Institute for Mesoamerican Studies

IMS functions

The Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS) is a non-profit educational research institute dedicated to the study and dissemination of knowledge concerning the peoples and cultures of Mesoamerica (Mexico and Northern Central America). IMS serves to organize and coordinate the work of the Mesoamericanist faculty at the State University of New York at Albany. We have the largest number of full-time Mesoamericanists of any institution north of Mexico, and our members are among the most active and prominent scholars in the field of Mesoamerican anthropology. The primary activities of IMS are research and publication. Read more about our history and how to contact us on our About Us page



2021 IMS Awards Winners:

The IMS congratulates the 2021 award winners: Rebecca Dinkel won the Christopher DeCormier Memorial Scholarship for her work "Mismatches between Coordination and Subordination in copala Triqui". Alondra Aca won the First Encounter Scholarship for Mesoamerican fieldwork for her project "Impact of Covid-19 on Latinxs college students attending HIS institutions in New York City", and Antonio Martínez Tuñón won the David Scotchmer Essay Award for his work "Topography and Topology. Locational advantages of Santo Domingo Tonaltepec relative to the broader site network of the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca". Please join us in the virtual celebration Friday 7th, 2021 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm Eastern time to be hold on Facebook Live. Learn more about the awards, and this year's awardees.


2021 Northeastern Nahuatl Group Annual Meeting:

The 12th Annual meeting of the Northeastern Nahuatl Scholars Group will take place in a virtual format this year. Follow this link for the meeting schedule. More information can be obtained by contacting: [email protected]


IMS Associate Research links between Language and Music

Prior studies have found that speakers of a tone language (TL), in which pitch changes alter word meaning, show advantages in music perception. To control for culture and second language experience, University at Albany researchers Ron Friedman and Lauren Clemens received a grant from the Grammy Museum to examine this effect with speakers of Copala Triqui, an indigenous Mexican TL, and newly test whether TL use influences the perception of musical emotion. Results will inform the development of training programs to enhance linguistic and musical skills.


IMS Associate Receives Founding to Research Immigration

Dr. Joanna Dreby received funding from the Russell Sage Foundation (2020-2022) for a research project titled: "The Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement Episodes: An Exploration of the Impacts on Young Adults." Additionally, funding from the College of Arts & Sciences, University at Albany FRAP A Award, has enabled her to involv 9 undergraduate – and 3 graduate students – on the research team. The project involves interviews and questionnaires with second generation young adults ages 18-30 about the salience of immigration enforcement policies in their lives. Participants grew up in New York City or New York State, but have parents who emigrated from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean or South America.


IMS Associates Receive 5 National Science Foundation Grants

The Institute for Mesoamerican Studies congratulates Jennifer Burrell, Robert Rosenswig and Verónica Pérez Rodríguez IMS faculty associates, on their National Science Foundation grants.

Burrell's "Geospatial Technologies, Justice and Evidentiary Procedure" project is one of the first empirical studies on how geospatial technologies are being used around the world in criminal and human rights judicial investigations. Working in Mexico, Nigeria and the Hague, the team will explore how diverse communities are using and interpreting data culled from new technologies, and producing evidence in order to understand new judicial interventions at the local, national and international levels.

Rosenswig received two NSF grants to conduct a research in Belize leading a team of interdisciplinary researchers studing a global event 4,200 years ago for insight on human adaptation to climate change. Through the project, Rosenswig and his team will combine advanced computational climate modeling with archaeological excavations and lake sediment coring in the lowlands of northern Belize to reconstruct the region at 3,000 to 6,000 years ago. As evidence is gathered, the team will be evaluating human settlement, diet and vegetation patterns from before, during and after the 4.2k BP event.

Perez Rodriguez also received two NFS grants to conduct research in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca. One is focused on what sociopolitical strategies can foster or undermine societal stability and urban resilience. Dr. Pérez Rodríguez, along with a colleague from Mexico will conduct a geophysical survey and excavations in the ancient city of Cerro Jazmí, a city that flourished in the Late and Terminal Formative period (300 BC-AD 300), but became largely abandoned after AD 300. Her second grant, is focused on the role of environmental change in the widespread abandoment of sites at the end of the Mesoamerican Classic Period around 800 CD. Archaeological excavations at the sites of Río Viejo in the lower Verde and Cerro Jazmín in the Nochixtlán Valley will examine the impact of climate and landscape degradation on land use, domestic economy, and human health and diet during the Late Classic and Early Postclassic periods.

Congratulations Graduates!

The Institute for Mesoamerican Studies congratulates our 2020 graduates. This summer, Yahaira Nuñez Cortes completed her Ph.D. degree. Felicidades!