- Existence: 1948
Deborah Pacini-Hernandez is professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Tufts University. She was born in the US, her father from the US and her mother from Colombia. From the age of three to eleven she lived with her family in Columbia. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, she moved back to Colombia for five years. She received her masters and Ph.D. at Cornell University, and was a full professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She taught at Brown before arriving at Tufts.
Pacini-Hernandez's research interests include popular music studies, comparative Latino studies, and community studies with a regional focus on Spanish Caribbean Latinos in the US; Latin America and the Caribbean, specializing in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Cuba.
Awards Professor Pacini-Hernandez has received include a Rockefeller Foundation conference grant, an American Philosophical Society General Grant, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers. She has published extensively on Latino and Latin American as well as Caribbean popular music, on coca, resource development and indigenous people, and Latino communities in the US.
The Tufts anthropology course Urban Borderlands is based on a course Pacini-Hernandez taught previously at Brown University. That class was principally a reading course, but students also interviewed Dominicans and Colombians living in Providence, R.I. Once at Tufts, Pacini-Hernandez adapted the class because, at the time, there were no Latino communities close to the Tufts campus. Then "she learned about Concilio Hispano, the oldest multi-service agency in Cambridge and discovered that although there has been a Latino community in Cambridge since the 1950s, there were few, if any, written records about it." Out of her collaboration with Concilio Hispano developed Urban Borderlands -- as an example of "public anthropology"-- an approach to the discipline that encourages active citizenship and contributions to communities beyond the academic world.