Gerald Murray, PhD

Gerald Murray is a Boston-born anthropologist and linguist with a B.A. (1968) from Harvard and a Ph.D. (1977) from Columbia. He has held permanent positions at UMass/Boston (1977-1985) and the University of Florida (1985-2010), where he is now Emeritus Professor in the Department of Anthropology. In addition, he has been a visiting faculty member at Yale, Teacher’s College/Columbia, and three universities in China.  

His research focus has been in the Caribbean, in particular Haiti and the Dominican Republic where he has collaborated with his wife, psychologist Maria Alvarez. He has specialized in Applied Anthropology, involving himself in multiple project design and project evaluation activities. In 1993, he won the Anthropological Praxis Award for a USAID-funded Agroforestry Project in Haiti which he designed and directed.

Jerry has written numerous scholarly articles and applied anthropological reports for a wide variety of public and private agencies. Among his clients are USAID, Inter-American Development Bank, Peace Corps, the Organization of American States, the governments of Canada and Norway, as well as many NGOs. In addition, he has published four books — El Colmado: Una Investigacion Antropologica del Negocio de Comidas y Bebidas en la República Dominicana, El Taller: Un Estudio Antropológico del Uso y Reparación de Automóbiles en la República Dominicana, El Colegio y La Escuela: Antropología de la Educación en la República Dominicana, and Pelo Bueno Pelo Malo: Antropología del Salón de Belleza en la República Dominicana (co-authored with Marina Ortiz) — and a co-edited volume, La Frontera Dominico-haitiana, with Haroldo Dilla et al.

Jerry has undertaken fieldwork and/or served as a consultant in numerous countries in Central and South America (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Peru), Africa (Cameroun, Burundi, Madagascar), and the Middle East (Israel/Palestine).The breadth and depth of his applied anthropological work follows the trajectory of the teachings of Professor Comitas. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, Murray compiled “The Comitas Phenomenon: 100 Ph.D.’s in Applied Anthropology,” which Lambros had supervised over 56 years of teaching at Teachers College/Columbia.

Since retiring in 2010, Jerry has been teaching semester-long courses in Chinese universities in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Chengdu, focusing on the potential utility in China of applied anthropology. As an anthropological linguist, he has dabbled in 17 languages (some of them dead) and is fluent in eight – Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Hebrew topping the list.  His current (and perhaps final) linguistic adventure is a still-ongoing struggle with Mandarin.