Visiting 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 • Migration • Gender and sexuality • Social movements
Joyce Bennett is an anthropologist whose research and teaching focus on sociocultural and sociolinguistic issues in Mesoamerica. 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. Professor Bennett is an avid support of multi-method and cross-disciplinary approaches. She firmly believes that learning and scholarship must be connected to the people and places we study through mutual collaboration, service, and respect.
Professor Bennett’s research focuses on how return migration impacts the alignment of grassroots populations with ethnic social movements through the support and performance of indigenous ethnic markers in the Kaqchikel-speaking region of Guatemala. Specifically, she focuses on the processes through which individuals seek to retain and revitalize Kaqchikel Maya language and culture as a result of internal and international migration. Professor Bennett connects global processes like migration impact local and national politics about multiculturalism and nationhood.
Professor Bennett is interested in the moral economies behind the use of ethnic markers in Guatemala, specifically centering on discourses surrounding the gendered use of indigenous clothing. She recently collaborated with researchers at Tulane University to revive the Tunica language of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in Marksville, Louisiana. Tunica’s last speaker died in the 1950s, but the Tribe has recently been working to revitalize the language. Professor Bennett is particularly interested in how cultural revitalization interacts with and supports the language revitalization efforts.
Professor Bennett has taught Foundations in Sociocultural Anthropology, Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality, Anthropology of Tourism and History of Writing.
Professor Bennett has been working on a manuscript regarding indigenous clothing use in highland Guatemala. She is collaborating with Dr. Judith Maxwell of Tulane University on a book manuscript regarding language revitalization in the Southeast United States. She has also been published on issues of language revitalization, migration, and NGOs in Guatemala, where she conducts most of her research.
Recent conference presentations
"Tunica-Tulane Language Revitalization Project: History, Strategy, and Goals." Conference on Language Revitalization: Sleeping and Awakening Languages of the Gulf South, New Orleans, LA, March 7, 2014.
"Heads or Tales: Kaqchikel Maya women, the pan-Maya Movement, and managing the double standard." American Anthropological Association Meetings, Chicago, IL, November 20, 2013.
" "Puro Kaqchikel": The discourse surrounding language shift and policy in highland Guatemala." South-Central Modern Languages Association Meetings, New Orleans, LA, October 4, 2013.
"Returning home: reintegration of Kaqchikel-speaking war refugees post-2000." Latin American Studies Association Meetings, Washington, D.C., June 1, 2013.
"Getting involved: the politics of working with NGOs in a highland Maya community." Southwest Social Sciences Association Meetings, New Orleans, LA, March 29, 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, CO, March 22, 2013.