Highlands professor helps to create Latino scholar pipeline

The Associated Press and Web Staff
January 31, 2017 07:41 AM

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) - A Santa Fe-based nonprofit is working with an anthropology professor from New Mexico Highlands University to create a new Latino studies program at the School for Advanced Research.
Officials say the goal is to increase the pipeline for Latino scholars from throughout the nation.
Officials at the research school say they tapped Mario Gonzales' expertise in everything from immigration and border issues to indigenous people and Hispanics in the Southwest as they work to define the direction of the new program.


"There’s a lot of talent in New Mexico in Latino studies, and professor Gonzales is one of the first people we contacted for our initiative because his work is well known," said Michael Brown, president of the nonprofit School for Advanced Research. "He’s recognized as an expert in the field."

Gonzales earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington State University and joined the Highlands faculty in 2003.

"As a Latino professor, I went through academia as a minority," Gonzales said. "I want to see the next generation of Latino scholars grow and thrive, whether their ancestry is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican or Central American."

Gonzales said his heritage and personal experience as a young farmworker influenced his interest in studying indigenous cultures. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Oaxaca, a state in southwestern Mexico known for its high population of indigenous people.

 "What makes cultural anthropology so fascinating to me is that it studies what it means to be human in terms of culture, language, ethnicity, kinship, the arts, religion, politics, food and more. I tell my students to think of culture as a system of symbols you can use to decipher everything humans do," Gonzales said.

Brown says the Latino scholar program will be fully implemented later this year and will include a series of public lectures and seminars.

The School for Advanced Research, founded in 1907, supports advanced scholarship and creativity in the social sciences, humanities and Native American art.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


The Associated Press and Web Staff

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.



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