Ruth Behar

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Ruth Behar

Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology

228-A West Hall, 1085 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48209-1107

Office Location(s): 228-A West Hall
Phone: 734.936.0365

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
    • Latina/Latino Studies
    • Women’s Studies
    • Judaic Studies
  • About

    Ruth Behar was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up in New York. She is now the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Ruth has worked as an ethnographer in Spain, Mexico, and Cuba, and is known for her humanistic approach to understanding identity, immigration, and the search for home in our global era. Her books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village; Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story; The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart; and An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba. She is co-editor of Women Writing Culture, editor of Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba, and co-editor of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, has been shown in festivals around the world. A poet as well, her work has appeared recently in Burnt Sugar/Caña Quemada: Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Her latest book is Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys.


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  • Education
    • B.A. College of Letters, Wesleyan University
    • M.A. Ph.D. Anthropology, Princeton University
  • Awards
    • MacArthur Foundation Fellows Award
    • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Award
    • Fulbright Senior Fellowship
    • Institute for the Humanities, Hunting Family Faculty Fellowship, University of Michigan
    • Wesleyan University, Distinguished Alumna Award in Recognition of Outstanding Achievement and Service
    • Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
  • Selected Publications:
  • Books