Dr. Rani Alexander, Department Head

Ph.D., University of New Mexico, 1993; Professor

Rani_Alexander_oryx_skull_(2014)

Office: Breland 316
Phone: 575-646-5809
E-mail: raalexan@nmsu.edu
Curriculum Vitae
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Dr. Alexander is an archaeologist specializing in the complex societies of Mesoamerica, the post AD1450 archaeology of the Yucatán peninsula, colonialism and ethnohistory, archaeological households and site structure, agrarian ecology, zooarchaeological analysis, and quantitative analytical methods.

Current Research

I specialize in the study of the prehistoric complex societies of Mesoamerica, historical archaeology of the Yucatán peninsula, and Maya ethnohistory. Understanding the relationships between rural communities and the state is a long-term research goal. My research focuses especially on the formation of refuge areas, frontiers, and resistance to colonial regimes. In working on questions of rural autonomy, I contrast three cases involving the lowland Maya.

The first case concerns the time of Yucatan’s nineteenth-century Caste War in Yaxcabá, Yucatán. The second relates to the time following the Maya collapse from the tenth through the sixteenth centuries at Isla Cilvituk, Campeche. The latter project also addresses processes of Maya flight to the southern frontier of the Yucatan peninsula, multiethnic community formation, and variability in vernacular architecture during the 20th century within the modern community of Silvituc, Campeche.

My third and most recent investigation explores post AD 1450 Maya archaeology and ethnohistory in Ebtún and related towns in Yucatán, México. The project explores how Maya farmers resisted and accommodated Spanish colonial and postcolonial administration of land ownership and agricultural production between 1500 and 2000.

In addition to these field projects on the Yucatan peninsula, I also have fieldwork experience in Honduras and the American Southwest. I have conducted archival research in Mexico on seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century documents written in Spanish and Yucatec Maya.