Dr. Marcela Vásquez-León is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of Anthropology; Associate Research Anthropologist at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology; and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies 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. She 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, Paraguay, and Colombia. She has also worked with migrant farm workers and Native American tribes in Southern Arizona and with Colombian refugees in the Colombia-Ecuador border. For the past seven years she has been co-director of the Study of the U.S. Institute, which brings mostly Indigenous student leaders from a variety of Latin American countries to the U.S. to learn about, among other things, sustainable development issue and Native American populations in the U.S. Southwest. She teaches courses on environmental and conflict, qualitative methods, Latin American ideology, and social implications of the war on drugs. She also co-directs a four-week study abroad program in Cuba. She has a book in press titled “Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change: Experiences from Rural Latin America”, The University of Arizona Press.
- Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1995
- M.S. in Agricultural Economics, University of Arizona
- Environmental Anthropology
- Political Ecology
- Fisheries Management and Maritime Anthropology
- Rural Development and Agricultural Cooperatives
- Environmental Justice
- Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change
"Development and Expansion of Economic Assistance Programs That Fully Utilize Cooperatives or Credit Unions."
- This project focuses on agricultural cooperatives in Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, and Bolivia and assesses strategies of change that reflect the effective role of cooperativism and cooperatives and their impacts on society and the economy.
Areas of Study:
- Environmental and Society in Latin America
- The Wake of the Green Revolution
- "Sustainable" Development