University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Anthropology

Dr. Virginia Rosa Dominguez

Professor of Anthropology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Center for Global Studies

User Photo


  • Office:
    Department of Anthropology
    607 S Mathews Ave.
    M/C 148
    Urbana, IL 61801
  • Phone: (217) 244-9495
  • Email:

Visit Website


  • The National Faculty of the Arts and Sciences, 1989
  • The Ford Foundation, Office for Latin American and the Caribbean, 1976-1980
  • The Kettering Foundation, 1977-1978

Field Work Experience

  • New York City (Aug. 1972-Feb. 1, 1973) on sense of identity among Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans in Washington Heights
  • Surinam (summer 1974) on economic history and social interaction in the Bush Negro community of Klaaskreek
  • New Orleans, LA (Sept. 1975-Sept. 1976; May-Aug. 1977) on social classifications in Creole Louisiana in historical and anthropological perspective
  • Jerusalem, Israel (summer 1980; May 1981-Aug. 1982; summer 1983; June 1984-Aug. 1985; summers 1987, 1989, 1990) on the objectification of "ethnicity" and "Israeli society" in academic, journalistic, and political discourses
  • Santa Cruz, CA (spring/summer 1993) -- with Didier Torny (EHESS, France) and Krista Harper (Santa Cruz)on the naturalization and consumption of insurance in the 19th and 20th centuries (primarily in the U.K., France, and the U.S.), and the development of "risk-groups"
  • Honolulu, Hawaii (July-Oct. 1993; summer 1994; part-summer 1995) on racializing practices in the Americanization of Hawaii, 19th and 20th centuries
  • Havana, Cuba (March 1998) on photography and historiography just before, during, and immediately after the U.S. military occupations of Cuba 1898-1902 and 1906-1910; at the Cuban National Archives, the Provincial Archives of Cienfuegos, and the National Library in Havana
  • Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, South Africa (March 2003; May 2005 and, through Research Assistants, summer 2003-winter 2004) on visual, economic, and discursive presence of the U.S. in South Africa and its complicated relationship with visual and discursive anti-Americanism (both before and druing the Iraqi-U.S. war 2003-present); involves two University of Iowa graduate students and three graduate students in South Africa-- at the University of the Western Cape and at the University of Cape Town
  • Germany-South Africa-U.S. collaborative research project with colleagues from Berlin, Bremen, Munich, Cape Town, Pretoria, and Johannesburg (and possibly Utrecht, the Netherlands) involving pilot research (wth 4 University of Iowa graduate students in May-June 2003 in Germany and Professor Jane Desmond)
  • A 13-country research project on instrumental, bureaucratic, engineering and science photography undertaken in the course of U.S. military occupations since 1898 -- in the Caribbean, the Pacific, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East -- with special emphasis on the U.S. Corps of Engineers (2008-2009)

Professional Memberships

  • International Association for American Studies (Member, Executive Committee, 2001-2003)
  • American Anthropological Association (Fellow, current)
  • American Ethnological Society (current; Member of the Society's Nominating Committee, 1991; Board Member, 2002-2007)
  • Society for Cultural Anthropology (elected member of the Board of Directors, 1995-1999, elected President for 1999-2001)
  • Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (current)
  • Council for Museum Anthropology (current)
  • Association for Feminist Anthropology (current)
  • Society for the Anthropology of Europe (current)
  • Society for Visual Anthropology (current)
  • Middle East Section (AAA) (current)
  • ISCOMET (International Scientific Conference -- Minorities for Europe of Tomorrow) (early 1990s)
  • N.Y. Council on Foreign Relations (Team Member, 1980-1985)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (current)
  • Institute of Cuban Studies (member of the Board of Directors in the mid-1980s)
  • Israel Anthropological Association (1980s)
  • Latin American Studies Association (member of Program Committee, 1980-1982)
  • Lourdes Casal Award Selection Committee (1983-1984)
  • Eileen Basker Memorial Prize Selection Committee (founder and member, 1987-present)
  • American Association of University Women Fellowships Selection Committee (1986-1988)
  • U.S. Fulbright (CIES) Selection Committee for Israel (1989-1991 member; 1991-1992 chair)
  • The Author's Guild (joined in 1995, after being nominated)
  • American Studies Association (current)


Virginia R. Dominguez (Ph.D. 1979 Yale; M. Phil. 1975 Yale; B.A. 1973 Yale) is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Anthropology (and member of the Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Caribbean Studies faculty) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  She is also Co-Founder and Consulting Director of The International Forum for U.S. Studies (established in 1995) and Co-Editor of its book series, "Global Studies of the United States."  A political and legal anthropologist, she was President of the American Anthropological Association from 2009 to 2011, Editor of American Ethnologist  from 2002 to 2007, and President of the AAA's Society for Cultural Anthropology from 1999 to 2001.  In 2013 she helped the World Council of Anthropological Associations establish the Brazil-based Antropologos sem fronteiras (Anthropologists without Borders) of which she serves as Vice-President. She also currently serves as Chair of the WCAA's Task Force on Advocacy and Outreach Activities. Author, coauthor, editor, and coeditor of multiple books, she is perhaps best known for her work on the U.S. (especially in White By Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana) and her work on Israel (especially in People as Subject, People as Object: Selfhood and Peoplehood in Contemporary Israel). Prior to joining the UIUC faculty in 2007, she taught at Duke University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Iowa, and Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. She has also been Directeur d'Études at the EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) in Paris, a Simon Professor at the University of Manchester, a Mellon Fellow at the University of Cape Town, a Morgan Lecturer at the University of Rochester, a Research Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, and a Junior Fellow at Harvard.


  • Ph.D., Social Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, (Dec.) 1979
  • M. Phil, Social Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1975
  • B.A., Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1973


  • Co-Recipient of the "Reciprocal American Studies" section of the 3-year Ford Foundation's "Crossing Borders" grant to the University of Iowa, 1999, $75,000
  • Rockefeller Foundation grant (with Jane C. Desmond)to extend the work of the International Forum for U.S. Studies to specific collaborations with Latin American specialists in the U.S., 2001-2004, $165,000
  • University of Iowa Arts and Hummanities Initiative Competition grant for project entitled "Comparative U.S. Studies: Cuba, Russia, and the United States" (with Jane C. Desmond), 1999, $20,000
  • USIA -- negotiated financial support of the IFUSS capstone conference, 1998-1999, estimated $9,000
  • Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 1998 Obermann Faculty Research Seminar entitled "Legacies of 1898: Sovereignty and Colonialism in Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, Hawai'i, and their Impact on the U.S.", 1997, $39,000
  • Christopher Reynolds Foundation -- for involvement of head of Research Section (Cuban) Centro de Estudios sobre los Estados Unidos (University of Havana) in 1998 Obermann Seminar and 1998 American Studies Association Meetings ($2,700 and $1,560)
  • USIA -- grant in support of the 1998 Obermann Seminar's extension at the Nov. 1998 American Studies Association Meeting, 1998, estimated $22,000
  • U.S. Department of Education, Title VI institutional grant in interdisciplinary "International Studies", 1997, $871,463 for 1997-2000
  • Rockefeller Foundation Humanities REsidency Institutional Grant to set up and run the newly founded International Forum for U.S. Studies (with co-Director Jane C. Desmond), 1995-1999, $250,000
  • Center-wide Research grant, East-West Center, Honolulu, 1993, $14,100
  • Duke University Research Council -- research assistance through the Small Grants Program, 1990-1991
  • Ford Foundation grant to the University of Iowa and Grinnell College for inter-institutional collaboration, faculty & student development in international studies, 1995-1998, $209,000
  • Social Science Research Council grant for fieldwork in Israel, 1981-1982
  • University of California Santa Cruz Social Sciences Division Exploratory grant, 1992, $3,600
  • Duke University Research Council -- Major Research Grant, 1981-1982
  • Trent Foundation Travel Grant for summer research, 1980


  • Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology
  • Slavery and Society
  • From Incest to Adultery: Kinship and Marriage in Human Societies
  • Self and Others: Racial, Ethnic, and Social Classification
  • Graduate Core Theory Course in Cultural Anthropology
  • Caribbean Cultures and Societies
  • The History of Anthropology
  • Interpretations of Kinship
  • Meaning/Theories of Meaning
  • Middle East: Wars, Revolutions and Social Change
  • Ethniut veAdatiut (undergraduate course taught at the Hebrew University)
  • Symbols in Society/Theories of Symbolism
  • Ethics, the Other, and the Practice of Anthropology
  • Evidence and Other Realities
  • Strategies of Comparative Analysis
  • Ethnicity and Nationalism: Ideologies and Processes
  • Valuing Tradition and the Politics of Value
  • Survey of Cultural Anthropology Theory
  • Reading French Theorists
  • Inside/Outside "the Middle East"
  • Honors Seminar in International Studies: The Professions in the International Arena
  • Anthropology and Contemporary World Problems
  • Seminar on Sociocultural Anthropology
  • Foreign Scholarship on the United States
  • Contemporary Anthropology
  • Contemporary American Lives: Experimenting with Social Science Methods
  • Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism in the U.S.
  • Visions of America: Representations and Their Critiques
  • Cultural Politics
  • Neighbors and Strangers: The U.S. and Cuba in the Twentieth Century
  • "America" in the World: Contextualizing the Lure and Rejection of America
  • Difference and Degradation -- Is It All Just a Matter of Racism?
  • Anthropology in a Changing World
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches in Evidence
  • "America" in the World: Contextualizing the Lure and Rejection of the U.S.



  • ‘America’ in the World: Pro-Americanism, Anti-Americanism, and Their Gray Zones. University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • From Beijing to Port Moresby: The Politics of National Identity in Cultural Policies. Ed. Virginia R. Dominguez and David Wu. New York: Gordon & Breach, 1998.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and 17-person Committee. Evaluating Human Genetic Diversity. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
  • People as Subject, People as Object: Selfhood and Peoplehood in Contemporary Israel. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
  • Cuban Studies (Special Annual Issue on "Sex, Gender, and Revolution in Cuba"). Ed. Virginia R. Dominguez and Yolanda Prieto. 1987.
  • White by Definition: Social Classification in Creole Louisiana. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1986.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Jorge I. Dominguez. The Caribbean and Its Implications for the United States. New York: Foreign Policy Association, Headline Series, 1981.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. From Neighbor to Stranger: The Dilemma of Caribbean Peoples in the United States. New Haven: Antilles Research Program at Yale, 1975.

Book Contributions

  • "Falling in Love with a Criminal? On Immersion and Self-Restraint." Ethnographic Encounters in Israel: Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.
  • "Unexpected Ties: Insight. Love, Exhaustion." The Restless Anthropologist: New Fieldsites, New Visions. 2012.
  • "Against Stigma." Eschewing Racism, Disavowing Racism, and Invoking Racism: Visions of Virtue in Worlds of Inequality. Hyderabad: Orient Longman Press, 2009.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Flagging the Closet." Visual Art and the Contemporary Jewish Experience. Ed. Dvorah Neumark. Montreal: McGill University Press/Saidye Bronfman Centre, 2003.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Jane C. Desmond. "Rediscovering America: American Studies in the New Century." "America" and "the Changing Object of Study". Ed. Kousar Azam. New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 2001. 14-22.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "UnAmerican Americans? Stretching the Boundaries of American Studies." Rediscovering America: American Studies in the New Century. Ed. Kousar Azam. New Delhi: South Asian Publishers, 2001. 120-134.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Sasha Welland. "Introduction: Cultural(ist) Articulations of National(ist) Stakes." Introduction. From Beijing to Port Moresby: The Politics of National Identity in Cultural Policies. New York: Gordon and Breach , 1998.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Disciplining Anthropology." Disciplinarity and Dissent in Cultural Studies. Ed. Cary Nelson and Dilip P. Gaonkar. New York: Routledge, 1996. 37-61.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." Foreword. Feminist Study and Judaism. Ed. Laura Levitt and Miriam Peskowitz. New York: Routledge, 1996.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Theorizing Culturalism: From Cultural Policies to Identity Politics and Back." Theory Rules: Art as Theory - Theory as Art. Ed. David Tomas, Jody Berland, and Will Straw. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Questioning Otherness: An Interdisciplinary Exchange." Iowa International Papers, Occasional Papers 30-37. Ed. Catherine M. Lewis and Virginia R. Dominguez. 1995.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "The Politics of Heritage in Contemporary Israel." Nationalist Ideologies and the Production of National Cultures American Ethnological Society Monograph Series. Ed. Richard Fox. 1990. 130-147.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Of Other Peoples: Beyond the `Salvage' Paradigm?." Discussions in Contemporary Culture I. New York: Bay Press, 1987. 131-137.

Journal Articles

  • "Mutuality, Responsibility, and Reciprocity in Situations of Marked Inequality: Dilemmas of, and concerning, U.S. Anthropology in the World." FOCAAL: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 63 (2012):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "When Belonging Inspires -- Death, Hope, Distance (Review Essay)." Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 15.3 (2008): 369-389.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. ""Nemi poco chiari, amici poco chiari" ("Unclear Enemies, Unclear Friends")." Acoma: Rivista Internazionale di Studi Nord-Aamericani (The International Journal of American Studies) 33 (2007): 53-65.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Maria Gropas' "The Repatriotization of Revolutionary Ideology and Mnemonic Landscape in Present-Day Havana"." Current Anthropology 48.4 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Rebecca Scott's "Public Rights and Private Commerce: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Creole Itinerary"." Current Anthropology 48.2 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 34.2 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 34.1 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 34.3 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 34.4 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "SUSPICION, CRITIQUE, AND PURSUIT: How Do U.S. Cultural Anthropology, U.S. Cultural Studies, and U.S. American Studies View One Another?." Americana Journal (Subtitled "Selected Papers from the 2004 Hungarian American Studies Association") III.1 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "When the Enemy is Unclear: US Censuses and Photographs of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from the Beginning of the 20th Century." Comparative American Studies 5.2 (2007):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Don Kulick's "Theory in Furs: Masochist Anthropology"." Current Anthropology 47.6 (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 33.1 (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 33.2 (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 33.3 (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 33.4 (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Seeing and Not Seeing: Complicity in Surprise." SSRC Social Science Research Council Web Forum: "Understanding Katrina: Perspectives in the Social Sciences" (2006):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 32.1 (2005):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 32.2 (2005):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 32.3 (2005):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 32.4 (2005):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Pamela Ballinger's "'Authentic Hybrids' in the Balkan Borderlands"." Current Anthropology (Special Issue on "Identity, Temporality, and Moral Geographies" 45.1 (2004):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 31.1 (2004):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 31.2 (2004):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 31.3 (2004):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 31.4 (2004):
  • "Foreword." American Ethnologist 30.1 (2003):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 30.2 (2003):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 30.3 (2003):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Foreword." American Ethnologist 30.4 (2003):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "When a Representation Offends Us: Toward an Analytics of Feeling in the Practice of Theory." Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (2003):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Stuart Kirsch's "Lost Worlds: Environmental Disaster, 'Cultural Loss,' and the Law"." Current Anthropology (Special Issue on Science, Culture, and Politics) 42.2 (2001):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "For a Politics of Love and Rescue." Cultural Anthropology 15.3 (2000): 361-393.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Jane C. Desmond. "Towards a Political Economy of "American Studies": Reports from an Experiment-in-Progress." Through the Looking Glass: American Studies in Transcultural Perspective. European Contributions to American Studies 40 (1999):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Asserting (Trans)Nationalism and the Social Conditions of Its Possibility." Communal/Plural: Journal of Transnational and Crosscultural Studies (Australia) 6.2 (1998): 139-156.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Conversation about Global Equality and Affirmation Action." Washington Law Review 75.4 (1998):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Exporting U.S. Concepts of Race: Are There Limits to the U.S. Model?." Social Research 65.2 (1998): 369-399.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Moshe Shokeid's "Negotiating Multiple Viewpoints: The Cook, the Native, the Publisher, and the Ethnographic Text"." Current Anthropology 38.4 (1997):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Implications: A Commentary on Stoler." Political Power and Social Theory 11 (1997): 207-215.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "The Racialist Politics of Concepts, or Is It the Racialist Concepts of Politics?." Ethos 25.1 (1997): 93-100.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Commentary on Aihwa Ong's "Cultural Citizenship as Subject-Making: Immigrants Negotiate Racial and Cultural Boundaries in the United States"." Current Anthropology 37.5 (1996):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Engendering the Sexualized State of the Nation." Identities 2.3 (1996): 301-305.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Erotic(izing) Cubans." Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 70.3/4 (1996): 283-290.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Jane C. Desmond. "Resituating American Studies in a Critical Internationalism." American Quarterly 48.3 (1996): 475-490.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Jane C. Desmond. "Crafting Exhibitions." American Anthropologist 97.4 (1995): 779-782.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Invoking Racism in the Public Sphere: Two Takes on National Self-Criticism." Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 1.4 (1995): 325-346.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "A Taste for "the Other": Intellectual Complicity in Racializing Practices." Current Anthropology 35.4 (1994): 333-348.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Differentiating Women/Bodies of Knowledge." American Anthropologist 96.1 (1994): 127-130.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Questioning Jews." American Ethnologist 20.3 (1993): 618-624.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Visual Nationalism: On Looking at "National Symbols"." Public Culture 5.3 (1993): 451-455.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Voicing Alternatives." Bridges/Gesher (1993):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Invoking Culture: The Messy Side of `Cultural Politics'"." The South Atlantic Quarterly 91.1 (1992): 19-42.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "How the Self Stacks the Deck." Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly 16.1 (1991): 12-15.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Representing Value and the Value of Representation: A Different Look at Money." Cultural Anthropology 5.1 (1990): 16-44.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "The Management of Otherness: `Ethnicity' in the U.S. and Israel." Journal of Ethnic Studies/Revija za Narodnostna vPrasanja Treaties and Documents #21.Dec. (1988): 161-167.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Comments on, and editing of, Lourdes Casal's "Images of Women in Pre- and Postrevolutionary Cuban Novels." Cuban Studies 117 (1987):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Sex, Gender, and Revolution: The Problem of Construction and the Construction of a Problem." Cuban Studies 17 (1987):
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Intended and Unintended Messgages: The Scholarly Defense of One's People." Nieuwe West-Indische Gids (1986): 209-222.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "The Marketing of Heritage ." American Ethnologist 13.3 (1986): 546-555.
  • "The Language of Left and Right in Israeli Politics." Political Anthropology 4 (1984): 89-109.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R., and Eileen Basker. "The Limits of Cultural Awareness: the Immigrant as Therapist." Human Relations 37.9 (1984): 693-719.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Show Your Colors: Ethnic Divisiveness among Hispanic Caribbean Migrants." Migration Today VI (1978): 5-9.
  • "The Floating Symbol: A Reply to Susan Waller." American Ethnologist 5.4 (1978): 811-814.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Social Classification in Creole Louisiana." American Ethnologist 4.4 (1977): 589-602.
  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "Spanish-Speaking Caribbeans in New York: The Middle Race." Revista Interamericana Review III.2 (1973): 131-142.

Newspaper Articles

  • Dominguez, Virginia R. "(Mis)Communications regarding the HGDP." Anthropology Newsletter. 1 Jan. 1998, sec. Cutting Edge.