Heroy Hall 429
Student webpage: http://smu.academia.edu/WhitneyGoodwin
BA Anthropology and Archaeology, The College of Wooster
MA Applied Anthropology, University of South Florida
MA Anthropology, Southern Methodist University
My main research interest is learning how people in the past who were living in border areas negotiated their identities. To do this, I take a holistic approach to studying pottery — looking at the explicit messages sent through styles on ceramics but also examining what we can learn about identity through the foods that were prepared, cooked, and stored in those vessels. Choices about food, from what is edible to how dishes are prepared and served, can reveal a lot about group identity and affiliation.
My dissertation research explores identity among Prehispanic communities along the northern coast of Honduras during the Selin Period (AD 300-1000). These communities were positioned at the border of Mesoamerica and Lower Central America. Previous research on ceramic style in the region suggests that local affiliation shifted over time from north to south as part of an adept strategy to navigate the complex political and social landscape of the region through the promotion of an inclusive group identity. My project explores the actual implementation of that strategy by investigating communal feasting contexts where symbolically significant ceramics were used and incorporates new information about local identity and affiliation through a complementary study of foodways. Tracing changes in these traditions over time elucidates the ways in which these materials were articulated in practice to create enduring symbols of identity. Ongoing collaboration with the indigenous descendant community and Honduran anthropology students continues to provide new insights and directions for future research in the area.
Entered program in 2011
Region of Study:
Lower Central America/Intermediate Area, Southeastern Mesoamerica; Northern Great Plains