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Arlene Davila

Professor of Anthropology , Social and Cultural Analysis

Ph.D. 1996 (Cultural Anthropology), The Graduate Center, CUNY; M.A. 1990 (Anthropology and Museum Studies), NYU; B.A. 1987 (Anthropology), Tufts University.

Office Address: 

Rufus D. Smith Hall 25 Waverly Place New York, NY 10003





Areas of Research/Interest: 

comparative race/ethnic studies, media studies; political economy, globalization; visual culture, urban studies; consumption; Latinos in the U.S., Latino/Latin American studies.

External Affiliations:

American Anthropological Association, Puerto Rican Studies Association, American Studies Association, Latin American Studies Association.


El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America. Berkeley: UC Press. Forthcoming Jan, 2016

Culture Works: Space, Value and Mobility Across the Neoliberal Americas. NYU Press, 2012.

Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race. NYU Press, 2008

Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos and the Neoliberal City. University of California Press, 2004

Latinos Inc.: Marketing and the Making of a People. University of California Press, 2001.

Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York, co-edited with Agustin Lao. Columbia University Press, 2001.

Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico. Temple Univeristy Press, 1997


2014 Contemporary Latin@ Media: Production, Circulation and Politics (edited with Yeidy Rivero) New York University Press.

2014 On Latin@s and the Immigration Debate. Edited Vital Subjects Dossier in American Anthropologist Vol. 116, No. 1, pp. 146–159,

2014 Locating Neoliberalism in Time, Space and Culture. American Quarterly. Vol 66 (3): 549-555.

To Stop Tiptoeing Around Race: What Arizona's Battle Against Ethnic Studies Can Teach Academics. Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture, Volume 19, Number 4, 1 July 2012, pp. 411-417.

2004 El Barrio's 'We Are Watching You Campaign:' On the Politics of Inclusion in a Latinized Museum. AZTLAN: A Journal of Chicano Studies. 30 (1): 153-178.

2004 Empowered Culture? New York City's empowerment Zone and the Selling of El Barrio. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 594: 49-64. 

2001 Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York (edited volume, co-editor with Agustin Lao). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Current News/Projects
Updated March 2014

This past year I’ve been busy editing two collaborative projects:  an interdisciplinary volume on the current state of Latino/a media industries, Latin@ Media Now: On Production, Circulation and Politics, co-edited with Yeidy Rivero and due out from NYU Press in fall 2014, and a “Vital Subjects” dossier on “Latinos and the Immigration debate” with American Anthropologist that will come out March 2014.

Additionally, thanks to a research grant from the Provostial Research Fund, I continued my current ethnographic research on the intersections between urban planning, “new middle class identities” and shopping mall cultures in Latin America focusing in particular on the case of Colombia. I also continued to present talks on my last book Culture Works: Space, Value and Mobility Across the neoliberal Americas, the highlight of which was a week-long stay at Arizona State University as Scholar in Residence in their School of Transborder Studies.  I was also busy organizing a series of events for Latina/o Studies, including a panel on the state of Latina/o Contemporary Art and a conference on "Critical Latin@ Urbanisms." I will be on leave this Spring and the Fall 2014 working on a book on shopping mall cultures in Latin America and starting a collaborative project with my colleague Helena Hansen on ethnic marketing and pharmaceutical companies.

Updated on 08/24/2015