As a sociocultural anthropologist, Professor Robin DeLugan has long studied the factors that shape national cultural and identity. She is conducting a 10-year study, in partnership with others, into quality-of-life issues in the San Joaquin Valley , looking at how people perceive their communities when it comes to such topics as the economy, poverty, unemployment, social services, homeownership, family, education and local government. She and others are hoping to help local and state agencies see how well their programs targeted at low-income residents in both rural and urban areas are working, and to help communities understand how their citizens see their lives there.
But DeLugan is also an authority in transnationalism, indigenous migration and the people of the Americas. She has focused for a time on the ongoing processes of post-civil-war nation-building in El Salvador, Central America. She looks at how emigration, indigenous migration and transnationalism are reshaping ideas about national culture and identity.
Her research allows her to look at contemporary indigenous migration from Mesoamerica to Northern California, examining indigenous intergroup dynamics. As California’s population grows and changes, her explanations of collective identity, the nation-state, migration and transnationalism, political anthropology, indigenous peoples of the Americas, social memory, tourism, museums and material culture are only going to become more relevant.
She can also discuss Mexico and immigration from Latin American countries into the United States.