Walter Little

Examines the politics of ethnic identity, international aid, tourism, and marketplaces

The World Within Reach
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Walter Little

College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Anthropology

Cultures; cultural heritage; diversity; economics; indigenous peoples and languages of the Americas; Mesoamerica; Latin America; popular culture; tourism; urban studies.

Campus phone: (518) 442-4718
Campus email: [email protected]


Anthropologist Walter Little studies the social-economics and politics of Latin American indigenous peoples. His multi-sited ethnographic research in Guatemala and Mexico 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, 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 board 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 multiple 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.