Since earning my PhD Anthropology from Stanford in 2004 for research into Maya activism’s influence on local language ideologies and land conflicts in Guatemala, my primary teaching has dealt with anti-colonial struggles for autonomy by Native groups from across the Americas. I teach about Indigenous religion and realities at Wilfrid Laurier while continuing to conduct research into indigenous spoken and signed languages, resource conflicts, political activism, popular culture, ethnohistory, and religious ideologies in Mesoamerica and North America.
I take pride in finding humorously odd angles on the all-too-frequently discomforting social realities I teach and study. For example, to explain under-acknowledged-yet-popular race/class/gender ideologies, I have not only dabbled in the science of barbology, but have also taught a curse-filled course on cursing. I have also re-directed skills as a cartoonist into a long-term project of documenting and promoting Meemul Tziij: a set of ancient Indigenous sign languages used in Mexico and Guatemala that may be the oldest documentable sign languages on the planet.
I look forward to working with students in the general area of Indigenous Studies, including ancient and modern history, (signed and spoken) languages, environmentalism, literature, contemporary social movements, or the geographic area of Mesoamerica. I have supervised past students not only in local fieldwork and library research, but also in international projects. I have even taken past students abroad to work with me in an indigenous K’ichee’-Maya community in Guatemala. Undergraduate research projects I have supervised have been in fields as diverse as anthropology, religion, environmental studies, art history, and linguistics.
Office location: Dr. Alvin Woods Building, Room 2-124
Office hours: Thursdays, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., 2 to 3:30 p.m. and by appointment.
Languages spoken: English, Spanish, German, K’ichee’-Mayan, Tz’utujiil-Mayan, Meemul Tziij of Western Guatemala (an indigenous sign language)