Harrington Distinguished Professor

Email: fbabb@unc.edu

Phone: (919) 962-1242

Fax: (919) 962-1613
Office: 407 Alumni Hall

Area of Interest:

Cultural/economic/feminist anthropology; gender, race, and sexuality; critical development studies; urbanization in the global South; tourism studies; Latin American studies; Central Andes, Central America.


PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1981

Fieldwork Experience:

Peru, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Southern Mexico

Recent Research:

I am a cultural anthropologist specializing in gender and sexuality as well as race and class in changing contexts in Latin America. I came to Carolina in fall 2014 after teaching previously at Colgate University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Florida. My courses include such subject areas as the anthropology of gender and sexuality; Latin American cultural politics; travel and tourism; feminist ethnography, and decolonizing methodologies. My most recent book project was on postrevolutionary and postconflict tourism in Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Cuba, drawing on my areas of research interest.

I am currently at work on two interrelated projects calling on my long-term research in Peru and reconsidering ways in which we understand social inequality, cultural difference, and movements for change. The first project examines feminist debates concerning Andean women from the 1970s forward–debates in which I myself engaged and now wish to consider in the critical context of decolonial projects in world anthropologies. That is, I am seeking to put my work and that of others in fruitful conversation on contemporary questions of durable inequalities even as Peru’s and other Latin American economies are said to be undergoing notable modernization and development.

My second project is based on recent research I conducted in Peru on the complex entanglements of gender, race, and sexuality in the Andes and among Andean migrants in Lima. I am particularly interested in the ways in which women’s relationship to cultural heritage is invoked by Andeans and other Peruvians and how this may constrain women or enable them to enact change depending on the circumstances in which they live. In this work, I draw on ethnographic field research in Andean Peru and on representations of gender and race differences in the nation. I consider such diverse social phenomena as divisions over the use of Spanish and Quechua, racialized encounters that have gained widespread public attention, and a newfound pride in indigenous identity expressed by sectors of rural and urban youth. My aim is to move beyond entrenched views of Andean peoples as either mired in tradition or rushing to embrace new opportunities to engage with neoliberal capitalism. My research has instead discovered more complex women and men who sometimes have good reason to resist change and other times find ways to turn difficult circumstances to their personal or collective advantage. In these social landscapes, gender and race relations are frequently the fraught ground where intense struggles are waged.

Selected Publications:


n.d. Women’s Place in the Andes: From Gender Complementarity to Decolonial Feminism. In preparation.

2012 Después de la Revolución: Género y Cultura Política en Nicaragua Neoliberal. Translation of 2001 book with new preface. Managua, Nicaragua: Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica.

2011 The Tourism Encounter: Fashioning Latin American Nations and Histories. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

2008 Entre la chacra y la olla: Cultura, economía política y las vendedoras de mercado en el Perú. Translation of 1998 book, with new preface. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.

2001 After Revolution: Mapping Gender and Cultural Politics in Neoliberal Nicaragua Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.

1998 Between Field and Cooking Pot: The Political Economy of Marketwomen in Peru. Revised edition. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.

Edited Journals

2011 Special issue of Voices 11(1), (journal of the Association for Feminist Anthropology) in honor of Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, guest editor.

2008 Special issue of Latin American Perspectives 35(4), Youth and Cultural Politics in Latin America, first co-editor, with Jon Wolseth.

2005 Special issue of Critique of Anthropology 25(3), Autonomy in an Age of Globalization: The Vision of June Nash, first co-editor, with Lynn Stephen.

2002 Special issue of Latin American Perspectives 29(2), Gender and Same-Sex Desire, second co-editor, with James N. Green.

Journal articles

2012 “Theorizing Gender, Race, and Cultural Tourism in Latin America: A View from Peru and Mexico,” special issue on Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in Latin American Tourism, Latin American Perspectives 39(6):36-50.

2011 “Che, Chevys, and Hemingway’s Daiquiris: Cuban Tourism in a Time of Globalization,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 30(1):50-63, issue on Island Tourism in the Americas.

2010 “Sex and Sentiment in Cuban Tourism,” Caribbean Studies 38(2):93-115, issue in honor of Helen I. Safa, co-edited by A. Lynn Bolles and Kevin A. Yelvington.

2004 “Recycled Sandalistas: From Revolution to Resorts in the New Nicaragua,” American Anthropologist 106(3):541-555.

2003 “Out in Nicaragua: Local and Transnational Desires After the Revolution,” Cultural Anthropology 18(3):304-328.

2001 “Nicaraguan Narratives of Development, Nationhood, and the Body,” Journal of Latin American Anthropology 6(1):84-119.

Book chapters

2016   “Latin American Travel: The Other Side of Tourism Encounters,” in Global Latin America. Edited by Matthew Gutmann and Jeffrey Lesser. Berkeley:  University of California Press.

2014 “Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Latin American Studies. Edited by Ben Vinson. New York: Oxford University Press.

2013 “Street Economies in the Urban Global South: Where Are They Heading and Where Are We Heading?,” in Street Economies: Cultural Politics in the Urban Global South. Edited by Karen Tranberg Hansen, Lynn Milgram, and Walter Little. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

2012 “Gender in Postcolonial Latin America,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Latin American Studies. Edited by Ben Vinson. New York: Oxford University Press.

2012 “Intimate Encounters: Sex and Power in Nicaraguan Tourism,” in Central America in the New Millennium: Living Transition and Reimagining Democracy. Edited by Ellen Moodie and Jennifer L. Burrell. Amsterdam: Berghahn Books.

2003 “Nicaragua,” in Women’s Issues in Central and South America. Edited by Amy Lind. Pp. 335-360. Westport, CN: Greenwood Publishing Group.

2001 “Market/places as Gendered Spaces: Market/women’s Studies Over Two Decades,” in Women Traders in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Mediating Identities, Marketing Wares. Edited by Linda J. Seligmann. Pp. 228-239. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Related links:

Florence Babb CV