Walter E. Little

Walter E. Little

Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies
Department of Anthropology
Department of Africana, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies
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Arts & Sciences 245

PhD, University of Illinois, 2001

Walter Little

Book Publications

Public Engagement

Faculty Expert

Specialization: Guatemala and Mexico. Mesoamerica. Cultural and Ethnic Identity, Cultural Performance, Gender Relations, Marketplace and Household Economics, Transcultural Studies - Tourism, Urban Anthropology.

In addition to the Department of Anthropology, Professor Walter E. Little is affiliated with the Department of Africana, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies. He studies the social and political economies of Latin American indigenous peoples, particularly in Guatemala, Mexico, and in the Albany, NY region. His multi-sited ethnographic research combines political economy and symbolic/interpretive perspectives in order to better understand the politics of identity, international aid and economic development, cultural heritage and tourism in urban places, and the everyday practices of handicrafts production and marketplace interactions.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Stan, he co-founded the Guatemalan Emergency Relief Fund (2005-2010), a rapid response humanitarian organization to help reduce poverty and improve education in Maya communities. He is currently a founding board member of the Foundation for Developing Sustainable Societies, which currently has projects in the Yucatán. He is also a board member and previous director of the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies and a member of Triquis Sin Fronteras, a community-based organization that promotes Oaxaca Triqui culture and language in the Albany, N.Y. area.

He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, and books, including Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity (2004), which won Best Book of 2005 from the New England Council for Latin American Studies. And his co-edited volume, Street Economies in the Urban Global South (2013), which won the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Prize in 2014. His most recent book is the volume, Norms and Illegalities: Intimate Ethnographies and Politics (2021).

Co-Associate Editor, for Book Reviews American Ethnologist
Editor, Revista Mesoamérica
Past-President, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology