Most of my career has been devoted to identifying the factors that undermine small-scale, indigenous societies as they are integrated into national societies and international economies. To that end, I have been working since 1981 among a group of Guaraní communities on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. I have returned often to the field, following the Guaraní as the forests have been devastated for cattle ranching and soybean fields, and as the forest peoples search for their place in Paraguayan society and commercial economy.
In addition, I have undertaken a second area of research and publication on a topic far removed from South America. I am working in the central highlands of Nepal. After decades of deforestation and land erosion, Nepal has turned over management of forests to local communities, providing them the rights to protect and harvest from their own forests. The process is promoting both forest regrowth and commercial activities in isolated areas.
Ph.D. - Harvard University
B.A. - Macalester College
“The Guaraní: From Forest People to Urban Refugees” in B’ Ganspon (ed.) Paraguay: Politics, Society, and the Environment. University of New Mexico Press. 2018.
“Environmental Destruction Social Conflict and Indigenous Identity in Urban Paraguay.” Research in Economic Anthropology. Vol 35: 263-293. 2015.
“Mbyá Resistance and the Politics of Space in Asunción.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development. 44. 2015.
Forest Residents, Forest Managers: Indigenous Models for International Development. 2nd Edition Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 2nd Edition 2015.
Birthing Fathers: The Transformation of Men in American Rites of Birth. New Brunswick: Rutgers University. 2005.
Guardianes de la Selva: Comunidades guarani y recoleccion comerical. (trans. M. Rolon) Asunción: Universidad Catolica "Nuestra Señora de Asunción." 2003.
Prophets of Agroforestry: Guaraní Communities and Commercial Gathering. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1995.
In addition to being academic, my scholarship is what has been termed "activist anthropology." It is the merging of analysis with efforts to inform the people being studied. For example, my research program in Paraguay has collaborated with both the Guaraní and The Nature Conservancy, developing models to integrate the Guaraní into tropical nature reserves. My scholarship has examined this process in two seemingly very different arenas: the forests of the Guaraní Indians and the birthing hospitals of the United States. Despite the differences, in both cases it is designed to help the groups, be they Indians or American fathers, work to get their needs met within larger social institutions.
Latin American Indigenous People
Community service & Involvement
Locally, I have been very involved in the protection and development of the San Antonio River. As a member of the San Antonio River Oversite Committee, I worked on the development of the Riverwalk, extending 13 miles from the campus to the Missions south of the city. In work to protect the quality of the river, I Chair the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) of the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and the regional Clean Rivers Program (CRP) with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).