Ruth Behar is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on folk religion, women’s lives, and personal narration in historical and contemporary Cuba, Mexico, and Spain.
Her first book, The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village: Santa Maria del Monte (1986; expanded paperback edition, 1991), uses a variety of past and present narratives to tell a multilayered story of how one village negotiated its relation to the past in the wake of social transformations that removed people from the land during the late-Franco years. She is the author of A Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story (1993), which combines a life history account with reflections on autobiographical truth. In The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart (1996), Behar explores themes of memory, identity, and emigration. Behar is also the editor of Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba (1995) and co-editor of Women Writing Culture (1995).
She is a professor in the Department of Anthropology, and is also affiliated with programs in Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies, and Latino Studies at the University of Michigan.
Behar received a B.A. (1977) from Wesleyan University, and an M.A. (1980) and Ph.D. (1983) from Princeton University.
Last updated January 1, 2005