Michael L. Vasquez, PhD

Vasquez 

BA, University of California-Berkeley 1970
MA, San Francisco State University 1980
MS, PhD, University of California-Davis 1989

Specialty areas:

  • applied
  • indigenous agriculture
  • cultural ecology
  • globalization
  • agricultural development
  • community-based research
  • US Southwest, Central America

Biography

Dr. Michael Vasquez is an applied anthropologist who has worked with Mayan, Latino, Native American, African American, and Southeast Asian refugee communities for more than 25 five years in the areas of globalization and its impacts, traditional ecological knowledge, community-based participatory research, and rapid qualitative assessment techniques.

He has provided consultation for the Hopi Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe, the National Park Service, the World Health Organization, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.   He has served on the Executive Committee of the Society for Applied Anthropology, the International Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, the Arizona Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, and the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Northern Arizona.

Vasquez’s work at NAU has focused on community-based ethnography and applied anthropology with both local indigenous groups and minority communities across the country.

Vasquez’s work in Arizona has emphasized reciprocity between the NAU, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (HCPO), and diverse projects, to strengthen both local community cultural assets and the educational experience for both native and non-native students.

The NAU-HCPO Memoran­dum of Agreement exists as an outgrowth of this work. Collaboration between villagers and NAU anthropologists began with the Bacavi Terrace Project, which involved physical restoration of 700 year old terrace gardens, as well as documentation and education of local youth in traditional ecological knowledge.

The project has given rise to several other Hopi agricultural projects and annual planting and harvesting with elderly Hopi farmers. As ties between the department and the HCPO have developed, so have other projects. Together with other NAU faculty, the HCPO, the National Park Service, and the Hopi Foundation, Vasquez helped to develop a Ruins Preservation Training Workshop for unemployed Hopi youth, which has generated careers in cultural preservation and a new interest in the relevance of anthropology for the Hopi.

NAU students in collaboration with the HCPO, have transcribed tapes for tribal archives, developed a cultural curriculum with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, conducted research in cultural affiliation, developed media materials on health and nutrition for the Hopi Health Center, and created the HCPO site, which won the national student award of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Most recently, he has served as a consultant for the NEH-funded Hopi Foot prints Project to develop K-8 cultural curriculum with several reservation schools.

Another focus of his work in the past few years has been as Trainer, Evaluator, or Project Analyst for different programs of the RARE (Rapid Assessment Response and Evaluation) Project, working with minority communities in 15 U.S. cities to reduce HIV/AIDS risk factors. This work, sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, has helped to significantly reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS in African American and Latino communities.

Current research and applied projects

RARE Projects

In the past few years Dr. Vasquez has been a Trainer, Evaluator, and Project Analyst for different programs of the RARE (Rapid Assessment Response and Evaluation) Project, working with minority communities in 15 U.S. cities to reduce HIV/AIDS risk factors.   

This work, sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, has helped to significantly reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS in African American and Latino communities.

Applied cultural research with Hopi

As an applied anthropologist at NAU, Dr. Miguel Vasquez has emphasized reciprocity between NAU and the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (HCPO) to strengthen both local community cultural assets and the educational experience for both native and non-native students. The NAU-HCPO Memoran­dum of Agreement exists as an outgrowth of this work.

Collaboration between villagers and NAU anthropologists began with the Bacavi Terrace Project, which involved physical restoration of 700 year old terrace gardens, as well as documentation and education of local youth in traditional ecological knowledge.   The project has given rise to several other Hopi agricultural projects and annual planting and harvesting with elderly Hopi farmers. As ties between the department and the HCPO have developed, so have other projects. 

Together with other NAU faculty, the HCPO, the National Park Service, and the Hopi Foundation, Vasquez helped to develop a Ruins Preservation Training Workshop for unemployed Hopi youth, which has generated careers in cultural preservation and a new interest in the relevance of anthropology for the Hopi.

NAU students in collaboration with the HCPO, have transcribed tapes for tribal archives, developed a cultural curriculum with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, conducted research in cultural affiliation, developed media materials on health and nutrition for the Hopi Health Center, and created the HCPO web site, which won the national student award of the Society for Applied Anthropology.  

Affiliations

Read more
  • Chair, Coconino County Hispanic Advisory Council, 2007present
  • Board Member, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future – 2007-present
  • Board Member, Arboretum at Flagstaff 2007-2008
  • Member, Coconino County Hispanic Advisory Council, 2002-2007present
  • Trustee, Museum of Northern Arizona 2001-2007
  • Mentor, Pipeline Program, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Flagstaff, 2001-2002
  • Board Member, Arizona Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, 1996-present
  • Member, Advisory Board, Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association, 1996-2002
  • Member, Executive Committee, International Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, 1994-2000

Service

Read more

Professional

  • Society for Applied Anthropology Conference Program Committee 1999
  • Fellowship Review Committee, National Academy of Sciences 1998
  • Executive Committee, Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) 1997-2000
  • Advisory Board, SfAA-U.S. EPA Internship/Fellowship Program 1997-2000
  • Fellowship Review Committee, Ford Foundation 1996 - present

Northern Arizona University

  • SBS Promotion and Tenure Committee
  • University Curriculum Committee, Diversity Sub-Committee, 2008
  • Faculty Search Committees: Anthropology, Education, History, and Spanish Departments
  • Advisory Committee for Freshman Year Experience 2007
  • Advisory Committee for Program in Community, Culture, and Environment 2007
  • Advisory Committee for Program in Masters of Liberal Studies 2002-present
  • Faculty Advisor, Black Mesa Water Coalition, 2002-2006
  • Executive Board Member, NAU Commission on Ethnic Diversity, 2000-present
  • Coordinator, Southwest Studies Minor/Hispanic Presencia Residential Program, 1998-2002
  • Ponderosa (Faculty Environmental Group), 1998-2002
  • Faculty Advisor, MEChA (Movement Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan), 1997-2000

Department of Anthropology

  • Founder/Coordinator Ferrell Secakuku Memorial Scholarship Endowment 2008-present
  • Scholarship Committee 2007-present
  • Committee on Faculty Status 2002-2003
  • Graduate Admissions Committee 1991- present

Teaching

Read more

Peoples of the World (ANT 301)

This course is an ethnographic exploration the global impacts of capitalism on humankind across cultures, and our prospects at the beginning of the 21st century.  In examining capitalist culture as it effects selected contemporary ethnic groups, from hunter/gatherers to post-industrial societies, we will investigate the components of culture, processes of stability and change, and human adaptation to local and global environments. 

The course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to: explore the economic and environmental factors which influence the cultural development of diverse human societies; develop an awareness of the diversity of cultural responses to human needs; develop a more complete understanding of the concept of culture and culture change in the modern world; and gain a better understanding of ourselves and our future as human beings and participants in a global/multicultural society.  

Peoples of the Southwest (ANT 306)

This course is an ethnographic exploration of selected people and cultures of the Southwest. It is designed to provide an understanding of the diverse communities and rich cultures of this area, examining social, cultural, historical, political, economic, and ecological factors, which have shaped these groups and their interactions. 

In examining cultures of the region, from hunter/gatherers to post-industrial societies, we will utilize a cultural ecological approach to investigate processes of stability and change, human adaptations and maladaptations to local, regional, national and global environments, and current issues and problems.

Classroom activities will include lectures, guest speakers, discussion, audio-visuals, small group activities, and examinations.

Anthropology of Development (ANT 548)

This seminar is designed to familiarize graduate students with current anthropological perspectives on historical, theoretical, and methodological aspects of development.  During the first half of the class, we will focus on the cultural ecology and political economy of underdevelopment; while the second part will focus on sustainable rural development in the US, Latin America, and Asia.  

Classroom activities will include presentations by the professor, guest speakers, and students, discussion, audio-visuals, and small group activities. Out-of-class work will include extensive reading and writing assignments, a take-home midterm, and a term project.  This course will provide students an opportunity to:

  • examine in some detail the historical and environmental factors, which have influenced the socio-economic development or underdevelopment of diverse human groups;
  • develop a systematic understanding of cultural adaptations in development;
  • gain a better understanding of ourselves as human beings and as members and participants in a culture (or cultures); and
  • develop a more complete understanding of the possibilities and constraints of sustainable development in the emerging world of the 21st century.

Ethnographic Research Methods (ANT 569)

This is a rigorous seminar designed to familiarize graduate students with issues involved in ethnographic inquiry, methods used in ethnographic research, and the process of doing ethnographic writing. 

Course activities include presentations by students, the professor, and guest speakers, as well as discussion, audio-visuals, and small group activities.  Out of class work includes extensive reading and writing assignments, diverse individual and group ethnographic exercises, and an ethnography as term paper.  This course will help students:

  • examine in some detail a diverse array of ethnographic tools
  • develop a practical understanding of ethnographic tool and methods
  • gain a better understanding of themselves as ethnographers, including their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies as researchers
  • develop a more complete understanding of the possibilities and constraints of ethnographic research in the emerging world of the 21st century

Southwest Ethnology:   Pueblo (ANT 615)

Surveys Southwest Pueblo Indian cultures and their immediate historical antecedents.

Community, Technology, and Values (MLS 602)

The purpose of this course is to consider big ideas as they are related to the possibility of good and sustainable societies. Some of the big ideas that will be considered are: globalization, capitalism, religion, environmental sustainability, democracy, and social justice. Students will be encouraged to reflect on what kinds of social arrangements are desirable and feasible.

Publications

Read more

Articles

2002 “Cultural Integrity in Non-Traditional Societies: Cuba Encounters the Global Market System”, Cultural Dynamics (Special Issue): "The Right to Culture: Policy Dilemmas and Challenges." Summer. 

2001 “Latinos: Viva la Diferencia”, Cultural Resource Management, Vol. 24, No. 5, Pages 22-23, Spring.

2000 "Native People and the Challenge of Computers: Reservation Schools, Individualism, & Consumerism”, (With C. Bowers and Mary Roaf) American Indian Quarterly, Vol.24, No. 2.

“Native Food Crops” in Plant Sciences for Students, R.Robinson, Editor-in-Chief. MacMillan USA.

1999 “An Applied Anthropologist in Cuba”, Practicing Anthropology, Vol. 21, No. 3, Pages 32-33, Summer.

1994 "Reciprocity and Sustainability: Terrace Restoration on 3rd Mesa", (with Leigh Jenkins) PracticingAnthropology, Vol. 16, No. 2, Pages 14-17, Spring. 

1992 "Cultural Perspectives on Economic Development on Arizona's Native American Reservations", (with George Van Otten) Journal of Cultural Geography, Vol. 13:2., Pages 37-53, Spring.

1990 "Havasupai and Uranium Mining", Cultural Survival, Summer.

Book chapters

2007 “Restoring for Cultural-Ecological Sustainability in Arizona and Connecticut” (with David Casagrande) chapter in edited volume Restoria: Renewing the Land, Recovering the Past, (Marcus Hall, editor) accepted for publication by MIT Press.

2001 “The Hopi of Arizona” in Endangered Peoples: North America and the Caribbean, T. Greaves, editor, Greenwood Press.

Other media

2007 “Restoring for Cultural-Ecological Sustainability in Arizona and Connecticut” (with David Casagrande) chapter in edited volume Restoria: Renewing the Land, Recovering the Past, (Marcus Hall, editor) accepted for publication by MIT Press.

2001 “The Hopi of Arizona” in Endangered Peoples: North America and the Caribbean, T. Greaves, editor, Greenwood Press.

1996 Editor, Hopi Cultural Preservation Office World Wide Web Site (a collaborative effort with HCPO staff and graduate students from NAU Pueblo Ethnography Seminar.)

1991 "Farmers of the Grand Canyon". Flagstaff, AZ: 28 minute video documentary produced in collaboration with the Havasupai Tribal Council.

Reports, technical papers

2005 Final Report of the Rapid Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (RARE) Project: Care System Assessment Demonstration Project , (with Leah Kedar) for the United States Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. Washington, D.C.

2004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS, Care System Assessment Demonstration Project Technical Report for Orange County, CA.

2004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS, Rapid Assessment, Response, and Evaluation for System Assessment Workbook”, with R. Needle, R. Trotter, C. Bates, M. Singer, R. Conviser, and M. Pound.

2004 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS, RARE Technical Reports for: Baton Rouge, LA; Orlando, FL; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC; and San Jose, CA.

2003 2003 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS, RARE Technical Reports for: McAllen, TX; Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA; and Tucson, AZ.

2003 Alemán, S., Medina, S., Vásquez, M.. Understanding the Experience of Ethnically/Racially Diverse Faculty at NAU”. NAU Commission on Ethnic Diversity Publications.

1998 World Health Organization.- "Manual de la Red de Hispano Hablantes para Gente Con Descapacidades", with R. Trotter and D. Martinez.

1997 “The Hopi-NAU Program: Progress Report 1995-1997- NAU - Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, NAU Department of Anthropology, (with Chris Downum).

1995 "Bacavi Drip Irrigation Manual", (with Audrey Deaton) Flagstaff, AZ

Translations (English-Spanish)

2001 “Arizona Positive Behavior Support Program” for NAU Institute for Human Development.

2000 “Do It Yourself Legal Library” Coconino Legal Aide Web site, Flagstaff.

Monographs

1989 "The Expansion of Simple Commodity Production at the Core: The Case of California Agriculture. Ph.D Dissertation: University Microfilms, Ann Arbor., MI.

1980 "Appropriate Technology in the Cuchumatanes: Grassroots Development in a Kanjobal-Maya Community". Unpublished Masters' Thesis, San Francisco State University, San Francisco.

Recent honors and awards

Read more

2009

Recipient of Presidents Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award

2008

Recipient, Presidents Faculty Award, Northern Arizona University

Nominee for Presidents Distinguished Teaching Award, Northern Arizona University

Invited Speaker for Martin Springer Institute Moral Courage Award, Northern Arizona University

2007

Invited Participant, Ancient Voices - Contemporary Contexts: A People’s Cross-Cultural Forum, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada

Invited Participant, Whole Thinking Dialogues for Environmental and Social Justice Leaders, Center for Whole Communities, Fayston, VT.

Nominee, Martin Springer Institute Moral Courage Award, Northern Arizona University

2006

Certificate of Recognition, NAU Commission on Ethnic Diversity