Michael joined Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) as its executive director in 2013. A graduate of Amherst College, he worked in the nonprofit sector, and was a deckhand and card-carrying member of the National Maritime Union before going to work in Central America with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Development Program, and NGOs, while completing graduate degrees at Stanford University (MA Latin American studies) and the University of Texas at Austin (PhD anthropology).
Michael worked on the Texas-Mexico border with Texas Folklife Resources, the Institute of Texan Cultures-University of Texas at San Antonio, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Recipient of two Fulbrights, two National Endowment for the Humanities faculty awards, and funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the US Department of Education, he has taught at Universität Konstanz, the College of New Jersey, and Princeton University (where he was formerly executive director of the Program in Latin American Studies, and curator of the Latin American music series). Since 2008 he has produced and hosted Jazz Worldwide at WWFM-JazzOn2 (Mercer County community radio), a weekly program also syndicated on other public radio stations.
With Gabrielle Winkler, Michael is translator of La flor más bella de la maquiladora: historias de vida de la mujer obrera en Tijuana (Beautiful Flowers of the Maquiladora: Life Histories of Women Workers in Tijuana, University of Texas Press, Institute of Latin American Studies), by Mexican anthropologist Norma Iglesias Prieto; and coeditor, with Princeton’s Pedro Meira Monteiro, of Cangoma Calling: Spirits and Rhythms of Freedom in Brazilian Jongo Slavery Songs (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Press, Luso-Asio-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory). He is a regular contributor to world music magazines in Europe and the U.S.