologists, or cave scientists. You can read
more about this research, which is being funded by the National Science
Foundation's Science, Technology, and Society Program, here.

I am also pursuing a second project titled Exploring Appalachia
Underground: Territoriality, Cavers, and Speleology in the Mountain
. More updates soon.

These projects build on my graduate work at the Department of Anthropology
of the University of Michigan. My dissertation, titled Exploration, Science, and
Society in Venezuela's Cave Landscape
, examines the history and practice
of cave exploration and science, or speleology, in Venezuela. Its analysis, which
focuses on the activities of the Venezuelan Speleological Society, investigates the
ways this organization both contributes to and challenges a broader state-run
national project of geographical knowledge and territory-making. Exploring human-
cave relations, from a historical, phenomenological, and political
perspective provides broader context to speleological practices.

Download the dissertation abstract.

Download my CV.


Pérez, María Alejandra. "Exploring the Vertical: Science and Sociality in the
Field Among Cavers in
Venezuela." Social and Cultural Geography 16, no. 2
(2015): 318-335.
(This link will take you to the PDF of the online version that
appeared in 2014.)

Pérez, María Alejandra. "Lines Underground: Exploring and Mapping
Venezuela's Cave Environment." Cartographica 48, no. 4 (2013): 293-308.


Spring 2015 GEOG 293D: Geography of Latin America
Fall 2014 GEOG 393C: Cultural Geography
Winter 2014 GEOG 102: World Regions
Winter 2013 GEOG 102: World Regions


American Anthropological Association
Association of American Geographers
Latin American Studies Association
Society for Social Studies of Science
National Speleological Society
Sociedad Venezolana de Espeleología

Contact Information

West Virginia University
Department of Geology and Geography
98 Beechurst Ave
330 Brooks Hall, Office 237
Morgantown, WV 26506-6300
Ph 304.293.9283 Fx 304.293.6522

Photo Credit: Alan Warild, Guácharo Cave, Caripe, Venezuela, 2008