María Lis Baiocchi

  • Research Associate

María Lis Baiocchi is a sociocultural anthropologist and interdisciplinary scholar whose research interests and areas of expertise include gender, labor, citizenship, and migration, with a geographic focus on Latin America and Argentina and Chile in particular. In 2019, she earned her PhD in Anthropology with a specialization in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), where she also completed graduate-level training in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Cultural Studies; Latin American Studies; and Global Studies. She is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh as well as a National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Social Research of Latin America (IICSAL), which is a research center of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Argentina Campus and CONICET. She is also a member of the Study Group on Migrations, Politics, and Resistances (MiPRes) of the Gino Germani Research Institute (IIGG) of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSOC) of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). She is affiliated with several academic networks, including the Network of Research on Household Work in Latin America (RITHAL), the Research Network for Domestic Workers’ Rights (RN-DWR), the Anthropologist Action Network for Immigrants and Refugees (AANIR), and the Pittsburgh Gender Scholars Consortium (PGSC). In addition, she is an appointed executive board member of the Association for Feminist Anthropology Section (AFA) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and in that capacity she serves as a Contributing Editor for AFA’s column in the AAA-member magazine, Anthropology News and as the Host for AFA Writes, the online writing group for feminist anthropologists. She has presented her research at national and international academic conferences, such as the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) Congress, the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Annual Congress, the AAA Annual Meeting, the Annual Cultural Studies Association (CSA) Conference, the Mercosur Anthropology Meeting (RAM), and the First Congress of RITHAL. Her work has been published in venues such as Exertions, the short-form web publication of the Society for the Anthropology of Work; the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology’s Speaking Justice to Power series; the Society for Economic Anthropology’s column in Anthropology News; and a special issue on migration and violence from a gendered perspective of Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals. Her work has been supported by the Inter-American Foundation, the LASA, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation), as well as by multiple internal fellowships and grants at Pitt. In addition, her work has been recognized by the AFA as well as by several internal prizes at Pitt.

Degrees and Education

PhD – Anthropology – University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (2019)
MA – Sociology and Social Anthropology – Central European University, Budapest, Hungary (2008)
BA – Human Ecology – College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME (2007)

Research Description

Dr. Baiocchi’s research has examined how recent changes in labor law and policy that categorically reclassified the legal status of household workers in Argentina, from “servants,” with almost nonexistent labor rights, to “workers,” with full labor rights have translated into the daily lives of household workers and the lives of the activists who advocate on these workers’ behalf. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Buenos Aires, her research explored how activists and workers reclaim labor rights, as well as how the latter demand and access these rights, in a context of entrenched, intersectional, structural inequalities and widespread violation of household workers’ labor rights. Thus, her research investigated the ways in which activists and workers have managed the transition from primarily customary to increasingly contractual modes of regulating paid household work in Argentina and the challenges inherent in the equalization of labor rights in the setting of the household. This research project culminated in her doctoral dissertation at the University of Pittsburgh, A Law of One’s Own: Newfound Labor Rights, Household Workers’ Agency, and Activist Praxis in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Baiocchi’s current research examines the configuration of Venezuelan migratory flows in Argentina and Chile, migration policy in both countries since the recent migration from Venezuela, and Venezuelan migrants’ access to entry and documentation in both Southern Cone states. This research combines documentary and statistical analysis with semi-structured, in-depth interviews with key interlocutors and Venezuelan migrants in both Buenos Aires and Santiago. This postdoctoral research project is situated within the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET)-funded project, “‘Contemporary Regional Mobilities. Public Policies and Access to Citizenship Rights. A Comparative Study on the Venezuelan Diaspora in Chile and Argentina (2015-Today),” which is carried out at the Institute of Social Research of Latin America (IICSAL) of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Argentina Campus and CONICET.


2023. “Deportabilidad, género y violencia legal: una revisión bibliográfica sobre deportaciones y políticas antitrata [Deportability, Gender and Legal Violence: A Literature Review on Deportation and Anti-Trafficking Policies].” Migraciones y violencias desde una perspectiva de género, Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals, 133: 17-39. DOI: 10.24241/rcai.2023.133.1.17 (with Sandra Gil Araujo and Carolina Rosas). 

2021. “The Essential Activism of Migrant Women Household Workers’ Rights Advocates.” Essential Labor Forum, Exertions, Society for the Anthropology of Work website, December 6, 2021. DOI: 10.21428/1d6be30e.7c3d1356. 

2021. “El activismo esencial de las defensoras de los derechos de las trabajadoras de casas particulares migrantes”. Essential Labor Forum, Exertions, Society for the Anthropology of Work website, December 5, 2021. (Spanish translation of the aforementioned article). 

2020. “Editorial Introduction: APLA’s Speaking Justice to Power Series: On the Gender and Sexual Politics of Contemporary Patriarchal Ethnonationalist Authoritarianism.” Association for Political and Legal Anthropology website, September 15, 2020.

2020. A Law of One’s Own: Newfound Labor Rights, Household Workers’ Agency, and Activist Praxis in Buenos Aires, Argentina. PhD Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

2019. “Household Workers’ Struggle for Equal Rights.” Anthropology News website, October 30, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1293.  

2019. “Work Forces Workshop: The City of Pittsburgh as Pedagogical Tool.” Constellations blog of the Department of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, September 3, 2019.

2018. Book Review: Gender, Migration, and the Work of Care: A Multi-Scalar Approach to the Pacific Rim, edited by Sonya Michel and Ito Peng. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 316 pp., $159.99 (cloth); $119 (e-book). Gender & Society, 33 (1): 150-152. DOI: 10.1177/0891243218786679.