Marty photo
Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology

Mailing Address
Department of Anthropology
Campus Box 103
PO Box 173364 
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location
Auraria Campus
North Classroom
Suite 4002M

 

Office Hours (fall 2022)
by appointment

Born and raised in Marin County, California, I moved to Denver in 2008. My mom is from Chicago with roots in German/Irish culture and my father is from the Sierra region in Ecuador. I’m a first-generation college graduate. In 1991-1993, I lived and studied in Nigeria where I received a master’s degree in political science from the University of Ibadan. To continue my global education, I earned a second master’s degree with a specialization in labor and employment studies at the Institute for Social Studies in Den Haag, The Netherlands in 1995. For my doctoral work in anthropology at the University of California Irvine I focused on the livelihoods of tobacco farmers and farm workers, labor union struggles and corporate accountability issues in Malawi’s tobacco growing sector. Currently, I am the Chair and Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department, University of Colorado Denver.

Recent publications include the chapter co-authored with David Vergara, “Cannabis Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: A Critical Approach to Research and Practice,” in The Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research (2021, PDF); “A Labor Studies Approach to Cannabis,” in The Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research (2021, PDF), and the manuscript co-authored with Jassy Grewal, “Health and Safety in the Legal Cannabis Industry Before and During COVID-19, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (2020, PDF). In 2022, I am working on a co-edited book with four volumes focused on an arts-based approach to cannabis research and anti-drug stigma reduction. This project is being done in collaboration with Dr. Aaraón Díaz Mendiburo, Centro de Investigaciones sobre América del Norte, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 

My free time is spent with my wife Michelle and two teenage boys. Hobbies include bicycling, hiking, traveling and creating videos. I’m a filmmaker and produce the web-based television show called Getting High on Anthropology: A Story-Based Approach to Cannabis Research, Education and Funding. Filmmaking is integrated in my research and creative projects in my job in CU Denver. In 2022, I’m engaged in digital storytelling projects about experiences of university students, staff and faculty members who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Also, I am analyzing 76 short videos about opioid overdose reversals and naloxone to promote harm reduction and reduce stigma against drug users. Funds for the project received from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘Overdose Data to Action’ grant. For additional details visit the project webpage Naloxone Champions

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship, University of Colorado Denver Education, Training and Career Development Core of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Subject: Digital Storytelling and Health Equity in Colorado, 2008-2010

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, Subject: Health Policy and Global Tobacco Control, 2006-2008

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, Subject: Health Policy and Global Tobacco Control, 2004-2006

Ph.D. Anthropology Department, University of California, Irvine, Subject: Cultural Anthropology, Dissertation: "Thank You for Smoking': Corporate Power and Tobacco Worker Struggles in Malawi, 1996-2004

M.A. Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands, Subject: Employment and Labor Studies, Thesis: 'Labor and Democratization in Malawi,' 1994-1995

M.S. Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Subject: Political Science; Thesis: 'The Political Economy of State Creation in Nigeria, 1992-1993

B.S. College of Business, San Francisco State University, California, Subject: Business Administration, 1987-1989

Mendiburo AD, and Otañez MArt-Based Narratives as Resources to End Cannabis Stigmatization in North America [four volumes], Centro de Investigaciones sobre América del Norte, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (under review)

Otañez M, “A Labor Studies Approach to Cannabis,” J Meisel and D Corva, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research, 2021

Otañez M, Vergara D, “Cannabis Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives: A Critical Approach to Research and Practice,” J Meisel and D Corva, eds., The Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Cannabis Research, 2021

Otañez M, Grewal J, “Health and Safety in the Legal Cannabis Industry Before and During COVID-19, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (Epub ahead of print 30 November), 1-13, 2020

Gasser A. "International Labour Organization (ILO) ends tobacco industry funding," Tobacco Control Blog, 1 December 2019 (contributing author)

Otañez M and Walsh J, ' Digital Storytelling and Organic Theater: Pedagogies in 21st Century Learning,' Arianne Rourke and Vaughan Rees, eds. Transformative Pedagogies in the Visual Domain, Common Ground Publishing, 2018

Otañez M “Convergencia,” Future Rural Archive. Last Chance Press and Jap Sam Books, The Netherlands, 2018

Otañez M, “Digital storytelling: Using first-person videos about food in research and advocacy,” John Brett and Janet Chrzan, eds., Research Methods for the Anthropological Study of Food and Nutrition, Berghahn, 2017

"Guide to Worker Health and Safety in the Marijuana Industry," Marijuana Occupational Health and Safety Group, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2017 (contributing author)

Gubrium A, Harper K, Otañez M, eds., Participatory Visual and Digital Research in Action, Left Coast Press: California 2015 (companion website)

Otañez M, Lakota W, ‘Digital storytelling: Using videos to increase social wellness,’ in J Cohen and L Johnson, eds., Video filmmaking as psychotherapy: Research and practice, Routledge: New York, 2015

Otañez M, Guerrero A, ‘Digital storytelling and the viral hepatitis project,’ A Gubrium, K Harper and M Otañez, eds., Participatory visual and digital research in Action, Left Coast Press: California, 2015

Otañez M, Graen L, “‘Gentlemen, Why Not Suppress the Prices’: Global Leaf Companies Harm Rural Livelihoods in Malawi,” Wardie Lappan, Natacha Lecours, Daniel Buckles, eds., Tobacco Control and Tobacco Farming: Separating Myth from Reality, Anthem Press and International Development Research Centre: London and Ottowa, 2014

Otañez M, Glantz G, “Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production? Tobacco Companies Use of Green Supply Chains to Obscure the Real Costs of Tobacco Farming,” Tobacco Control (Epub ahead of print, 19 April), 2011

Otañez M. "The Tobacco Trap: Obstacles to Trade Unionism in Malawi." In P Durrenberger and K Reichart, eds. The Anthropology of Labor Unions. University Press of Colorado, 2010

Otañez M, Glantz G, “Trafficking in Tobacco Farm Culture: Tobacco Companies Use of Video Imagery to Undermine Health Policy,” Visual Anthropology Review, 24 (1): 1-24, 2009

Otañez M, Glantz G, Mamudu H, “Tobacco Companies Use of Developing Countries’ Economic Reliance on Tobacco to Lobby Against Global Tobacco Control: The Case of Malawi,” American Journal of Public Health, 99 (10): 1759-71, 2009

Geist H, Otañez M, and Kapito J. "The tobacco industry in Malawi: a globalized driver of local land change." Land Change Modifications in the Developing World. Berlin, Germany: Springer (2008): 251-68

Otañez M. "Social disruption caused by tobacco growing," Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco, 2008

Otañez M, Glantz G, Mamudu H, “Global Leaf Companies Control the Tobacco Market in Malawi,” Tobacco Control, 16: 261-9, 2007

Otañez M. "The Smoking Wallet An Anthropologist Meets Transnational Tobacco Corporations in Malawi," Truitt A, Senders S, eds., Encounters with Money in the Field, Berg Publishers: Oxford, United Kingdom, 69-81, 2007

Otañez M, Muggli M, Hurt R, Glantz G, “Eliminating Child Labour in Malawi: A British American Tobacco Corporate Responsibility Project to Sidestep Tobacco Labor Exploitation,” Tobacco Control. 15: 224-30, 2006

Otañez M, “Economic Dependence and Democratization: The Case of the Tobacco Industry,” Immink B, Lembani S, Ott M, Peters-Berries C, eds., From Freedom to Empowerment: Ten Years of Democratization in Malawi, Lilongwe, Malawi: Forum for Dialogue and Peace, 120-9

Qualitative Research Design and Methods

Fieldwork Methods

Foundations in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Psychedelic Anthropology

Cannabis Culture

Cultural Diversity in the Modern World

Culture and the Human Experience

Current Theory in Ethnography

Culture of Development and Globalization

Building Global Health Equity in Malawi, Africa (study abroad course)

Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis in The Netherlands (study abroad course)