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Dr. Judith Freidenberg, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, received a Grant Proposal Assistance Award from the Center for Heritage Resource Studies to assist with her project

The Anthropology of the Immigrant Life-Course (see below).”

Her work on immigrant communities has led her to

Harlem, New York,


Langley Park, Maryland, and


Villa Clara in Argentina.

She also is working on a book
"The Invention of the Jewish Gauchos"
stemming from her work in Argentina.

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The Anthropology of the Immigrant Life Course Research Program

Mission Statement

The State of Maryland is rapidly changing its population profile, with an unprecedented influx of immigrants from all over the world. The research community has paid insufficient attention to this growing sector of the population, and little is known particularly regarding socio-economic interactions, impact on inter-ethnic relationships at the neighborhood level, and the structure of opportunity available to immigrants in the labor, health, and housing sectors of the economy. The policy community, on the other hand, relying on population statistics that undercount many invisible populations, has primarily focused on the social problems created by the newly arrived, particularly as they put pressure on some inadequately funded services.

This Program proposes to build links to the research and the policy communities so that policy issues can be researched to contribute to our knowledge-base of the New American. Research will be conducted in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in the state of Maryland. Projects conducted under this program include Elderly Latinos and Retirement Experiences, Immigrant Women and Work, Inside/Out: Growing Old in the United States (in collaboration with the Center on Latino Initiatives, Smithsonian Institution), Immigrant Community Museums (sponsored by the Center for Heritage Studies, UMCP), and University Boulevard Ethnographic Mapping.

One major problem is access to healthcare among the immigrant populations in the study area. In order to understand the types of barriers to healthcare, it is necessary to understand the structure of social interactions among stakeholders in the community. Specifically, the program will examine 1. Health as social health, that is, health understood within the context of labor, housing, and income issues. 2. Health with respect to social inclusion, namely, studying the effects of internalized social inequalities among immigrants on access to healthcare. 3. Health as related to social interactions, that is, understanding how patterns of interaction among community members from various backgrounds affect access to health services. The research program utilizes ethnography, population surveys and media analysis to understand access to healthcare from the perspective of four stakeholders in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties: immigrants, media, government agencies and non-governmental organizations.

The Program Director is Judith Freidenberg, Associate Professor with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland. Her team includes undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds who gain honorary mention or credit from a variety of mechanisms (Undergraduate, Research Assistant Program, Honors Program, and Experiential Learning Programs). The Program seeks community partnerships in the field area, and collaborative arrangements with researchers in the fields of immigration and healthcare in the D.C. metropolitan area.

For further information about the Program, please call Dr. Freidenberg at (301) 405-1420,
or e-mail her at jfreiden@anth.umd.edu.

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