University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Anthropology

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Dr. Alejandro Lugo

Professor of Anthropology, Latina/Latino Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and Center for Global Studies

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  • Office:
    Department of Anthropology
    607 S Mathews Ave.
    M/C 148
    Urbana, IL 61801
  • Phone: (217)333-0823
  • Email:

Office Hours

  • Contact Instructor

Research Associates

Teaching Recognition

  • Certificates of Recognition for making the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students at the University of Illinois: for Fall 1995 (Anthro 450), Fall 1996 (Anthro 398), for Spring 2000 (Anthro 463), for Spring 2002 (Anth 450), for Fall 2004 (Anth 259), for Spring 2005 (Anth 499), for Spring 2006 (Anth 472), for Fall 2006 (Anth 508), for Spring 2007 (Anth 250), Fall 2008 (Anth 504), Fall 2009 (Anth 499), Spring 2011 (Anth 472/LLS496), and for Fall 2011 (Anth 466).
  • Plaque for Excellence in Teaching and for Contributing to the Latina/o Community of the University of Illinois. Given by the Class of 1997 at the Latina/o Congratulatory Ceremony. May 1996.

Supervision and Mentoring of Doctoral Students

  • Approximately 62 doctoral dissertations. Since 1996, Prof. Lugo has served on more than 40 completed doctoral dissertations; he has supervised and directed six completed doctoral dissertations; and he is currently supervising four doctoral students; two who are writing their dissertations and two other doctoral students who are preparing for the prelims. Together, the latter doctoral students (his direct advisees) have covered the Americas, especially Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and the United States. While the bulk of the other doctoral committees Prof. Lugo has served on have focused on research done in several other countries of Latin America (including Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Cuba, and Dominican Republic) or in Asia (including South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, and South Asia), one doctoral student has done anthropological fieldwork in Africa and another one in Europe. Throughout his years at Illinois, Prof. Lugo’s research and theoretical interests in gender, class and culture, the state (colonial and modern), capitalism, and colonial and postcolonial histories, as well as race and ethnicity, historically and in the present, have allowed him to recruit, guide and mentor a wide variety of doctoral students, who themselves come from diverse backgrounds: they are U.S. minorities, European Americans or white Americans, and international students.

Museum Exhibits

  • Exhibit of three photographs on “La Virgen de Guadalupe” at the 13th Annual “Virgen de Guadalupe” Exhibit at La Galería de la Misión de Senecú in El Paso, Texas. December 2010 to January 2011.
  • Two Ethnographic Photographs (20x30) from my Photo Series, Cruces, were selected for the Permanent Collection of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art in June 2009.
  • Photo Essay, Cruces: Crossings and Crosses, exhibited at Krannert Art Museum as part of the exhibit, Landscapes of the Imagination and Experience, April 4 to July 27, 2008. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. PowerPoint Presentation—DVD—of more than 70 ethnographic photographs of the U.S.-Mexico Border (and beyond) taken by the author between 2000 and 2008.

Public Engagement (Selected Online Publications)


ALEJANDRO LUGO received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University in 1995, his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1988, and his B.A. in anthropology from New Mexico State University in 1985. Prof. Lugo has taught at Bryn Mawr College (Spring 1992), at the University of Texas at El Paso (1992-1993 to 1994-1995), and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been teaching anthropology and Latino Studies since the fall of 1995. From 2006-2007 to 2009-2010, Prof. Lugo served as Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Head of the Department of Anthropology.          Professor Lugo is the author of Fragmented Lives, Assembled Parts: Culture, Capitalism, and Conquest at the U.S.-Mexico Border (University of Texas Press, 2008), which has received two national book awards. He is also co-editor (with Bill Maurer) of the 2000 volume Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Rosaldo  (University of Michigan Press) and editor of the 2012 special publication, “Engaging and Celebrating Renato Rosaldo’s Culture and Truth” in Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies.  In addition to having served from Spring 2010 to Fall 2011 as Associate Editor of the interdisciplinary journal Latino Studies, he also served in the Editorial Boards of the journals Reviews in Anthropology from 2003 to 2005 and Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies from 2006 to 2008.

Research Description

Prof. Lugo’s research and writing have focused on the study of culture, power, and identity in the labor lives of working-class peoples (particularly maquiladora workers) in the context of late industrial capitalism as well as in the social lives of ethnic and racial minorities in the context of empire, including the Spanish and the American empires.  Throughout his professional career, he has maintained a broad theoretical interest in bridging the study of culture and meaning with political economy, history, and lived experience.  His main strategy in accomplishing this goal has been to conduct ethnographic work on how people’s differences in terms of class, gender, and color hierarchies manifest themselves in society and in everyday lives.  Ethnographically, Prof. Lugo has addressed these concerns through anthropological research conducted over the last two decades on the lives of working-class people at the U.S.-Mexico border.  Most recently,Prof. Lugo’s research has focused on the historical formation of Mexican communities in southern New Mexico from the mid-19th century to the present.  He has augmented ethnography with investigations of the historical and social science literatures about Mexicans and other Latinos/as in the United States (in the American Southwest and the Midwest and beyond).  Methodologically, Prof. Lugo has used structured and unstructured interviews, participant observation, life histories, and archival research of government population records (both colonial and modern) and newspapers.  With regard to the subfield of socio-cultural anthropology, Prof. Lugo’s research and writing projects contribute to the anthropology of capitalism (work, class and culture), the anthropology of borderlands and colonialism/postcolonialism, the anthropology of Mexico and transnational Mexicans, and the anthropology of gender and feminism.


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1995
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison, 1988
  • B.A., New Mexico State University, 1985

Distinctions / Awards



Book Contributions

  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Border Inspections, Then and Now." Mapping Latina/o Studies: An Interdisciplinary Reader. Ed. Angharad N. Valdivia and Matthew Garcia. New York: Peter Lang Press, 2012.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Theorizing Border Inspections." Globalizing Cultural Studies: Ethnographic Interventions in Theory, Method, and Policy. Ed. Cameron McCarthy et al.. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. 101-121.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Reflections on Border Theory, Culture, and the Nation." Race, Identity, and Representaion in Education (Second Edition). Ed. Cameron McCarty, Warren Crichlow, Gred Dimitriadis, and Nadine Dolby. New York: Routledge, 2005. 43-57.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Michelle Z. Rosaldo." Biographical Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Ed. Vered Amit. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Genders Matter: Women, Men, and the Production of Feminist Knowledge." Disciplines on the Line: Feminist Research on Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Latina Women. Ed. Anne Cruz, Rosalie Hernandez-Pecoraro, and Joyce Tolliver. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta Press, 2003. 79-100.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Reflecciones sobre la teoría de la frontera, la cultura, y la nación." Teoría de la Frontera. Ed. David Johnson and Scott Michaelsen. España: Ed. Gedisa, 2003.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Destabilizing the Masculine, Refocusing ‘Gender’: Men and the Aura of Authority in Michelle Z. Rosaldo’s Work." Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo. Ed. Alejandro Lugo and Bill Maurer. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 54-89.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Preface." Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo. Ed. Alejandro Lugo and Bill Maurer. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.
  • Lugo, Alejandro, and Bill Maurer. "Introduction: “The Legacy of Michelle Z. Rosaldo: Politics and Gender in Modern Societies." Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo. Ed. Alejandro Lugo and Bill Maurer. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Reflections on Border Theory, Culture, and the Nation." Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics. Ed. Scott Michaelsen and David Johnson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. 43-67.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Economic Development, Maquiladoras, and Cultural Process in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico." Sociological Explorations: Focus on the Southwest. Ed. H. Daudistel and C. Howard. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1994. 161-177.

Edited Books

  • Lugo, Alejandro. Celebrating and Engaging Renato Rosaldo’s Culture and Truth. Spec. iss. of Aztlan: Journal of Chicano Studies 37.1. 2012.
  • Lugo, Alejandro, and Bill Maurer. Gender Matters: Rereading Michelle Z. Rosaldo. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Journal Articles

  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Introduction: Renato Rosaldo’s Border Travels." Aztlan: Journal of Chicano Studies 37.1 (2012): 119-144.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "“Cruces”: A Photo Essay." South Atlantic Quarterly 105.4 (2006): 745-754, in addition to book cover.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Theorizing Border Inspections." Cultural Dynamics 12.3 (2000): 353-373.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Durkheim, Mauss, and Levi-Strauss: An Anthropological Dynasty." Finisterre: Revista Literaria 8 (1992): 44-50.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Gloria Trevi: Resistencia, Desesperacion y Locura." Cuadernos del Norte 17.Noviembre-Diciembre (1992): 37-39.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "La ‘Teoria del Interes’: On the Work of Barth, Bourdieu, and Ortner." Finisterre: Revista Literaria 10 (1992): 31-37.
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Madonna: Inmaculada." Cuadernos del Norte 15.May-June (1991):
  • Lugo, Alejandro. "Cultural Production and Reproduction in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: Tropes at Play among Maquiladora Workers." Cultural Anthropology 5.2 (1990): 173-196.


  • Commentary on Refocusing Latina/Latino Anthropology for Anthropology Newsletter, April 1999, Vol. 40 (4): 42.
  • Commentary on “How We See Ourselves” for Anthropology News February 2000, Vol. 41(2):54.