Robrerto E. Barrios


Carbondale, Illinois
United States


Professor of Anthropology


I am a Guatemalan-born anthropologist who migrated to the United States in 1987 at age 13. After settling in the suburbs of New Orleans with my family, my experiences as a transnational migrant led me to choose anthropology as a field of study at the University of New Orleans. Upon obtaining my B.A. in 1996, I enrolled in the graduate program in anthropology at the University of Florida. For my M.A. degree, I conducted an ethnography of occupational risk hazards and the politics of techno-scientific knowledge among Kanjobal Maya transnational migrants and refugees who were affected by high levels of neural tube birth defects in Lake Worth, Florida. For my Ph.D. I conducted an ethnography of housing reconstruction programs in Southern Honduras following Hurricane Mitch. Since then, I have conducted anthropological research on disaster mitigation and recovery in New Orleans, Houston, Southern Illinois, Chiapas, and the US Virgin Islands. I am specifically interested in the ways disaster recovery policies and institutional practices articulate modernist and neoliberal assumptions about the nature of social wellbeing, the built and social environments these policies enable, and the ways disaster survivors interpret, reconfigure, and sometimes subvert them.