Marc Edelman has a joint appointment as Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College and the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He did his first two years of undergraduate work at the University of Chicago and then dropped out of college to travel in Mexico and Central and South America. He finished his B.A. in Anthropology at Columbia in 1975. He later obtained a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Columbia in 1985. Edelman was Research Director of the North American Congress on Latin America in 1985-87 and served on the faculty at Yale in 1987-94. He came to CUNY in 1994. He has also taught or been a visiting researcher at the University of Costa Rica, Tashkent State University, the Institute for Advanced Study, Columbia, and Princeton.
Professor Edelman has longstanding interests in development issues, environmental and agrarian problems, and social movements, particularly among peasants and small farmers. He is the author of The Logic of the Latifundio: The Large Estates of Northwestern Costa Rica since the Late Nineteenth Century (Stanford University Press, 1992; Spanish edition Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1998), which explains the persistence of large underutilized properties in a modern export economy in relation to histories of elite families, state development policies, successive export booms, and landowners’ pursuit of “institutional rents” and involvement in national politics. His latest book, Peasants Against Globalization: Rural Social Movements in Costa Rica (Stanford University Press, 1999), examines smallholding agriculturalists’ struggles against economic structural adjustment policies in the 1980s and 1990s. It provides a succinct critique of “new social movements,” “postdevelopment” and “post-peasant” theories of social change, as well as an analysis of the ethical and methodological dilemmas of “engaged” ethnography.
Edelman has also edited or contributed to several other volumes: The Costa Rica Reader (Grove, 1989, edited with Joanne Kenen), Amérique Centrale (a special 1989 issue of Les Temps Modernes edited with Philippe Bourgois), and Ciencia social en Costa Rica: Experiencias de vida e investigación (Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica, 1998, co-authored by Fabrice Lehoucq, Steven Palmer, and Iván Molina). For the past several years, Professor Edelman has been involved in research on the role of peasant and small farmer activist networks in global movements against unfettered free trade. This and other research has taken him to destinations throughout Central America, as well as to Mexico, Cuba, the United States, and Western Europe. He has served on the editorial boards of Critique of Anthropology, Culture & Agriculture, Journal of Latin American Anthropology, Latin American Research Review, and NACLA Report on the Americas. He has held grants and fellowships from a number of sources, including the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the International Research and Exchanges Board, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.