Dr. Marcela Vásquez-León is Director of the Center for Latin American Studies and Professor of Anthropology in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
Her research and teaching interests include grassroots development and collective organization, environmental and maritime anthropology, rural development, political ecology, and social vulnerability to climate and environmental change. Vásquez-León has conducted research and outreach for over two decades with smallholder agricultural and fishing communities throughout Latin America and the US Southwest on issues related to collective organization, common property resources, and rural development. Most of her work has taken place in Northwest Mexico, the US-Mexico Border region, Brazil, and Paraguay. She has also worked with migrant farm workers and Native American tribes in Southern Arizona and with Colombian refugees in the Colombia-Ecuador border.
Dr .Vásquez-León directs the Leadership Institute for Indigenous and Afro-descendant Women, a State Department funded Study of the U.S. Institute, which brings student leaders from a variety of Latin American countries to the U.S. for a five-week leadership program. She teaches courses on environment and conflict, qualitative methods, Latin American ideology, Mexican food and culture, and social implications of the war on drugs. She recently (2017) edited a book titled “Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change: Experiences from Rural Latin America”, The University of Arizona Press and is co-author on a forthcoming book (2020) titled “Portraits of Cuba” by the University Press of Florida.