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Alyshia Gálvez

author and educator

latest book:

Eating NAFTA: Trade and Food Policies and the Destruction of Mexico

available on University of California Press 


"In her gripping new book, Alyshia Gálvez exposes how changes in policy following NAFTA have fundamentally altered one of the most basic elements of life in Mexico – sustenance. Mexicans are faced with a food system that favors food security over subsistence agriculture, development over sustainability, market participation over social welfare, and ideologies of self-care over public health. Trade agreements negotiated to improve lives have sometimes failed, resulting in unintended consequences for people’s everyday lives."

"This book takes us from inside the halls of a busy metropolitan hospital’s public prenatal clinic to the Oaxaca and Puebla states in Mexico to look at the ways Mexican women manage their pregnancies. The mystery of the paradox lies perhaps not in the recipes Mexican-born women have for good perinatal health, but in the prenatal encounter in the United States. Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers is a migration story and a look at the ways that immigrants are received by our medical institutions and by our society."

"Through rich ethnographic research that illuminates Catholicism as practiced by Mexicans in New York, Gálvez shows that it is through Guadalupan devotion that many undocumented immigrants are finding the will and vocabulary to demand rights, immigration reform, and respect. She also reveals how such devotion supports and emboldens immigrants in their struggle to provide for their families and create their lives in the city with dignity."



The Broken Nature Podcast at MOMA: “Is Corn Feeding a Lie?”

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Showing up in food, cosmetics, fuel, medicine—and, by consequence, in much of the air we breathe—corn has become one of the most ubiquitous presences in our lives. ...
From movie theaters to the North American Free Trade Agreement, we look at how this crop travels through our contemporary food system in surprising and sometimes devastating ways. “We produce more corn than anybody ever wanted, and then we have to come up with all these Frankensteinian methods for getting rid of it,” explains our second guest, cultural anthropologist Alyshia Gálvez.

Teaching and learning with intimidating texts: How we came to love a difficult book

Article co-authored with Lizbeth Bravo, Edith Carrasco; Kathryn Chuber; Daisy Flores and published in Teaching and Learning Anthropology .
In this article we argue for a slow, methodical, and collaborative approach to difficult texts. This article is the story of how, thanks to the efforts of the students and professor, a book that rewards diligent effort, and some creative pedagogical strategies borne of desperation, the experience of reading Alex E. Chávez’s Sounds of Crossing became a highlight of our college experience. 

Chronic Disaster: Reimagining Noncommunicable Chronic Disease

Vital Topics Forum edited by Alyshia Gálvez, Megan Carney, and Emily Yates-Doerr and the Nutrire CoLab
Chronic metabolic conditions disproportionately cohere along lines of race, gender, class, and citizenship. Despite overwhelming evidence that racism, gendered violence, so-cial and economic disparities, trade regulations, lack of food sovereignty, and land and livelihood dispossession play the biggest roles in chronic disease, the biomedical explanations given for why people become sick are often firmly rooted in personal behavior or “lifestyle.”

Human Centered Trade:

Still Possible?

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In early May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexican tomatoes, pushed at least in part by Florida tomato farmers who couldn’t compete with Mexican growers. The current North American tomato market is a product of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in which Mexico turned toward large-scale industrialized fruit and vegetable export agriculture and free trade was imagined to level the playing field. Why would tariffs, the antithesis of free trade, be proposed as a solution to a free trade produced problem? First, we have to see what NAFTA intended to do and what it has actually done...Read more...

In Central Park, white privilege has been weaponized before

On Memorial Day, a few blocks from where I live, a white woman illegally walking her dog off-leash called the police on a black man birdwatching. She screeched, her hands trembling as she dialed 911 and concocted a story directly contradicted by video evidence tweeted by the man’s sister. Even though she soon apologized, many on Twitter found it empty, and accused the white woman of weaponizing her white privilege.
She did not do so in a neutral place. Read more...

The Future Is Now: Alyshia Gálvez and Sean Sherman On Building Indigenous Futures

MOLD’s series on Degrowth explores how activists, farmers, and scholars have sought to create more resilient communities and food systems in rejection of the drive for infinite economic growth.


Twitter Feed


  • 2022     Public Lecture, “How global trade gets into our bodies: food justice and human mobility in the age of NAFTA,” The Institute for Studies of Latin America at Baruch College, April 4, 2022.

  • 2022    Presentation, “Reflecting on 10 Years of the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute,” 10th Anniversary Celebration of CUNY Mexican Studies Institute, CUNY Graduate Center, March 28, 2022.

  • 2022    Lecture,  Curso Ambientes Alimentarios y Redes Agroalimentarias, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), March 8, 2022. Video.    

  • 2022     Workshop, "¿Cómo están conectados los tratados de libre comercio con nuestra salud?, Campbell Foundation, January 27, 2022


  • 2021    Keynote, Campbell Foundation, Oct. 2021.

  • 2021    Panelist, Children in All Policies, CAP-2030’, “Are we selling children & adolescents a lifetime of ill-health?” July 7, 2021.

  • 2021    Panelist, The Social Determinants of Mental Health: Implications for Clinical Practice, NYU, June 23, 2021.

  • 2021    Roundtable discussant, “Roundtable: Diet and Displacement: A Critical Roundtable on the Migration-Food Security Nexus,” and “El Susto,” Just Food Conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society, June 9-15, 2021.

  • 2021    Workshop leader, “Exploring Inductive Approaches for Delivery of Service: 

  • Building Meaningful Collaborations with Families” with Cesar Zuniga, Parent Child + Conference, May 20, 2021.

  • 2021    Panelist, “Worlds in Contention,” Ohio State University, May 7-8, 2021.

  • 2021    Moderator, Panel, Teaching with Transformative Texts, Lehman College, April 12, 2021.

  • 2021    Guest lecture, Lehman College, Bertrade Banoum, instructor, (virtual) April 26, 2021.

  • 2021    “Food sovereignty and cultural agency: how a human-scaled trade and food policy would benefit us all.” Grain School, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, April 1, 2021.


Speaking Engagements (recent)

Upcoming Speakng Engagements


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Alyshia Gálvez is a cultural and medical anthropologist. She is professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at Lehman College and of anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  Most of her work is at the intersection of migration, health and conceptualizations of citizenship. She is currently conducting new research on epistemologies of food, health, and nutrition, as well as, in a separate project, the colonial assumptions underlying higher education pedagogies, technologies and bureaucracies. She is also engaged in a personal writing project about her natal family’s efforts alternately to grapple with and deny its own relationship to settler colonialism, tentatively entitled “White Nonsense.” The title is a nod to what Miles Davis reportedly told Prince, that he “believed in only two categories of thinking: the truth and white bullshit.” 

Gálvez is the author of Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies and the Destruction of Mexico (UC Press, 2018) on changing food policies, systems and practices in Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States, including the ways they are impacted by trade and economic policy, and their public health implications. She is the author of two previous books on Mexican migration, Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers Mexican Women, Public Prenatal Care and the Birth Weight Paradox (Rutgers University Press, Oct. 2011) and Guadalupe in New York: Devotion and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights among Mexican Immigrants (NYU Press, Dec. 2009).  Click here for a complete CV. 

photo by Eduardo Resendiz Gómez, 2021.



For inquiries, send an email here.

If you are a current or former student, requesting a letter of recommendation, click here.

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