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  • About Me:

  • I am an anthropologist and associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. I teach courses at the graduate level on Cultures of Development, Migration, and Qualitative Research Methodologies. I also teach Illicit Markets, and have taught Human Dimensions of Globalization, at the undergraduate level. I have been working in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala since 2005.

    My first book, Contraband Corridor: Making a Living at the Mexico-Guatemala Border, was published by Stanford University Press in 2018. The book details how border residents navigate the border, and justify commodity smuggling, in the context of the increasing securitization of the region and criminalization of mobility. The Spanish translation of the book: La Cadena: Vida y Negocio en el Límite entre México y Guatemala was published by UNAM-CIMSUR in spring of 2021. The book can be ordered or downloaded for free here.

    Since 2012, I have led the DU Just Wages Project- a mixed-methods multi-year project to study immigrant day laborers' experiences with wage theft in Colorado, as well as advocates' attempts to assist workers and shift the policy climate. This project has been pursued in close coordination with community partners including El Centro Humanitario, Towards Justice, the Workplace Rights Project, the Wage Theft Direct Action Team, and the Colorado Wage Theft Task Force. Nearly 100 Korbel students have participated on the project as research assistants, surveyors, outreach workers, as volunteers on wage theft cases, or through my Qualitative Methods course. My book, Laboring for Justice: The Fight Against Wage Theft in an American City (Stanford Press March 2023) can be ordered here.

    Check out the DU Just Wages website to learn about public-facing work, student contributions, and the associated art exhibit.

    My work with the DU Just Wages Project was recognized as the 2022 co-winner of the Setha M. Low award for Engaged Anthropology from the American Anthropological Association. See writeup of the Setha M. Low Award here. 

    I also received the 2023 Kate Browne Creativity in Research Award for the Just Wages Project from the Society for Economic Anthropology.

    Check out my TedxMileHigh talk on wage theft now featured on the main page of

    I am a past co-director and faculty affiliate of the Korbel Latin America Center and supervise the DU Immigrant and Refugee Rights Colectivo, to connect DU and the community through research, service, and advocacy on issues related to immigrants and refugees. You can get involved by emailing

    I am also the current co-director of the new DU Center for Immigration Research and Policy (DU CIPR) with Lisa Martínez (DU Sociology). This effort was the co-winner of a DU wide Knowledge Bridge competition, selected for four years of seed funding.



  • Contact Me

  •  DU Email:


    Sie International Relations Complex 3014

    2201 S. Gaylord St. Denver, CO 80208

  • Research Interests

  • Latin America

    Immigration, Borders, and Latinos in the U.S.

    Ethnographic Methods and Community Engaged Research

    Informal and Illicit Economies

    International Development

  • Courses

  • Graduate Courses

    INTS 4521: Cultures of Development

    INTS 4632: Qualitative Research Methodologies 

    INTS 4569: Migration

  • Undergraduate Courses

    INTS 3014: Illicit Markets 

This portfolio last updated: 12-Dec-2023 11:06 AM