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Fernando Armstrong-Fumero

Associate Professor of Anthropology


10 Prospect Street #201


Fernando Armstrong-Fumero is a historically oriented anthropologist with almost a quarter-century of research experience in the Yucatan Peninsula. His research focuses on the complex relationship between late-20th century identity politics and earlier forms of agrarian politics in rural Maya-speaking communities.

Armstrong-Fumero has also published extensively on the theory and practice of cultural heritage. Specifically, his work seeks to blur the boundary between the conceptual and legal frameworks that define the management of tangible heritage objects and those that pertain to the intangible cultural heritage of descendant communities.

A third ongoing project involves the intellectual history of U.S. and Mexican anthropology.  Armstrong-Fumero is currently developing a project that will trace how Mayanist anthropology was shaped by a particular series of commercial, political and intellectual networks that linked New England elites to Mexico and Central America since the mid-19th century.

Selected Publications

2013 Elusive Unity: Factionalism and the Limits of Identity Politics in Yucatan, Mexico. University Press of Colorado.

2017 Legacies of Space and Intangible Heritage: Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and the Politics of Cultural Continuity in the Americas.  Boulder: University Press of Colorado. (Co-edited with Julio Hoil Gutierrez)

2019 Ouija Boards, Shape Shifters, and Dropouts: Moral Panics and Neoliberal Precarity in Rural Yucatan. Dialectical Anthropology 

2018 “Artifactual Surface and the Limits of Inclusion,” Anthropological Quarterly. 91(3).

2018 “Hacienda Domesticity and the Archaeological Sublime: Sentiment and the Origins of Heritage Management in Yucatan, Mexico.” Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeology Congress.

2014 A Tale of Two Mayan Babels: Vernacular Histories of the Maya and the Limits of Inclusion. Ethnohistory 61(4): 761 – 784.

2014 Even the Most Careless Observer”: Race and Visual Discernment in Anthropology from Samuel Morton to Kennewick Man. American Studies. 52(2): 5 – 29.

2011 “Words and Things in Yucatán: The Ontology of Heritage and Mayan Multiculturalism” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 17: 63 – 81.

2009 A Heritage of Ambiguity: The Historical Substrate of Vernacular Multiculturalism in Yucatan, Mexico. American Ethnologist 36(2): 299 – 316.

2009a Old Jokes and New Multiculturalisms: Continuity and Change in Vernacular Discourse on the Yucatec Maya Language. American Anthropologist 111(3): 360 - 372.

Office Hours

Spring 2023

Monday and Wednesday,

2:30 - 4:00 p.m.,

and by appointment


Ph.D., Stanford University
M.A., B.A., University of Pennsylvania

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks