Rebecca Galemba

Rebecca Galemba

Associate Professor

Director of the Latin America Center

What I do

Through research, teaching, and community-engaged work, I draw on interdisciplinary approaches to enhance the public good and contribute to studies of social inequality in Latin America and the US. I engage students directly in research inside and outside of the classroom to prepare students to become active, critical, and reflective agents of social change around the world.

Professional Biography

I am an anthropologist who studies the intersections of globalization, illicit markets, migration, security, and labor in Mexico, Central America, and the U.S.
I teach graduate and undergraduate courses on Qualitative Research Methodologies, Cultures of Development, Migration, and Illicit Markets.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Brown University, 2009
  • MA, Anthropology, Brown University, 2005
  • BA, Latin America, Latino, and Caribbean Studies, Dartmouth College, 2003

Professional Affiliations

  • American Anthropological Association
  • Latin American Studies Association
  • International Studies Association
  • Guatemala Scholars Network
  • Society for Applied Anthropology
  • Society for Economic Anthropology


My book, Contraband Corridor: Making a Living at the Mexico-Guatemala Border (Stanford Press 2017) examines how free trade and border security policies constrain and criminalize local livelihoods, as well as how ordinary people transform relations between borders, the state, and transnational commerce.
I also conduct research on the impacts of immigration enforcement, discrimination, and weak labor protections on immigrant labor rights in the U.S. in close collaboration with community partners to shift state-level policy.
I am also pursuing a project to examine how enhanced interior immigration enforcement affects the criminal justice system across diverse Colorado counties.


  • Migrant Contingency Politics at the Mexico-Guatemala Border
  • “He used to be a pollero’: Smugglers and the Securitization of Migration at the Mexico-Guatemala Border
  • A New Approach to Street-Corner Surveys of Day Laborers in Denver, Colorado.
  • ‘Phantom Commerce’: Smuggling Economies, Regional Development, and (In)Security at the Mexico- Guatemala Border.
  • Crimmigration as Assemblage when Everyone is a Priority


  • Public Good Faculty of the Year Award, CCESL and Pioneer Awards
  • Best Dissertation Prize, New England Council of Latin American Studies
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fellowship, Brown University and NICHD