Adjunct Assistant Professor


Phone: (919) 286-7396

Fax: (919) 962-1613

Office: 409C Alumni Bldg.

Area of Interest:

Global Studies, Sustainability, Cooperation, Systems/Complexity Theory, Social Movements, Politics of Health, Farm Labor, Latin American Studies; El Salvador


Ph.D. 1998, M.A. 1993, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Anthropology)
Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies

B.S. 1978 Duke University (Anthropology & Zoology)

Research & Activities:

2008-2011 Ueltschi Course Development Grant, APPLES Service Learning Program, UNC-Chapel Hill, for “Inventing a Sustainable Agriculture” and “Environmental Justice” ($8,000).

2006-2007 Richard Carley Hunt Post-Doctoral Fellow, Wenner-Gren Foundation (based in Dept. of Anthropology, UNC-Chapel Hill).

2000-2005 Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Elon University, Elon, N.C.

1999-2000 Mellon-Sawyer Post-Doctoral Fellow, University Center for International Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill.

1999 Mellon-Sawyer Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Health, Culture and Society, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

Research Conducted and Current Projects

Since May 2011 I have coordinated Recyclique/CommunEcos, an upcycling co-op and environmental education non-profit, at 2811 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC (  My prior sustainability education and advocacy work, based in Durham, dates to 2006, and has been focused on teen and adult environmental educational projects, green job creation, and focus groups on alternative economics. We work closely with Transition Durham.

My recent research is focused on applications of systems thinking and complexity theory to sustainability, human cooperation, and economics.  I’m particularly interested in the history of energy transitions with relation to political economy, and in new thinking about cooperation, markets, and alternative economic systems.

In 2010 my book Healing the Body Politic: El Salvador’s Popular Struggle for Health Rights, from Civil War to Neoliberal Peace, was published with Rutgers University Press.  Based primarily on research in the country from 1992-2002, and previous work there as a journalist during the civil war, the book’s revision was aided by a year-long Richard Carley Hunt Fellowship from the Wenner Gren Foundation.

From 1998 to 2005 I did research on Latino farmworkers in North Carolina, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s successful campaign to organize the state’s H2A farmworkers, which resulted in a number of book chapters and journal articles. I also did a research project in 2000 on the occupational health risks of Latino meatpacking workers in Duplin County, N.C.

In 1999, while based at Emory University, I did a post-doctoral research project on responses by public health institutions to drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemics in Lima, Peru and New York City.

Prior to attending graduate school (1992-1998), I worked for 10 years as a journalist. This included 4 years of work as a medical reporter in Washington, D.C., and two years (1987-89) during which I worked freelance from El Salvador for U.S. newspapers, including The San Francisco ChronicleThe Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times. In 1990, I worked for a year as an investigative reporter with Southern Exposure magazine.

Teaching and Related Research

Recent courses:

  • ANTH 502 Anthropology of Transnationalism and Globalization
  • ANTH 344 Globalization, Environment, & Social Movements
  • ANTH 539 Environmental Justice
  • GLBL 210 Global Issues
  • LTAM 697 Latin American Studies Seminar
  • ANTH 101 General Anthropology

Prior courses taught include: anthropology of social problems, human dilemmas of globalization, comparative healing systems, culture and health, Latin American social movements, environmental activism & society, development and inequality in Latin America, ethnography, introduction to anthropology, human evolution, anthropology through science fiction, Aboriginal Australia (study abroad).


2005 Listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers
2005 Excellence in Teaching Award, Elon University Panhellenic Council.
1998 Manning Prize for best dissertation, UNC Dept. of Anthropology.
1997 Steven Polgar Prize for applied anthropology, UNC Dept. of Anthropology.
1996 Finalist, Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, UNC, Chapel Hill.
1995 Peter K. New Prize, Society for Applied Anthropology.

Selected Publications:


Healing the Body Politic: El Salvador’s  Struggle for Health Rights — From Civil War to Neoliberal Peace. Rutgers University Press, 2010.

Journal Articles & Chapters in Edited Books:

Under Review:

March 2013  “A Brief Inquiry into the Tangled Relationships of Oil, Economics and Hegemony during Late Capitalism in the United States.”  Manuscript submitted to Social Analysis as part of a special issue on “Oil and Disorderly Studies.”


June 2013  “Seeing No Evil:  The H2A Guest-Worker Program and State-Mediated Labor Exploitation in Rural North Carolina.” In Latin American Migrations to the Heartland: Changing Social Landscapes in Middle America, edited by Linda Allegro and Andrew Wood. University of Illinois Press, pp. 101-124.


2011  “The Illegal and the Dead: Are Mexicans Renewable Energy?” Medical Anthropology,  30 (5): 454-474.  Part of series on “Structural Vulnerability and Latino Migrant Laborer Health.”

2011   (with Beverly Bell) “Operationalizing a Right to Health: Theorizing a National Health System as a ‘Commons’.” In A Companion to Medical Anthropology, eds. Merrill Singer and Pamela I. Erickson, Wiley-Blackwell.

2010 “With God on Everyone’s Side: Truth Telling and Toxic Words among Methodists and Organized Farmworkers in North Carolina.”  In The Anthropology of Unions, edited by Paul Durrenberger and Karaleah Reichart. University of Colorado Press, pp. 55-78.

2009  “H2A Guest Workers and the State in North Carolina: From Transnational Production to Transnational Organizing.”  In Global Connections and Local Receptions: New Latino Immigration to the Southeastern United States, edited by Jon Shefner and Fran Ansley. University of Tennessee Press, pp. 249-278.

2009    “Inventing a Public Anthropology with Latino Farm Labor Organizers in North Carolina,” NAPA Bulletin 31: 114-128.

2009    “Neoliberal Infections and the Politics of Health: Resurgent Tuberculosis in New York City and Lima, Peru.”  InAnthropology and Public Health: Bridging Differences in Culture and Society, 2nd Ed., edited by Robert Hahn and Marcia Inhorn. Oxford University Press, pp. 528-622.

2008     “Sticking to the Union: Anthropologists and ‘Union Maids’ in San Francisco.”  In Gendered Globalization: Women Navigating Economic Marginality, edited by Nandini Gunewardena and Ann Kingsolver. SAR Press, pp. 197-214.

2006 “Conceiving the Health Commons: Operationalizing a ‘Right’ to Health.” In The Global Idea of the Commons, edited by Donald M. Nonini, Bergham Books (in Critical Interventions Book Series, edited by Bruce Kapferer), pp. 115-135.

2006-07 “Conceiving the Health Commons: Operationalizing a ‘Right’ to Health.” Forum section, Social Analysis, Vol. 50, Issue 3, pp. 233-245.

2005 “When ‘The Program is Good but the Disease is Better’: Lessons from Peru on Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.” Medical Anthropology Vol. 24 No. 3: 265-296.

2005 “Federally-sponsored Mexican Migrants in the Transnational South.” Chapter in The American South in a Global World, edited by James L. Peacock, Harry L. Watson, and Carrie R. Matthews. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

2004 “The Cultural Politics of Institutional Responses to Resurgent Tuberculosis Epidemics: New York City and Lima, Peru.” Chapter in Emerging Illnesses and Society: Defining the Public Health, edited by Randall M. Packard, Peter J. Brown, Ruth L. Berkelman, and Howard Frumkin. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

2003 “Back to ‘The Jungle’: Processing Migrants in North Carolina’s Meatpacking Plants.” Anthropology of Work Review Vol. XXIV, Numbers 3-4 Fall/Winter.

2002 “Nadie Sabe, Nadie Supo: El programa Federal H2A y la Explotación de Mano de Obra Mediada por el Estado.”Relaciones: Estudios de Historia y Sociedad 90 Vol. XXIII Spring.

2001 “Anger, Empowerment, Action.” Chapter in Understanding the Global Experience. Edited by Tom Arcaro. Elon University -CD-ROM textbook. Online version:

2000 “The Smoke and Mirrors of Health Reform in El Salvador: Community Health NGOs and the Not-So-Neoliberal State.” Chapter 14 in Dying for Growth: Global Restructuring and the Health of the Poor, edited by Jim Y. Kim, Joyce V. Millen, Alec Irwin and John Gershman. Common Courage Press, pp. 359-81.

1999 “Uprooting Injustice: A Report on Working Conditions for North Carolina Farmworkers and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee’s Mt. Olive Initiative.” Bilingual report of the Institute for Southern Studies.

1998 “Health ‘Anti-Reform’ in El Salvador: Community Health NGOs and the State in the Neoliberal Era.” Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR) Vol. 21(1): 99-111.

1997 “‘Popular’ Health and the State: Dialectics of the Peace Process in El Salvador.” Social Science & Medicine 44(5): 635-45.

1997 “Primary Health Care and its Unfulfilled Promise of Community Participation: Lessons from a Salvadoran War Zone.”Human Organization 56(3): 364-74. (An earlier version this article won the 1995 Peter K. New Prize).