My work focuses on communities in the United States and Mexico that have experienced significant conflict, violence, and transformation, exploring broader questions about how communities absorb crises and how individuals and cultural groups live within them. A hallmark of my projects is that I use a variety of media, including documentary film, photographic exhibits, and books, to foster reflection within the communities I study and beyond them.
My work is highly interdisciplinary in character as reflected in my affiliations with the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, and the American Studies programs at the University of Texas at Austin, where I am also the M.K. Hague Centennial Professor in Education in the department of Educational Psychology.
In this work I have gravitated toward the methodological approaches more typically associated with anthropology, American Studies, Liberal Arts, and creative non-fiction, developing a hybrid methodology that I terms ‘psychoanalytic ethnography’ because I conduct in-depth interviews that typically have a deeply psychological character.
I am a native of Mexico City, Mexico, and a US citizen. I earned my Bachelor’s degree (Psychology) at the University of California at Berkeley, and my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. I am also board certified in psychology and psychoanalysis.
2014 - Awarded M.K.Hage Centennial Professorship in Education, University of Texas College of Education
2014 - Inducted into the Texas Philosophical Society
2012 – Psychoanalysis and Social Responsibility Achievement Award
2010 - Selected to be a Fellow in the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (Creative non-fiction, 2010-2011)
2010 – Selected for Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency
2009 - Science Award, American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychoanalysis
2006 - Inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters
2005 – Runner-up Robert W. Hamilton Book Award for Best Non-Fiction
2005 Fellow, American Board of Professional Psychology
2005 Fellow in the Charles H. Spence Centennial Professorship in Education (to 2012)
2004 - Recipient Edith Sabshin Award, Outstanding Contribution to Psychoanalytic Education, American Psychoanalytic Association
2003 - (with Sarah Wilson & DJ Stout) of Digital News Award for Best Project (photography, text, design), for Exhibit book: “The Road to Redemption: Jasper, Texas, The healing of a Community Crisis”
2002 - Outstanding Contribution to Science Award, Texas Psychological Association