Anna O’Leary Ph.D.

Department Head/ Mexican American Studies

Dr. Anna Ochoa O’Leary received her Doctorate Degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, where she specialized in applied anthropology. She is a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar and is currently an associate professor at the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona.  She co-directs the Binational Migration Institute, an association of scholars dedicated to the study of how immigration enforcement policies impact Latino populations regardless of legal status. 

Dr. O’Leary’s current research focuses on immigration policy, the feminization of migration, and the culture and urban politics of Mexican/U.S.-Mexican populations in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Her Fulbright research investigated migrant women’s encounters with immigration enforcement agents. She has authored numerous research articles, and her research on repatriated migrant women was developed into a play, No Roosters in the Desert, which premiered in Mexico City, Tucson in 2010, Chicago in 2011, and Arizona State University in Tempe also in 2011. In 2010 she received the Raul H. Castro Institute Arizona Latina Trailblazer Award, and in 2011 she received the YMCA’s Women on the Move Award in recognition for her involvement with community organizing and the advancement of women’s issues.

Subsequent research examines the policy implications for reproductive health care for migrant women in Arizona-Sonora migrant corridor. Currently, she is Co-Principle investigator on a project that aims to develop standardized protocols for identifying, counting, and the post-mortem examination and repatriation human remains of presumed undocumented border crossers in 44 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In addition to her teaching and research activities, Dr. O’Leary is an active member of the Association of Latino/Latina Anthropologists, a member of several community-based groups dedicated to advancing immigrant rights and advocacy. In 2009, she was elected for a three year term to represent the Tucson area as an advisory board member known as the Consejo Consultivo del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (CC-IME).

Other accomplishments include developing a textbook for Chicano Studies (Kendall Hunt, 2007) and editing a two-volume encyclopedia,  Undocumented Immigrants in the United States Today: An Encyclopedia of their Experiences (ABC-Clio/Greenwood Press 2014). She co-edited with Colin Deeds and Scott Whiteford Unchartered Terrain: New Directions in Border Research Method and Ethics. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.