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Robert R. Alvarez

Professor Emeritus


Ph.D., Anthropology, Stanford University, 1979
M.A., Anthropology, Stanford University, 1973
M.A., Anthropology, San Diego State University, 1972
B.S., Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, 1966

Areas of Research

His research interests include the application of anthropology to practical problem solving especially regarding minority communities in the United States and their countries of origin. The ethics of conducting social science in such communities and the long range empowerment of local peoples is central to Alvarez's teaching and work. He has conducted community ethnography throughout the U.S. that focuses on formal education - especially the high incidence of minority high school dropout rates and emphasizes the social-cultural context of schooling. His work includes the continuing study of the settlement and long term accommodation immigrant communities along the California-Mexico Border. Currently, Dr. Alvarez has focused on Transnational markets and entrepreneurs by focusing on the ethnic fruit trade (primarily the chile and mango markets) between Mexico and the US. He has conducted research in Mexico (Chiapas, Baja California, the Western Pacific States) along the U.S. - Mexico Border, and participated in applied research and training in the southwest United States , Hawaii, Micronesia, and Marianas.


Familia: Migration and Adaptation in Alta and Baja California 1850-1975, University of California Press, 1987, 1991.

"The Lemon Grove Incident: The Nations First Successful Desegregation Court Case," Journal of San Diego History, 1986.

"The Mexico-U.S. Border: The making of an Anthropology of Borderlands." Annual Review of Anthropology, 1995.

"The Long Haul in Mexican Trucking: Tranversing the Borders of the North and South" (with George Collier), American Ethnologist, 1994.

"Un Chilero en la Academia: Sifting, Shifting and the Hiring of Minorities in Anthropology," in Race, Steve Gregory and Roger Sanjek eds., Rutgers University press, 1996.

"La Maroma or Chile, Credit and Chance: an Ethnographic Case of Middleman Entrepreneurs," Human Organization, 1995.

"Beyond the Border: Nation State Encroachment, NAFTA, and Offshore Control in the U.S. - Mexican Mango Industry," Human Organization, 2001.

"Los Re-mexicanizados: Mexicanidad, Changing Identity and Long-term Affiliation on the U.S. - Mexico," Journal of the West, 2001.