Jennifer L. Burrell

Office: Arts & Sciences Building, Room 244
Ph: (518) 442-4707
E-mail:                                                                    Publications
Ph.D, New School for Social Research (2005) 

Jennifer L. Burrell

Research Interests

Latin America/Central America and the diaspora, the Maya
Political economy, structural and political violence, in/security, gender, generation, the state, 
Human rights, development, humanitarianism
Migration, transnationalism, globalization, indigeneity
Health and immigrant healthcare access


Current Research

I’m a sociocultural political anthropologist broadly interested in questions of power, structural and political violence, political economy, law, and the construction of inequalities.  I conduct research in Guatemala, Mexico, Europe and the United States on migration, security, human rights, humanitarianism, and the state.


My book, Maya After War:  Conflict, Power and Politics in Guatemala (University of Texas Press 2013) traces the after war experiences of indigenous peoples in northwestern Guatemala, charting the rise of post-war cultural revitalization, transnational migration, vigilante violence and local security initiatives. Another book, Central America in the New Millennium:  Living Transition and Reimagining Democracy (Berghahn 2013), is co-edited with Ellen Moodie and includes chapters by scholars working throughout the region on issues of post-Cold War transition.  My academic research and commentaries have been published in Latin American Perspectives, Current Anthropology, and the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, among others, and I’ve contributed numerous chapters to edited volumes.  My invited review article, “The Post-Cold War Anthropology of Central America” was published in the Annual Review of Anthropology (November 2015)


My current research (and book in progress) examines the nexus of migration and security-making practices and considerations among migrants in the US and the communities from which they hail in Central America and Mexico, and how concepts of rights and generation figure in these.  I’m interested in the relationship between law and dispossession, and transnational configurations.  Another research interest is the contemporary state, local governance, and modes of belonging and citizenship. 


Other research is on Mexican and Central American migration to the New York State Capital Region and healthcare access.  This research was carried out by a binational team of colleagues from UAlbany and Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, DF, on which I was principal investigator. The research employs the lens of state power, state effects and informality to examine the processes and categories that influence migrants ability to access and choose health care. 


I am active in the fields of human rights, humanitarianism and development, and worked as a researcher for the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), a consultant to large development organizations and smaller NGOs, and I provide testimony for asylum cases. I strive to utilize the insights of social and political economic theory and ethnography to address practical and policy concerns.


I’ve held recent external awards from the Gerda Henkel Foundation (2013-16), Wenner Gren (2008) and Programa de Investigación de Migración y Salud –PIMSA (2007-9) and residential fellowships at Re:Work, Humboldt Universität, Berlin (2013-14) and SFB700 Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood/DesiguALdades, Freie Universität, Berlin (2014-15). In 2009, I was awarded a Leadership Mentoring Fellowship by the American Anthropological Association. I was a Fulbright Fellow in Guatemala in 1999-2000.


I currently serve on the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Associations and the board of the Guatemalan Scholars Network.