Linda J Seligmann

Linda J Seligmann

Linda J Seligmann


Anthropology: informal economies and markets,political economy,agrarian issues,gender,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 books include Peruvian Street Lives: Culture, Power, and Economy among Market Women of Cuzco, which was named as an Anthony Leeds Honor book by the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology, Between Reform and Revolution: Political Struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969-1991, Broken Links, Enduring Ties:  American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation, and an edited volume, Women Traders in Cross-Cultural Perspective:  Mediating Identities, Marketing Wares. Her articles have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Ethos, Urban Anthropology, Built Environment, and Ethnohistory, and she has prepared chapters for Street Economies in the Urban Global SouthThe Restless Anthropologist: New Fieldsites, New Visions, and Border Crossings: Transnational Americanist Anthropology.

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, The Reed Foundation, Tinker Foundation, and the Organization of American States, and received the Outstanding Scholar Award in 2005 from the College of Arts and Sciences at George Mason. 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 is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean 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) and With Good Reason (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 (2005-08, 2010-13).

Current Research

Dr. Seligmann is currently working on two interconnected research projects in the Andean highlands of Peru.  The first focuses on vendors of handicrafts and agricultural products, investigating how their gender relationships, political engagement, and economic activities are undergoing change in light of the sharp increase in tourism and neoliberal economic regimes. That research has been funded by the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Foundation, and the Center for Global Studies at George Mason.  Her second project looks at quinoa as a substance that has been of significance to the livelihoods and well-being of Quechua inhabitants in the Andes for centuries and seeks to uncover how the place, value, and meanings of quinoa are undergoing transformations in light of the demand for it internationally as a super-food, taking special account of gender ideologies, labor, and household social reproduction as these dynamics unfold.  That research is being funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Selected Publications


2013 Broken Links, Enduring Ties:American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation. Stanford:Stanford University Press.

2004 Peruvian Street Lives:Culture, Power, and Economy among Market Women of Cuzco. Urbana:University of Illinois Press, ("Interpretations of Culture in the New Millennium" series). Cited as an Anthony Leeds Honor Book.

2001 Women Traders in Cross-Cultural Perspective:Mediating Identities, Marketing Wares (edited volume). Stanford:Stanford University Press.

1995 Between Reform and Revolution:Political Struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969-1991.Stanford: Stanford University Press.


2014 “Between Story-Telling and Critical Analysis:Going Native and Crossing Borders.” Anthropology and Humanism 39(1):10-17.

2013 “Occupying the Center:  Handicraft Vendors, Cultural Vitality, Commodification, and Tourism in Cusco, Peru.” (with Daniel Guevara). Built Environment Special Issue, “Marketplaces as an Urban Development Strategy.” 39(2): 203-23.

2009 “The Cultural and Political Economies of Adoption Practices in Andean Peru and the United States. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 14(1): 115-139.


2014 “Markets.” Pp. 120-141.  In Blackwell Companion to Urban Anthropology, edited by Don Nonini. Oxford:Blackwell Publishing Co.

2013 “The Politics of Urban Space among Street Vendors of Cusco, Peru.” Pp. 115-36. In Street Economies, Politics, and Urban Social Movements in the Global South.  Karen Tranberg Hansen, Walter Little, and B. Lynne Milgram, eds. Santa Fe: School of American Research.

2012 “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.

2009 “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.

2008 “Agrarian Reform and Peasant Studies:The Peruvian Case.” In A Companion to Latin American Anthropology, Deborah Poole, ed.  Pp. 325-351. Oxford:Blackwell Publishing.

Courses Taught

ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western (Culture and Conflict in the Andes)

ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization

ANTH 339 Issues in Anthropology (Culture and Food)

ANTH 375 Anthropological Perspectives on History

ANTH 385 Gender, Class, and Ethnicity in Latin America

ANTH 390 Theories, Methods, and Issues I

ANTH 490 Theories, Methods, and Issues II

ANTH 536 Anthropology and the Human Condition, II

ANTH 635 Regional Ethnography (Peoples and Cultures of Latin America)

ANTH 650 Ethnographic Methods and Research Design

HNRS 131 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives

LAS 499 Research Seminar in Latin American Studies (Culture and Power, Issues of Development in the Americas)

NCLC 361 Neighborhood, Community and Identity

Recent Presentations

Invited Discussant, “Traders in Motion:  Networks, Identities, and Contestations in the Vietnamese Marketplace.” Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Leipzig/Halle, Germany, Sept. 25-26, 2014.

Keynote speaker, “Localizing Globalization:Gendered Transformations of Work in Developing Countries.”  Norwegian Research Council and the Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen, Norway. October 31st - Nov. 1st, 2013.

“Handicrafts, Tourist Guides, and Native Cuisine in Cusco, Peru: Cultural Vitality and Commodification.” Session: Tourism, Solidarity, and Imperialism in Latin American-U.S. Relations. Annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association, San Francisco, CA, May 23-26, 2012.

“The Politics of Urban Space among Street Vendors of Cusco, Peru.” Street Economies, Politics, and Urban Social Movements in the Global South. Invited Session of Society for the Anthropology of Work. American Anthropological Association Meetings. New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 2010. 

In the Media

Diane Rehm Show, Washington Post, Pacifica News

With Good Reason Interview, National Public Radio: "Adoption in America." Nov. 23, 2013.