Enrique J. Mayer, PhD

Department of Anthropology
Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520, USA


Dr. Mayer is an anthropologist with more than thirty years of professional activity in Peru, Mexico and the United States.
He was born in 1944 in the highlands of Peru in Huancayo. He was educated at home and in American Methodist mission schools until he finished high school. In 1960 his parents sent him to England where he studied economics and anthropology at the London School of Economics. He did his graduate work at Cornell University in New York State from 1966 to 1974, majoring in Anthropology with minors in Latin American Studies and Rural Sociology. He has been interested in Latin American peasant populations ever since. After his PhD, he continued studying the ecological, organizational and economic determinants of Andean traditional agriculture with grants from the Social Science Research Council in 1974, the Social Science Unit of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru in 1976, and the National Science Foundation, 1984-86. His monographs have reached wide circulation and his methods have been replicated and adapted in many countries. He has also participated as consultant in social science projects in Peru and elsewhere through the Ministry of Education, the International Potato Center, the World Health Organization, the Social Science Research Council, and AID in Latin America.
His professional career as a university teacher began at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Lima, Peru (1970-1978). As Coordinator of the Masters Program in Anthropology, he helped form an early generation of Peruvian social scientists. In 1979 he moved to Mexico City where he took over the Department of Anthropological Research at the Interamerican Indian Institute. This Institute is part of the OAS and is concerned with promoting programs and policies towards the 30 million Indian peoples of the Americas. His tasks were long-range research and administration. He developed position papers and projects. He organized international conferences, workshops and congresses. The aspect of his job he liked best was as editor of the Institutos prestigious journal, América Indígena.
In 1982 he joined the Faculty of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He was appointed Director of the Center in 1985, a position he held for eight years. In 1995 he was appointed Professor at the Department of Anthropology in Yale University. He was the Chair of the Council for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Yale from 2004-2007. He retired in 2009.
He is active in academic affairs in a variety of ways. He has served on the Editorial Board of the LASA Forum (Latin American Studies Association) and the journal Human Ecology. He was a member of the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies of the Social Science Research Council from 1989 to 1992. He served as a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution in 1988-89. He has worked on minority affairs in university settings and was involved in efforts by the University of Illinois to establish a Latino Studies Program, and he keeps working on issues of bio-diversity in food crops in peasant agricultural systems.
Above all, he is an academic with a strong commitment to teaching and research. His undergraduate course on Peoples and Cultures in South America remains popular. For twelve years he has regularly taught advanced graduate seminars on Ecology and Economics in Agrarian Systems and Peasants in Latin America. His best known books are The Articulated Peasant: Household Economies in the Andes, Boulder, Westview Press came out in 2002. A Spanish Translation of the book is Casa, Chacra y Dinero: Economías Domésticas en los Andes, and Ugly Stories of the Peruvian Agrarian Reform (Duke 2009) and in Spanish Cuentos Feos de la Reforma Agraria Peruana (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Lima 2009).

Research Interest

His research interesrs include: Anthropology.

Scientific Activities


• Latin American Studies Association
• American Anthropological Association
• Society for Economic Anthropology
• New England Council of Latin American Studies
• Seminario Permanente de Investigación Agraria


1. Mayer E. Reciprocity, Self-Sufficiency and Market Relations in a Contemporary Community in the Central Andes of Peru. Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell University; 1974.
2. Martel F, Mayer E. Comunidad y Producción en la Agricultura Andina. Lima, Peru: Fomciencias; 1988.
3. Mayer E, De La CM. Cooperación y Conflicto en las Comunidades Andinas. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos; 1989: 187.
4. Mayer E, Glave M. La Chacra de Papas: Economía y Ecología. Lima, Peru: . Centro Peruano de Investigación Social (CEPES); 1992.
5. Mayer E. The Articulated Peasant: Household Economies in the Andes. Peru: Westview Press; 2002.
6. Mayer E. Casa, Chacra y Dinero: Economías Domésticas en los Andes. Lima, Peru : Instituto de Estudios Peruanos; 2004.
7. Mayer E. Ugly Stories of the Peruvian Agrarian Reform. Peru: Duke University Press; 2009.
8. Mayer E. Cuentos feos de la reforma agraria en el Perú. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos; 2009.
9. Mayer E, Lima FM. Kausanamunay: Queriendo la Vida: Sistemas económicos en las comunidades campesinas del Peru. Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial del Congreso del Perú; 2015.