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Political Economy on the Postclassic Western Maya Frontier

Elizabeth Paris, University at Albany, State University of New York, Junior Fellow 2011/12

My fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to successfully complete my doctoral dissertation at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and to begin revising it for publication. My dissertation investigates the degree of autonomy from elite control among commoner households in ancient highland Maya polities. In many areas of Postclassic Mesoamerica, amplified interregional connections provided agricultural and craft producers with new opportunities to gain economic wealth through the exchange of surplus goods. In the Jovel Valley, however, elites limited such opportunities by restricting external exchanges and controlling surplus production by craft specialists. Thus, my research highlights the complex relationships between household producers at Moxviquil and Huitepec, and the broader socioeconomic networks in which they participated.

I have also been able to revise an article for publication in Ancient Mesoamerica, submit an article to Latin American Antiquity, and begin drafts of several other articles deriving from my dissertation research and other projects. I also submitted a chapter for publication in an edited volume celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the New World Archaeological Foundation, completed several chapters for the final report of the Economic Foundations of Mayapan Project, and co-organized and chaired a symposium at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archaeology.

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