Francisco Diaz

Doctoral Student


My research focuses on the history of anthropological and archaeological thought as it is located in the social, political and academic construction of Maya Heritage. I challenge the persistent coloniality in Maya heritage production by going back to the beginning and conducting a critical ethnographic reading of the archival work of the first Mayanist scholars from Penn, Harvard, and the Carnegie Institution. My work explores how Maya heritage production is just as much a reflection of the people who study the Ancient Maya as it is a representation of the actual Maya past. In addition, I intend to uncover and foreground the contribution of living Maya people to these early archaeological projects and to Western knowledge about their precolonial ancestors, a contribution that has largely since been omitted or unrecognized. This work is informed by my own Yucatec Maya background and previous engagements with social, political and heritage issues faced by contemporary Maya communities.

Research Interests

indigenous archaeology, community archaeology, and issues of heritage and identity, as well as native foodways and tying in ancestral ways of eating as expressions of agency under colonialism and trying these ideas to modern efforts in food sovereignty. I hope to develop these interests further by studying the Caste War through the Community Heritage Project in Tihosuco in Yucatan and use my research to help Mayan communities on both sides of the border.



Graduate Status