Aviva Chomsky

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Aviva Chomsky
Born (1957-04-20)April 20, 1957
Nationality American
Occupation Historian, author, and activist
Parent(s) Noam Chomsky
Carol Chomsky
Relatives William Chomsky (grandfather)

Aviva Chomsky (born April 20, 1957) is an American teacher, historian, author and activist. She is a professor of History and the Coordinator of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at the Salem State University in Massachusetts.[1] She previously taught at Bates College in Maine and was a Research Associate at Harvard University, where she specialized in Caribbean and Latin American history.[2] She is the eldest daughter of linguists Noam and Carol Chomsky. Her paternal grandfather, William Chomsky (1896–1977), was a Hebrew scholar at, and principal of, Gratz College for many years.

Aviva Chomsky worked for the United Farm Workers union back in 1976 and 1977. She credited this experience with sparking her "interest in the Spanish language, in migrant workers and immigration, in labor history, in social movements and labor organizing, in multinationals and their workers, in how global economic forces affect individuals, and how people collectively organize for social change".[1] At the University of California at Berkeley, she obtained her B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese in 1982, M.A. in History in 1985, and Ph.D. in History in 1990, before she began teaching at Bates College. She became an associate professor of history at Salem State College in 1997, and the Coordinator of Latin American Studies in 1999. She became a full professor in 2002.[3]

Her book West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica 1870–1940 was awarded the 1997 Best Book Prize by the New England Council of Latin American Studies.[2] The book describes the history of the United Fruit Company, formed in 1899 from the merger of multiple U.S.-based companies that built railroads and cultivated bananas on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica. It also shows how the workers, including many Jamaicans, originally of African descent, developed their own parallel socioeconomic system.

Aviva Chomsky has been active in Latin American solidarity and immigrants’ rights issues since 1980s. She is a member in the North Shore Colombia Solidarity Committee.[3]



  • Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal, Beacon Press, Boston Massachusetts. 2014. ISBN 978-080700167-7
  • A History of the Cuban Revolution, Wiley-Blackwell, New York, NY . Paperback. 224 pages. October 2010. ISBN 978-1-4051-8773-2
  • Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class. Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina. 2008. ISBN 0-8223-4190-5
  • The People Behind Colombian Coal/Bajo el manto del carbon, Aviva Chomsky, Garry Leech, Steve Striffler (Editors), 2007. ISBN 958-97995-5-8
  • They Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths About Immigration. Beacon Press, July 2007. Paperback: 236 pages . In English. (ISBN 978-0807041567).
  • West Indian Workers and the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, 1870–1940. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8071-1979-2
  • Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring People of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean, (Comparative and International Working-Class History), Aviva Chomsky and Aldo Lauria-Santiago (Editors), 1998. 404 pages. Duke University Press, Durham, North Caroline, (ISBN 978-0822322023)
  • The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr, Pamela Maria Smorkaloff (Editors), Duke University Press, Durham, North Caroline, January 2004. (ISBN 978-0822331971).


  • The Dispossessed: Chronicles of the Desterrados of Colombia, Alfredo Molano, Haymarket Books, (ISBN 1-931859-17-5), 2005. (Foreword)
  • The Profits of Extermination: How U.S. Corporate Power is Destroying Colombia, Francisco Ramírez Cuellar, Common Courage Press, (ISBN 1-56751-322-0), 2005. (Translation and introduction by Aviva Chomsky)
  • Hidden Lives and Human Rights in the United States: Understanding the Controversies and Tragedies of Undocumented Immigration, edited by Lois Ann Lorentzen, Praeger Press (ISBN 1440828474), 2014. (Economic Impact of Migrants)
  • Beyond Slavery: The Multilayered Legacy of Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Darien J. Davis, Rowman & Littlefield, (ISBN 0742541312), 2007. (The Logic of Displacement: Afro-Colombians and the War in Colombia)
  • Salem: Place, Myth and Memory, edited by Dane Morrison and Nancy Lusignan Schultz, Northeastern University Press, (ISBN 1555536506), 2004. (Salem as a Global City: 1850-2004)
  • Identity and Struggle at the Margins of the Nation-State: The Laboring Peoples of Central America and the Hispanic Caribbean, edited by Aviva Chomsky and Lauria-Santiago, Duke University Press, (ISBN 0822322188) 1998. (Introduction and Laborers and Small-Holders in Costa Rica’s Mining Communities: 1900-1940)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Salem State University: Faculty". www.salemstate.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Chomsky Family". www.eilatgordinlevitan.com. Retrieved 2015-10-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Biography | Aviva Chomsky". avivachomsky.com. Retrieved 2015-10-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

External video
"How Immigration Became Illegal": Aviva Chomsky on U.S. Exploitation of Migrant Workers, Democracy Now, May 30, 2014
Aviva Chomsky on "Undocumented: The Theory and Practice of Illegality", Pomona College, February 28, 2013
  • Official website
  • Articles
  • Faculty profile at Salem State College
  • Review of The Costa Rica Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Steven Palmer and Iván Molina, eds. Durham: Duke University Press, Durham North Caroline, November 2004