The Graduate Faculty at Riverside

Sociocultural Faculty

Eugene Anderson
Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1967
Fields of Interest: Cultural ecology, resource management, fisheries, agriculture, food. China, Malaysia, Southeast Mexico.

Professor Anderson has been working on resource related issues for the last thirty years. He has studied, among other things, folk classification systems of plant and animal communities, the local planning and management of resources (especially as regards fisheries and agriculture), economic development and its effects on natural resources, as well as issues in conservation, food and nutrition, sustainable development, and common property issues. He has done fieldwork in Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, British Columbia, and Southeast Mexico.

Piya Chatterjee
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1995
Fields of Interest: Gender, feminist ethnography, colonialism, plantations, "international development issues," women and medical/public health cultures. South Asia, British Caribbean.

Border crossing and diasporic worlds chart Piya Chatterjee's personal and intellectual contours and her Anthropology. Born in India, she spent an early childhood in Nigeria. As an undergraduate at Wellesley College she acquired an intellectual commitment to women's issues and then took a Master's side trip through Political Science at the University of Chicago. Her main real focus is South Asia, but she has related interests in the history of the English-speaking Caribbean. She is currently writing about gender, labor, and history in Indian tea plantations, while the focus of her current research is working-class women and public health cultures within Indian plantations and in California agribusiness. This research is located within the broader field of women and international "development." Her methodological approach is shaped by current debates in feminist ethnographic writing and practice as well as issues of community participation in field research, pedagogy, and writing.

Maria Luz Cruz Torres
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1991
Fields of Interest: Ecological anthropology, political ecology, economic anthropology, gender, rural development, and transnational communities, fisheries and aqua-culture development. Puerto Rico, Florida, Mexico.

After completing a B.S. (1985) in Marine Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Professor Cruz Torres specialized in Ecological and Economic Anthropology and Political Ecology. Her current research interests focus on maritime anthropology, gender issues, fisheries, the economics and cultural aspects of aquaculture, appropriate technology, and rural development. All of these issues come together in her work in fishing and farming communities in Sinaloa in coastal Northwestern Mexico that are experimenting with shrimp mariculture. She also deals with similar ethnographic complexity in the rural and transnational communities that she is presently working with in Eastern Puerto Rico. In her Puerto Rican work she is looking at the ethnohistory of the formation of rural kin-based communities, land tenure, and land use conflicts. She has also done research on social and economic aspects of fisheries development and management in Puerto Rico and Key West, Florida. She is currently completing a book based on her Mexican research that traces the economic history and conflicts associated with changes in use of land and fisheries, while also analyzing strategies of Sinaloan households and communities as they confront economic and ecological constraints.

Paul H. Gelles
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Harvard, 1990
Fields of Interest: Interpretive and political anthropology, political ecology and cultural politics of irrigation, transnationalism, indigenous literatures. Central and Southern Peruvian highlands.

Professor Gelles' has broad interests in the ethnography of natural resource management, community organization, and transnationalism. He has done extensive ethnographic and historical research in peasant communities of the central and southern Peruvian highlands examining the political ecology and cultural construction of water management systems. He is interested in understanding the ways that ethnicity is inscribed in land and water use systems. His interests in the history and cultural construction of irrigation systems leads him to issues of political ecology, environmental perception, the cultural politics of resource management, and the ambivalent effects of development. He also works on transnationalism, translation, and indigenous literatures.

Michael Kearney     KEARNEY HOME PAGE
Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., U C Berkeley, 1968
Fields of Interest: Political economy, indigenous peoples, Marxist anthropology, transnationalism, ethnicity, migration, practical anthropology. Mexico, California.

Professor Kearney's work with transnational Zapotec and Mixtec communities takes him from the cloud forests of Oaxaca, to the deserts of Baja California, to colonias of Border Cities, to fields, orchards, and labor camps in the San Joaquin Valley of California, and to Latino barrios in Los Angeles and Riverside. And sometimes he just walks out of his office to talk with Mixtec migrant workers harvesting oranges and avocados in the University's experimental groves. In addition to recording the migration and life histories of transnational migrant workers he also records the soul voyages of espiritualista shamans who also regularly cross borders without documents. His main research foci are ethnicity, migration, and the theory and ethnography of transnational communities and processes. His work in practical anthropology in Oaxaca and the Californias deals with the creation of effective transnational indigenous organizations for enhancing natural, cultural, and political resources. He is the Past President of the Society for Latin American Anthropology, a Coordinating Editor of Latin American Perspectives, is on the Board of The Journal of Latin American Anthropology, Chair of the Latin American Studies Program at UCR, and serves as the Adviser for several Mexican indigenous transnational organizations.

David B. Kronenfeld     KRONENFELD HOME PAGE
Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., Stanford, 1969
Fields of Interest: Social organization including ethnicity and kinship, culture as distributed cognition, the semantics of natural language, mathematical and computer applications. West Africa.

Professor Kronenfeld's cultural odyssey began in south Florida; a poor, rural high school in western North Carolina defined his sense of self; Harvard (B.A. 1963) and Stanford (M.A 1965, Ph.D. 1969), and visiting student years at Yale and Oxford fueled his identification with the North Carolina Mountains. The religious and ethnic variation encountered among those various communities gave him a sense of the importance of cultural differences; a summer working for the Ute Indian Tribe in Utah, a summer Field Training School in Oaxaca, and a year's fieldwork with the Fanti people of Ghana taught him the common, shared humanity that underlies cultural differences. Past research has focused on kinship (e.g., Kronenfeld 1975, 1976, 1980, 1989, 1991) and on computer and mathematical techniques for gaining insight into cultural phenomena (e.g., 1976, 1985, 1993). More recently, developing out of the kinship work, came a period of work on the semantics of natural language (e.g., 1979, 1994) which culminated in his 1996 book. His current research focus, following from his semantic work, concerns culturally delineated cognitive systems. He is exploring the conceptualization of culture as a system of distributed cognition (see 1993), and--as a particular instance--using that perspective to examine the definition, nature, and function of ethnicity and ethnic groups (and thereby returning to some of the puzzles of his youth, which first got him interested in anthropology).

Juan Vicente Palerm
Professor of Anthropology and Director of the UC Institute For Mexico and the United States.
Ph.D., Universidad Iberoamericana, 1983
Fields of Interest: Political economy, rural development & social change, migration, peasant studies, history of anthropology. Spain, Mexico, United States.

Professor Palerm's theoretical and research interests are political economy, social change, economic anthropology, migration studies, rural development, and peasantries. His geographic areas of interest are Latin America with a focus on rural Mexico, Europe with a focus on rural Spain, and the United States with a focus on rural California. Currently Palerm is translating research findings into social action to address the problems and needs of California's new immigrant rural residents, including physical and cultural isolation, ethnic conflict, and a lack of community infrastructure. He is the Director of the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), headquartered at UC Riverside, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the California Institute for Rural Studies.

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez
Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1975
Fields of Interest: Culture and education action, urban anthropology, political anthropology, applied anthropology, ethno-class relations in complex social settings, complex social organization, qualitative methodology. United States, Mexico, Hispanic Caribbean.

Professor Vélez-Ibáñez's work centers on one basic question: how do we as a species manage to survive the enormous stresses of global, national, regional, and local pressures and constraints to live out our lives in a relatively humane manner. The question has underlaid all his academic work in urban Mexico, in the Southwestern United States, and presently in Puerto Rico. He asks more specific questions about the development of identity as a modifier at different levels: cultural, ethnic, class, and household. This interest is also tied to questions of adaptation, the distribution of sadness, the emergence of social networks and language change, economic and technical shifts within the structure of households, and the migration of human populations. Professor Vélez-Ibáñez is also interested in the application of knowledge for the benefit of those populations with whom we work. Formerly the founder and director of the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona, he oversaw research on Culture and Agriculture, Culture and Education, Cultural Resource Management, The Garbage Project, and Women in Development. Eventually, he would like to see the formation of an applied research institute that incorporates biological and cultural research in the interest of the populations we study.

Emeritus Faculty

Alan R. Beals (Sociocultural, Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1954) has carried out field projects in a small town in Northern California, with an Air Force Bomber Crew, with the United States Army, and in Mexico. Most of his fieldwork, however, has been in Karnatak State in South India. His major interests are in cultural change, ecology, conflict and demography. He is currently conducting research in the roles of decision, conflict, and opportunity in changing agricultural communities in the United States, Mexico, and India.

Sylvia M. Broadbent (Archaeology and ethnohistory, Professor Emerita, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1960) is mainly interested in the archaeology and ethnohistory of Andean peoples, especially the Chibcha of Columbia and North American Indians in California and the Desert West. She also works on descriptive and historical linguistics of American Indian Languages, language and culture -- including relationships between linguistic findings and other kinds of anthropological research -- and symbolism.

Martin Orans (Sociocultural, Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1962) is ultimately interested in "the good life"; in this pursuit he has concentrated on the relations between "economic" and non-economic aspects of culture. He is much concerned with self-evaluations of happiness and satisfaction, and in general, with the experiencing of social institutions. His fieldwork has been in India and Samoa as well as the United States. he has also dabbled with "ethnicity" and statistical methodology.

Other Anthropology Faculty

Scott L. Fedick (Archaeology, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Arizona State University, 1988). Professor Fedick's primary research interests are in prehistoric settlement patterns, agriculture, and the development of social complexity, with a focus on Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. He works in the Maya lowlands of Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala, the Mexican Highlands of Oaxaca, and the Western and Southwestern United States. He is also involved in archaeological applications of computerized Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Alan Fix (Biological Anthropology, Professor, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1971) has broad interests in demographic anthropology, human biology, and evolutionary theory. He is also interested in the role of culture and politics in human ecology, as well as in evolutionary ecological issues, especially regarding foraging and swidden farming, systems. He has done extensive research on the Semai Senoi people of the Malaysian Peninsula.

Karl Taube (Archaeology, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Yale University, 1988) has engaged in extensive archaeological and linguistic fieldwork in Yucatan and is conversant in Spoken Maya. In addition to fieldwork in Yucatan, he has participate in archaeological projects in Chiapas, Mexico, highland Peru, and coastal Ecuador. He also has broad interests in the archaeology and ethnology of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Much of his recent research and publications deal with the writing systems and religions of ancient Mesoamerica.

R. Ervin Taylor (Archaeology, Professor, Department Chair, and Director of the Radiocarbon Laboratory, Ph.D., UC Los Angeles 1970), is an expert in radiocarbon dating and other archeometrical methods, and is interested in the earliest peopling of the New World, and in the application of dating and analytical methods to the archaeological record. He directs one of the world's foremost radiocarbon labs.

Virginia Vitzthum (Biological Anthropology, Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1986) has broad interests in evolutionary ecology, and in biocultural perspectives of human communities and their relationship with the environment. She employs a combination of quantitative, laboratory, and observational methods, and is currently working on issues relating to the evolution of reproduction, maternal/child health care, and fertility in stressful environments. She has done extensive research in the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes, and the United States.

Philip J. Wilke (Archaeology Associate Professor, Ph.D., UC Riverside, 1976) employs replicative studies of lithic technological systems to determine how stone and stone sources were obtained, managed, used, discarded, and in many cases exhausted. He is interested in how people, the world over, have used and continue to use stone tool resources and how those use-patterns have structured the archaeological record. He has done extensive research on these and other topics in many areas of the Southwestern United States. He has also studied the long-term management of juniper trees for the production of bow staves, trapping systems for the mass entrapment of large game animals, and lithic technology.

Cooperating Faculty and Other Resources

Professor Edna Bonacich, Department of Sociology

Professor Arturo Gomez-Pompa, Department of Botany

Associate Professor Sally Ness, Department of Dance


Center for Women in Coalition


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