2017 IMS Scholarships Awardees

Congratulations to our 2017 awardees! Check back soon for additional details about these great projects.

Christopher De Cormier Memorial Scholarship in Mesoamerican Studies

Rebecca Mendelsohn, “Community Engagement in Izapa, Chiapas, Mexico and Archival Research in Guatemala

The primary goal of this project is to improve relationships between archaeologists and community members living at the site of Izapa, Chiapas, Mexico. Though living at a renowned archaeological site open for tourism, the community at Izapa has felt marginalized by the Mexican government and used by foreign archaeologists. During my excavation project in 2014, I worked hard to improve short-term relationships with community members through offering public lectures and site tours, and participating in many interviews for press outlets. Funds from the DeCormier scholarship will support travel to Izapa to provide a follow-up visit. The trip will allow for the implementation of three community engagement objectives: delivery of a public lecture, distribution of educational materials, and hosting a series of meetings with community members to help better identify goals for establishing good community-archaeologist relationships and cultural heritage initiatives for the future.

The secondary goal for the project is to further research across the border in Guatemala. I have been documenting a tradition of elite burials developed in the Izapa polity beginning around 100 B.C. These urn burials may be associated with a dramatic shift in the office of the king on the Pacific coast. Funds from the DeCormier scholarship will also be used to travel to theUniversidad del Valle in Guatemala City to review Edwin Shook’s field notes, in an attempt to recover details of elaborate urn burials excavated in the 1950s at sites excavated across the modern-day Guatemala border, at sites that are now understood to be a part of the Izapa polity. The results of this work will be published in a paper discussing urn burials and shifting social dynamics across the Izapa polity.


First Encounter Scholarship for Mesoamerican Fieldwork

Aphizetl E. Lemus Medina, “Introduction to el Occidente, the Teuchitlan Tradition, and Preliminary Research for a Possible Archaeological Site at Cerro de las Cebollas

 I apply a philosophical framework to the analysis of two main societies in Mesoamerica: The Teuchitlan tradition in the West and the Late Postclassic Nahua of the Basin of Mexico. More specifically, I focus on their philosophy, cosmovisión, religion, and daily life. Broadly and ontologically speaking, my research focuses on a phenomenological approach to the constitution of lived experience and the constituent systems that ground a perception of identity and being which in turn produce, structure, and maintain an appearance of existence and reality. From this approach, humans are viewed as socially constructed and as constituted by a corporeal base and an ideological core.

The First Encounter Scholarship will allow me to conduct fieldwork in Guachimontones, a ceremonial site and core area of the Teuchitlan tradition. Additionally, I will be traveling to other important sites associated with this t
radition and conducting preliminary archival research in the state of Nayarit. This will serve as a foundation for future fieldwork and the establishment of a possible site at the Cerro de las Cebollas, Tequilita, Nayarit. In the 1960’s shaft tombs associated with the Teuchitlan tradition were discovered at Cerro De las Cebollas and looted by farmers from the adjacent town of Tequilita. The site has received very little attention from archeologists and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH, National Institute of Anthropology and History). The award will enable me to carry out a preliminary survey of the site and the surrounding region.


David Scotchmer Essay Award

Rebecca Dinkel, “Copala Triqui’s Syntactic Causative: Cosubordination across Models of Grammar

My paper ‘Copala Triqui’s syntactic causative: Cosubordination across models of grammar’ began from a field methods course with the Triqui community in Albany and was later expanded to be presented at numerous conferences. In my paper, I examine the peculiar properties of Copala Triqui’s (CT) syntactic causative, which places the effect clause before cause clause, seemingly contrary to CT”s normal word order. My research shows that Copala Triqui’s (CT) syntactic causative construction adheres to CT’s normal word order of VSO/ VS[Complement Clause] because the effect clause, and not the cause clause, is the main clause of the construction. The cause clause has interesting properties, being neither completely grammatically dependent nor independent from the effect clause. I argue that CT’s syntactic causative displays a third type of clause linkage cosubordination that is distinct from subordination and coordination. Specifically, I show that you cannot model CT’s syntactic causative in Lexical Functional Grammar without considering the concept of cosubordination, and that the concept is coherent within the Lexical Functional Grammar framework. I thus suggest that the concept of cosubordination is not limited to Role and Reference Grammar, the theory it originated from, and should be considered a genuine type of clause linkage.


Undergraduate Essay Award in Mesoamerican Studies

Mika Tamaru, “Tone in Triqui

In my essay, "Tone in Triqui," I discuss tone in Triqui. The Triqui language is spoken by the Triqui people of Oaxaca in Mexico. There are eight different tones in Triqui, and they deliver lexical and grammatical information. I analyze the maximum, minimum, and average pitch in Triqui words to identify different tones. There are also some tendencies of sounds because of the specific environment, which is so interesting to know. I am interested in tone and chose it as my topic because I am studying a tone language, Mandarin Chinese, and my native language, Japanese, also relates to tone. It was fun to see and know about different tones across languages.

Click here to learn about the 2016 award winners.