Collegiate Affiliation

M. Bianet Castellanos is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of American Studies and the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study. Her book, Indigenous Dispossession: Housing and Maya Indebtedness in Mexico (Stanford University Press 2021), analyzes how Maya families make sense of the cultural, political, and legal ramifications of neoliberal housing policies that privilege mortgage finance over land redistribution. It was awarded the 2022 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, 2022 Arthur J. Rubel Book Prize, and 2021 Edward M. Bruner Book Prize, and was a finalist for the 2023 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize. 

Her other works include A Return to Servitude: Maya Migration and the Tourist Trade in Cancún (University of Minnesota Press 2010), Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach, which she co-edited with Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera and Arturo Aldama (University of Arizona Press 2012), and the anthology Detours: Travel and the Ethics of Research in the Global South (University of Arizona Press 2019). She edited a forum on settler colonialism in Latin America for America Quarterly and has contributed to the Radical Housing Journal, Latino Studies, NACLA, Aztlán, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Frontiers, among others. She serves on the editorial boards of American Quarterly, Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Aztlán, Open Rivers, and Settler Colonial Studies. 

She recently co-edited the special double issue Unsettling Global Midwests for American Studies Journal with Christopher Perreira, Thomas Sarmiento, and Jessica Lopez Lyman. Her new research examines settler colonialism in western Mexico and the cultural politics of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican migrations and displacements in this region.  

She is a member of the Critical Latinx Indigeneities Working Group, the INRS Dialog, and Mexico’s Sistema Nacional de Investigadores. She teaches courses on Indigenous urbanisms; immigration; tourism; women, rage, and politics; American politics and popular culture; and the US-Mexico border.

Educational Background & Specialties
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Educational Background

  • PhD: Anthropology, University of Michigan, 2003
  • MA: Anthropology, University of Michigan
  • BA: Anthropology, Stanford University
  • Certificate: Women’s Studies, Programa Internacional de Estudios de la Mujer, Colegio de México


  • Indigenous communities
  • Migration
  • Anthropology of work
  • Chicana/o studies
  • Latin America
  • Transnationalism
  • Gender studies
  • tourism
  • settler colonialism