Gerald Murray is an anthropologist who has worked in more than a dozen countries. He currently teaches at the University of Florida. He has studied 16 languages (including some fairly dead ones like Latin, Aramaic, and Biblical Greek), and his major research has been in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He directed a tree-planting project in which more than 300,000 Haitian farm families voluntarily planted trees on their own land. Shortly before the earthquake there, Murray was on the Dominican–Haitian border studying ethnic tensions. He will be returning to Haiti to assist Save the Children.
Murray’s courses focus on the Caribbean, linguistics, and religion—including religious violence. He has written three books, two dozen articles, and over 60 applied anthropological reports for 28 organizations—among them the World Bank, UNESCO, Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, the Peace Corps, and, after the earthquake, U.S. Southern Command. His Haiti writings deal with land tenure, market women, emigration, child trafficking, traditional healing, folk religion (Vodou), and other topics.
In recent years Murray has switched focus from Creole and Spanish speakers to Hebrew and Arabic speakers in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. He has lived among Jews, Muslims, and Palestinian Christians (not at the same time, of course). He has tried to view life there from both sides of the barbed wire. The recent earthquake has brought him “back home” to Haiti.
Murray received his BA from Harvard and his PhD in anthropology from Columbia.