Anthropology: Agrarian issues, agrarian reform, informal economies, gender, class, ethnicity, Latin America, Andean region, Peru; transnational and transracial adoption, U.S.
Linda J. Seligmann studied at Pomona College (BA, Anthropology), The Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas-Austin (MA, Anthropology and Spanish-American Literature) and at the University of Illinois-Urbana (PhD, Anthropology). Her current book project focuses on the effects of transnational and transracial adoption on the cultural assumptions Americans in the U.S. hold about the constitution of kinship ties, configurations, and practices within a comparative ethnographic framework. She is co-editor, with Jessaca Leinaweaver, of a special issue of The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (April 2009) on “The Cultural and Political Economies of Adoption in Latin America.” Seligmann is also a specialist in the Andean region of Latin America with research interests in agrarian issues, political economy, and the dynamics of gender, class, and ethnicity in the informal economy. Her books include Peruvian Street Lives: Culture, Power and Economy among Market Women of Cuzco (University of Illinois Press, 2004), an edited volume, Women Traders in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Mediating Identities, Marketing Wares (Stanford, 2001), and Between Reform and Revolution: Political Struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969-1991 (Stanford, 1995), as well as numerous chapters and articles in Comparative Studies in Society and History, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Ethos, Urban Anthropology, and Ethnohistory.
Dr. Seligmann teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including “Anthropological Theory,” “Anthropological Perspectives on History,” “Peoples and Cultures of Latin America,” “Gender, Class and Ethnicity in Latin America,” “Culture and Conflict in the Andes,” and “Culture and Food.”
Dr. Seligmann has been a Fulbright Fellow and recipient of grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Tinker Foundation, and the Organization of American States. She has held several editorships, was contributing editor of the Library of Congress's Handbook of Latin American Studies, and served on the Board of the Society for Latin American Anthropology and the Journal of Latin American Anthropology. She occasionally publishes political analyses in local and national newspapers and journals, including The Washington Post and has appeared on the The Diane Rehm Show (NPR).
After serving as the Associate Director of the National Resource Center of the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1988-1990), Seligmann became a Faculty Fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University for a year. She held an assistant professorship at James Madison University (1992-1994) and then joined the Department at George Mason University as assistant professor of anthropology (1994-1995), associate professor of anthropology (1995-2002) and professor (2002). She also served as Director of the Center for the Study of the Americas at George Mason (1995-1997), Director of the Anthropology Program (2002-2006), and Director of the Graduate Program in Anthropology (2005-2008).
Dr. Seligmann has just completed a book, Broken Links, Enduring Ties: American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation (Stanford University Press, 2013), based on research she has conducted with families with children from China and Russia, and families who have transracially adopted African-American children in the U.S.
She has now returned to Cusco, Peru where she is doing research on vendors of handicrafts and agricultural products, investigating how vendors’ gender relationships, political engagement, and economic activities are undergoing change in light of the sharp increase in tourism, neoliberal economic regimes that have affected agricultural production and urban spatial arrangements, and the introduction of heightened security measures. That research has been funded by the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Foundation, and the Center for Global Studies at George Mason.
“The Cultural and Political Economies of Adoption in Andean Peru and the United States.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 14(1): 115-139. April, 2009.
“Traditions and Transitions: From Market Women in the Andes to Adoptive Families in the U.S.“pp. 123-37. IN The Restless Anthropologist: New Fieldsites, New Visions. Alma Gottlieb, Ed. Univ. of Chicago Press. (2012)
“Contested Spaces: Street Vendors in the Andean Metropole of Cusco, Peru.” pp. 117-34. IN Anthropology in the City: Methodology and Theory. Edited by Italo Pardo and Guiliana B. Prato. Ashgate Press, Urban Anthropology Series.
“The Politics of Knowledge and Identity, and the Poetics of Political Economy: The Truth Value of Dividing Bridges.” IN Border Crossings: Transnational Americanist Anthropology. Kathleen -Fine-Dare and Steven L. Rubenstein, eds. Pp. 34-43. University of Nebraska Press. 2009.
“Agrarian Reform and Peasant Studies: The Peruvian Case.” IN A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, Deborah Poole, ed. Pp. 325-351. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
Peruvian Street Lives: Culture, Power and Economy among Market Women of Cuzco (2004, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, "Interpretations of Culture in the New Millennium" series). Cited as an Anthony Leeds Honor Book , 2005.
In the Media
Diane Rehm Show, Washington Post, Pacifica News