2020 IMS Scholarships Awardees


Congratulations to our 2020 awardees!

Christopher De Cormier Memorial Scholarship in Mesoamerican Studies

Jamilläh Rodriguez, “The interaction of phonology and syntax through grammatical tone in Copala Triqui”

Copala Triqui is a Mixtecan language belonging to the large Otomanguean language fam-ily (Kaufman, 1988). Copala Triqui has a very complex tone system, consisting of eightlexically contrastive tones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 31, and 32. These tones interact with the un-derlying syntax of Copala Triqui in many different environments, particularly throughtone lowering. I focus primarily on those environments for which the properties of tonelowering remain most unclear: possession, adjectival and adverbial derivation, and pred-icate negation; but I re-examine previously documented environments as well, includingnominal negation, appositive constructions, complex verbs, predicative focus, and verbalaspect. My dissertation focuses on an analysis that unifies these environments to providean account for tone lowering as a conveyor of underlying syntactic information.

Hollenbach (1984) provides an important foundation in the description of these envi-ronments, but an analysis of grammatical tone connecting syntax and phonology in thelanguage is absent from the literature. Additionally, past work on Copala Triqui that in-cludes tone has been focused on the population of speakers in San Juan Copala, where themajority of speakers are no longer living. The research for my dissertation includes datacollected from speakers living in two diaspora communities outside of San Juan Copala,both in Mexico and the U.S.

Analyses of grammatical tone connected to syntactic structure exists for languagesoutside the Otomanguean language family (Heath & McPherson, 2013; McPherson, 2014;Rolle, 2018). These accounts look at hierarchical syntactic relationships to account forobligatory tone changes in particular syntactic configurations



Antonio Martínez Tuñón, “Western Chiapas Territories Archaeological Project"

The project will to conduct an archaeological reconnaissance of six previously registered archaeological sites in Western Chiapas, geographically located in between mayor known sites with occupation since the Early Formative (1400-1000 BC) to investigate their role in the expansion of social complexity during the Middle Formative Period (1000-400 BC). During this reconnaissance I plan to make archaeological maps of the six proposed sites to record their architectural layout and extension, and record surface ceramics to better understand the sites’ chronology. This reconnaissance is intended to be a pilot study for my doctoral dissertation project.

The two ideas drive the proposed project are: 1) social complexity did not develop evenly across space, but 2) neither did it develop in insolation. At any given point in time different forms of social organization and complexity coexisted. The people who took part in early complex societies were aware of the developments occurring in other peer societies, even if they were separated by areas occupied by less complex social groups. The present project is interested in how the settlements of complex societies went from being anomalies to being the norm, or at least how they became the pervasive form of social organization in the region

David Scotchmer Essay Award


 Rebecca Dinkel, “Shifting Meanings of Mayan Hieroglyphic Vases: Metaphor across Modalities and Media in Changing Political Climates”

Pre-Columbian Mayan vases have been argued to have been used in ritual gift exchange and feasting events that solidified relationships between different polities and validated political lineages. Like other Mayan hieroglyphic media, vases exhibit complex multimodality, where the relationship between writing and pictorial images is not always clear. The vases routinely exhibit standardized writing that has been argued to refer to the foodstuffs the vases once held, but corresponding chemical residue has not been found. Pictorial images on vases depict feasting events, but also abstract, supernatural scenes. This context afforded the writing and pictorial images on vases to circulate separately to other vases and even other media at the end of the Late Classic period (7th - 9th century A.D.) that saw an increase in political competition and proliferation of hieroglyphic texts. This paper traces this process and demonstrates how political elites created novel political metaphors by reinterpreting the writing on vases in light of metaphorical images


Undergraduate Essay Award in Mesoamerican Studies

Angelika Wenzel. "Use of Deer at the Pre'Columbian Maya Urban Capital of Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico"

To what extent was deer meat provisioned to monumental center custodians and to those who hosted ceremonies at administrative buildings foundat the Pre-Columbian archaeological city of Mayapan. Mayapan was the capital of the Maya world during the Postclassicperiod (1150-1450 CE). Analyzing the representation of specific bone elements present at the different buildings (social contexts) at Mayapan addresses this question. Specifically, I compare the White-tailed deer remains found at houses Q-56 and Q-92 (occupied by custodians and artisans), and colonnaded hall Q-99 (an administrative and ritual building). Preferences for specific deer parts might suggest different status or that use of deer are being for specific ritual purposes. To what degree are the bone assemblages different at these structures?

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