2015 IMS Scholarships Awardees


Christopher De Cormier Memorial Scholarship in Mesoamerican Studies

Jeff Bryant, “Cerro Jazmín Archaeology Project in Oaxaca, Mexico”

I am interested in studying periods of stability and change, particularly in the Mixteca at Spanish conquest when conservation systems were abandoned, the economy rapidly shifted to sheep production, and widespread erosion occurred. During the Spring I began fieldwork at the Mixteca site of Cerro Jazmín (Oaxaca, Mexico) directed by Veronica Pérez Rodríguez  where I collected soil samples for chemical characterization with XRAY Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF), and paleobotanical analysis. The Christopher DeCormier scholarship will fund my summer travel to the University of Leicester, where I will be trained pollen and fungal spore analysis on soil samples I collected this spring.  The results will form the bases for a publication and will prepare me for my dissertation research.


First Encounter Scholarship for Mesoamerican Fieldwork

Becky Dinkel, “Yucatec Maya Summer Institute

My research focuses on Mayan hieroglyphic texts and the descendent languages of those who wrote the texts. Particularly, I focus on relationships between semantics and grammar. Understanding these relationships involves developing a rich understanding of how words are used in everyday context, apart from standard linguistic elicitation. Learning to speak a language is essential in understanding this context. The Yucatec Maya Summer Institute, hosted in Valladolid and Xocen, Yucatán, is a language and cultural immersion program. The institute will directly help me understand how particular grammatical features of Yucatec are linked up to their meaning by giving me numerous examples from natural contexts.  

Enrique Valdivia, “Intensive Nahuatl Language Study at Yale University – Summer 2015”
My research is based on the transcription, translation and analysis of Colonial-era Mexican manuscripts written in Nahuatl; the language of the Aztecs.  As part of my pursuit to learn Nahuatl in order to better conduct my research, I will be attending the Intensive Nahuatl Language course at Yale during the summer.  This six-week immersion course mixes instruction of the linguistic structure of classical Nahuatl with oral practice and teaching of modern Nahuatl by native speakers.  Upon completion of this course I will be able to begin my analysis of Nahuatl texts in earnest, with the aim of broadening our understanding of cultural contact between Spanish and indigenous agents as expressed in the discourse found in the textual corpus of Colonial-era writings in Nahuatl.



David Scotchmer Essay Award

Christopher Valesey, "The Knights of New Spain: Eagles, Jaguars, and the Nahua Military Ethos "

This study sought to explore usage of “eagle” and “jaguar”—quauhtli and ocelotl— in Bernardino de Sahagún’s Florentine Codex and Diego Durán’s account of military orders in The History of the Indies of New Spain. I found that the Florentine Codex never features the romanticized descriptions of eagle and jaguar military orders that can be located in Durán’s works; instead, quauhtli and ocelotl are often invoked as metaphors for costumes, exemplary and desirable qualities, or even to emphasize the religiosity of Nahua warriors. In other words, quauhtli and ocelotl more accurately make up a concept, as opposed to an institution, in the Florentine Codex. Nahua art and pictography may also feature eagles and jaguars in reference to a distinct military ethos.


Click here to learn about the 2014 award winners.