Kiran Jayaram

Assistant Professor


Office: SOC 118


My life has been a study in border crossing. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri but brought home and raised in Kansas. A child of rural elite migrants, I learned to appreciate eating rice and yogurt (a South Indian dish) as much as riding go-carts (a rural Kansan wish). At different stages, I attended both private and public elementary schools, Jesuit and public high schools, and Ivy League and public universities. I have conducted research in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as Cuba and the United States.


  • 2014 Ph.D., Applied Anthropology, Columbia University/Teachers College
  • 2011 M. Phil., Applied Anthropology, Columbia University/Teachers College
  • 2002 M.A., Latin American studies, University of Kansas
  • 1998 B.A., Mathematics, University of Kansas
  • 1995 A.A., General Studies, Johnson County Community College

Professional Experience

  • 2017-present Assistant Professor, Anthropology. University of South Florida
  • 2015-2017 Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Black Studies. York College (CUNY)
  • 2014-2017 Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculté d'Ethnologie. Université d'Etat d'Haïti
  • 2014-2015 Lecturer, African and African-American Studies. University of Kansas
  • 2011-2015 Adjunct Associate Professor, Anthropology. Johnson County Community College


Graduate Courses

Global Migration and Mobility, and Urban Situations and Education.

Undergraduate Courses

Cultural Anthropology, Exploring Cross Cultural Diversity, Transnational Hispaniola; a Social Science Approach, and Various Haitian Creole Language courses.

Graduate Courses Co-Taught

Peopling of the Americas, Biological Anthropology, Political Anthropology, Research Design and Methodology, and Historia Universal.


I see the overall arc of my research as being designed to counter dominant narratives by providing insight into marginalized knowledges, or knowledges among marginalized populations. Inspired by Faye Harrison's assertion that Black experiences speak to the universal human condition just as much as anyone else's does, similarly, we should take migrants seriously. Within Latin American and Caribbean Studies, my research lies at the intersection of the political economy, mobility/migration, and education. I have conducted fieldwork on Haitian educational and labor migrants to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and human rights for Haitian migrants. I also worked on a series of applied research projects in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. This included: schooling issues in Haiti (World Bank), land tenure in post-earthquake Haiti (Earth Institute), baseline data for development projects in post-earthquake Haiti (Earth Institute), living wages among free trade zone workers (Workers Rights Consortium).

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 American Jewish World Service Grant
  • 2018 Wenner-Gren Foundation Grant
  • 2017 PSC-CUNY Traditional A, Cycle 48 Research Award
  • 2016-2017 Faculty Fellowship Publishing Program; City University of New York
  • 2016 US Embassy Public Affairs Grant; Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • 2015-2017 Fulbright Flex Research Award; Institute for International Education
  • 2015 Invited participant, Statistics in Ethnographic Research; National Science Foundation
  • 2014-2018 Institutional Development Grant, Haiti (project co-facilitator); Wenner-Gren Foundation
  • 2012 Emerging Scholars Award; Haitian Studies Association
  • 2011 College Scholars Award; Johnson County Community College
  • 2007 J. William Fulbright Scholarship; Institute of International Education
  • 2007 Research Award; Office of Policy and Research, Teachers College
  • 2006 Research Grant; Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University
  • 2005, 2006 Anthropology Program Research Award; Teachers College
  • 2005 Invited participant, Summer Institute on Research Design; National Science Foundation
  • 2004-2006 Minority Group Scholarship Fund; Teachers College
  • 2001 Oppenheimer Research Award; Center for Latin American Studies, University of Kansas
  • 2001, 2002 Field Research Grant; Tinker Foundation/University of Kansas
  • 2001 James B. Pearson Fellowship; Kansas Board of Regents
  • 2000 Research Award; Institute of Haitian Studies, University of Kansas


  • Under Review: Hitting the Books and Pounding the Pavement: Haitian Educational and Labor Migrants in the Dominican Republic. Under advance contract by University Press of Florida.
  • 2018 The Fruits of Colonialism: the Production of Mangoes as Commodities in Northern Haiti. Critique of Anthropology.
  • 2018 Transnational Hispaniola: New Directions in Haitian and Dominican Studies. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
  • 2017 Entre el estado, el mercado, y xenophobia: los haitianos universitarios en la República Dominicana. Estudios Sociales, Número 156 (dated Aug-Dec 2015).
  • 2016 Keywords of Mobility: a Critical Anthropological Engagement. Salazar, Noel and Kiran Jayaram, eds. New York: Berghahn Books.
  • 2013 Transnational Hispaniola: Towards New Paradigms in Haitian and Dominican Studies (with April Mayes, Yolanda Martín, Carlos Decena, and Yveline Alexis). Radical History Review 115:26-32.
  • 2011 State Literacies and Inequalities: Managing Haitian Immigrants in the Dominican Republic (with Lesley Bartlett and Gulin Bonhomme). International Journal of Educational Development 31(6):587-595.
  • 2010 Capital Changes: Haitian Migrants in Contemporary Dominican Republic. Caribbean Quarterly 55(3):31-54.

Recent Publications

  • 2018 Seeds, Seams, et cetera: Why Sustainable Development in Haiti is Wrong. In Transnational Hispaniola. Carlos Decena, Kiran Jayaram, April Mayes, and Yolanda Martín, eds. Under advance contract by University Press of Florida.
  • 2017 Issues Facing Primary School Girls in Two Communities in Haiti. World Bank.
  • 2016 Capital. In Keywords of Mobility: a Critical Anthropological Engagement. Salazar, Noel and Kiran Jayaram, eds., Berghahn Books.
  • 2016 Community Schooling Needs in Ten Haitian Rural Communities. World Bank.
  • 2016 Stakeholder Assessment for Haiti Education Project Preparation. World Bank.
  • 2015 Ethnographic Aspects of the Return on Investment among Haitian Youth. World Bank.
  • 2015 Delayed Enrollment in Primary School among Haitian Children. World Bank.
  • 2015 On Establishing a Doctoral Program in Anthropology at Université d'Etat d'Haïti. Faculté d'Ethnologie.
  • 2013 State, Market, Xenophobia: Making Haitian Educational Migrants in the Dominican Republic. In Lives in Motion: Migration and Education in Global Perspective, Lesley Bartlett and Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, eds. Pp. 22-37. New York: Routledge.
  • 2011 Faces of Haiti (with Maryemma Graham, Brian Rosenblum, and C.B. Claiborne). University of Kansas: Haitian Research Initiative.
  • 2010 Report on Land Tenure in Post-Earthquake Haiti. New York: Earth Institute.
  • 2010 Report on Institutional and Social Dynamics Within the Pòtapiman Watershed. New York: Earth Institute. 

Graduate Students

Chelsey Ramirez.