B.A., Carleton College (1979); Ph.D., Brandeis (1987)
Lynn Stephen is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Anthropology, and a participating faculty member in Ethnic Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She founded the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS, http://cllas.uoregon.edu/) and served as director for 9 years (2007-2016), served as chair of the Department of Anthropology from 2001-2004, and was a co-coordinator for the Americas in a Globalized World “Big Idea,” Strategic Initiative at the University of Oregon from 2009-2011.
Her scholarly work centers on the impact of globalization, migration, nationalism and the politics of culture on indigenous communities in the Americas. She engages political-economy, ethnohistory, and ethnography to create a hemispheric lens on major challenges faced by indigenous peoples (out-migration, tourism, economic development, and low-intensity war) and their creative responses to these challenges. Her work highlights indigenous epistemologies and their theoretical and methodological relevance to advancing our knowledge of human-environmental connectivity. She has also produced ground-breaking analysis on gender, economic development, and migration; globalization and social movements, indigenous autonomy, and the history of Latino communities spread across multiple borders through her concept of transborder communities and migrations. She has a strong commitment to collaborative research projects that produce findings accessible to the wider public and her work includes films such as Sad Happiness: Cinthya’s Transborder Journey (https://vimeo.com/154235511) and websites (see http://faceofoaxaca.uoregon.edu/introduction/) as well as scholarly publications.
She is currently engaged in two projects. The first is a book titled Testimony, Social Memory and the Public Sphere: Elena Poniatowska’s Crónicas in Mexico. What role do testimony and testimonial writing play in creating social and historical memory? This question frames her project on Elena Poniatowska’s crónicas and role as a political actor in Mexico. Sometimes described as testimonial narrative, the crónica form includes short reportorial essays written for newspapers and substantially longer pieces published as books. This book addresses how crónica writing and publishing intersects with key political events (and social memory of these events) to broaden the public sphere and create new political futures by changing ideas about who belongs in the nation.
Her second research project is collaboration with Dr. Erin Beck (Political Science, UO) and Dr. Gabriela Martínez (Journalism and Communication, UO), exploring access to gendered justice for indigenous women in Guatemala and Mam indigenous refugee women in the U.S. What are the structural opportunities and challenges that facilitate and impede indigenous women’s access to gendered justice in Guatemala and the U.S? This project explores this question through comparative research on two routes to gendered justice that some indigenous Guatemalan women have used: specialized courts for Crimes of Femicide and other Forms of Violence Against Women in Guatemala and gender-based asylum in U.S. immigration courts. Fieldwork is ongoing in several locations in Guatemala as well as in the state of Oregon in the U.S.
Stephen has authored or edited 11 books, three special journal issues and over 80 scholarly articles. Recent books include We are the Face of Oaxaca: Testimony and Social Movements (Duke University Press, 2013; forthcoming in Spanish in 2016), Otros Saberes: Collaborative Research on Indigenous and Afro-Descendent Cultural Politics (Charles R. Hale co-editor, School for American Research Press, 2013) and Transborder Lives: Indigenous Oaxacans in Mexico, California, and Oregon (Duke University Press, 2007). She has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for Humanities, the Center for U.S.- Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, The Mexican Academy of Sciences, as well as grants for research and development grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Inter-American Foundation. She has also won national and international honors and book prizes from professional associations.
With colleagues, UO graduate and undergraduate students, Stephen built “Latino Roots,” a fifteen panel traveling exhibit (http://cllas.uoregon.edu/research-action-projects/latino-roots/), bilingual book and 52 short documentaries that have reached more than 32,000 people in Oregon (see http://latinoroots.uoregon.edu/our-course/). Her commitment to mentoring Latino and Native American and other minority students to diversify the academy was recognized by the University of Oregon with the 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Award for contributions to equity and diversity. As co-coordinator for the Otros Saberes (Other Knowledges) Project of the Latin American Studies Association, she raised funds for and mentored research teams of afro-descendent and indigenous community members and academic researchers in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico. She is currently working as a core committee member of AAA to develop the next large public education project of the American Anthropological Association titled, World on the Move: 100,000 Years of Human Migration.
rights claiming (human, indigenous, women’s)
intersectional analysis: gender; race, ethnicity, class
autonomy, nationalism, and globalization
testimony, time, social and historical memory
cultural and political relations of power
Native peoples and indigenous epistemologies
transnational/transborder cultures, movements, communities
Primary research carried out in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and the U.S.
social theory; ethnographic methods; ethics and epistemologies; immigration, race and gender; Latino history and ethnography, oral history and documentary film-making; anthropology of chocolate; indigenous peoples; Latin American Studies