Research interests: race, gender, labor, and the environment; southern California domestic work and gardening labor; Marxism and women of color feminism; historical methods and anthropology; ethnic studies

Salvador Zarate, anthropology assistant professor, earned his bachelor’s at UC Irvine and Ph.D. in ethnic studies at UC San Diego. He spent a year as a UCI Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies and a year as a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies before joining the UCI Department of Anthropology.

His research looks at labor that shapes our everyday lives but goes largely unnoticed – like farming, landscaping, and domestic household work. He examines how racialized and immigrant work forms the backbone of U.S. society, yet the people who do this work are the most vulnerable to exploitation and social exclusion. Using ethnographic and archival research, he illuminates how these workers’ perspectives challenge the conditions of invisibility at the core of their labor to produce new forms of social belonging. The work draws from his family’s experience as farmworkers and gardening laborers and inspires his work as a labor rights activist.

His work, funded by the National Academy of Science, Ford Foundation, and the Haynes Foundation, has been published in places like Anthropology and Humanism, Aztlán: The Journal of Chicana/o Studies, and the Race and Capitalism Project. His dissertation was awarded the 2018 Ralph Henry Gabriel American Studies Association Best Dissertation Award.

An Orange County native, Zarate is excited to join a diverse community of scholars and researchers committed to helping first generation students – like himself – succeed and he’s looking forward to forming bonds between UCI and the community to support the well-being of those the university is meant to serve.

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