Roberto Armengol headshot
Lecturer - College Fellows

As an anthropologist, public scholar and journalist, I am fascinated by contemporary cultures and societies — especially collective struggles for sustainable futures. My ethnographic fieldwork focuses on what I call “the people’s socialism” in urban Cuba, where ordinary people survive by drawing on the pragmatic morality of communism while challenging state bureaucracy. This work has been supported by Fulbright-Hayes and Ford fellowships. As time permits, I have been working on a manuscript based on my doctoral research.

Several years ago, I joined the inaugural cohort of College Fellows as a postdoctoral fellow and helped to design and teach the first Engagement courses. Because anthropology is concerned with all aspects of human experience, past and present, I find all four pillars of the program compelling, and have taught in three of them. In “Doing Fieldwork,” my students considered the value of qualitative empirical analysis in mini-ethnographic projects. In “Telling the Truth,” I argued that insofar as facts tell stories, they can — and should — also be beautifully arranged. And in a new course called “Reality Film,” I am inviting students to think deeply about the ethics of documentary and ethnographic cinematography, and of representation more broadly.

In my early career as a reporter and staff writer, I covered corporate law, local politics, ecology and much more for mainstream news organizations. Today my work straddles academia and the media. As a public scholar, I have been producing podcasts on and off for nearly a decade. My latest audio project is the award-winning show Democracy in Danger — saving the rule of the people since 2020.