Joyce Bennett

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Joined Connecticut College: 2014

B.A., American Studies, Music Performance, University of Richmond
M.A., Ph.D., Anthropology, Tulane University


Language revitalization

Ethnicity and identity performance


Gender and sexuality

Social movements

Joyce Bennett is an anthropologist whose research and teaching focus on sociocultural and sociolinguistic issues in Mesoamerica and North America. She mostly focuses on the Kaqchikel-speaking population of the Western highlands of Guatemala, but she is also interested in other ethnolinguistic groups in the country and, most recently, some of their indigenous counterparts in North America. 

She is an advocate of community learning and is especially interested in connecting her courses to local communities in Southeastern Connecticut. Professor Bennett is an avid supporter of multi-method and cross-disciplinary approaches. She firmly believes that learning and scholarship must be connected to the people and places academics study through mutual collaboration, service, and respect.

Professor Bennett’s primary research focuses on how migration impacts returned migrant women’s use of ethnic markers, particularly language and clothing, in the Kaqchikel-speaking region of Guatemala. She is especially interested in how physical migration can lead to the revitalization of the Kaqchikel Maya language and culture. Professor Bennett connects global processes like migration to local and national politics about multiculturalism and personhood.

In collaboration with students from Connecticut College, Professor Bennett has a research project investigating volunteer motivations and experiences at the New London Food Pantry. Additionally, Prof. Bennett regularly collaborates with the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center through her classes. The collaboration has resulted in a nascent research project on the experience of being a migrant in New London.

Courses Professor Bennett has taught:

  • Power and Inequality in a Global World
  • Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality
  • Sex, Culture, and Power: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
  • Insecurity, Human Trafficking, and Violence
  • GLobalization, Transmigrants, and Migration
  • Language Death/Revitalization
  • Transmigrants in New England
  • Anthropology of Tourism

Recent publications

“Xujal runa’öj: The Cultural and Linguistic Consequences of Kaqchikel Maya migration to the US.” Ni sombras ni proscritos: Indigenous Presence in the Latina/o Community, Label Me Latino. 2015. 

“Traje’s future: gendered paths in Guatemala.” Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal.2(1): 67-89. 2015.

Review of Secrecy and Insurgency: Socialities and Knowledge Practices in Guatemala by Silvia Posocco (2014). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press in American Anthropologist. 117(1): 202-203. 2015. 

““Puro Kaqchikel:” The discourse surrounding language standardization in highland Guatemala.” Fleur de Ling: Tulane University Working Papers. 1: 95-106. 2014.

Recent conference presentations

Seeing the Forest: Intersectional approaches to volunteers in New London, Conn. Saratoga Springs, NY, April 22, 2016. In collaboration with students Charlie Massey '18 and Tim Hartshorn '14.

Multiple Approaches to Student Positionality in Community Learning and Research. IMPACT, Amerherst, Mass., February 20, 2016. In collaboration with Kim Sanchez, Charlie Massey '18, Annette Davis '18, and Tim Hartshorn '14. 

"We Helped Each Other": Kaqchikel Women's Emergent Evangelical Feminism in Guatemala. American Anthropological Association Meetings, Denver, Colorado, November 19, 2015.

“La disociación del idioma Kaqchikel de sus hablantes: institucionalización y el “puro ch’ab’al.”” Undécimo Congreso de Estudios Mayas, Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 9, 2015.

Producing Culture: The Role of Culture in the Tunica Language Revitalization Project. American Anthropological Association Meetings, Washington, D.C., December 7, 2014.

"Heads or Tales: Kaqchikel Maya women, the pan-Maya Movement, and managing the double standard." American Anthropological Association Meetings, Chicago, Illinois, November 20, 2013.

"Returning home: reintegration of Kaqchikel-speaking war refugees post-2000." Latin American Studies Association Meetings, Washington, D.C., June 1, 2013.

"Xiruch’ay, xinel el: gender-based violence, access to resources, and challenges for the future in a highland Guatemala town." Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings, Denver, Colorado, March 22, 2013.

Majoring in anthropology. 

Contact Joyce Bennett

Mailing Address

Joyce Bennett
Connecticut College
Box #5358
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


Winthrop 209