Household Production of Urban Life at the Classic Maya City of Palenque, Mexico


Feb. 7, 2022, 11:30am to 12:30pm

Office/Remote Location

CBC C120


Please join us in this UNLV Anthropology Talk, given by Dr. Lisa Johnson. Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UNLV. Audience members can attend in-person (in CBC C120) or register to attend online.

Archaeological studies of urbanism typically include a consideration of scale, from the household, the neighborhood, ward and city. These spatial scales are also spheres of interaction and have implications for the kinds of shared material practices we can expect to find archaeologically. In recent work, I consider the many overlapping social fields and the identities that are defined by the experience of living in a city and how those interactions lead to diverse materialities. While urban studies in the Maya region tend to privilege the large-scale unit of analysis that is the city, I will begin with the smallest scale, the household. I focus on the house as a point of intersection between the macroscale processes of urbanization and the microscale day-to-day production of urbanity. A history of intense research focused on Palenque’s ruling elite, their monuments, and impressive art and architecture gives an impression of homogeneity in social identity, and a city occupied only by powerful men and a few elite women. Yet, there are entire populations that have been historically underrepresented in studies of urbanism and the social experience of living in cities, particularly those groups including women, children, elders, servants, slaves or captives. Years of archaeological investigations within select residential groups provide overwhelming evidence that even in Palenque’s wealthiest households, there was considerable diversity.

Admission Information

Open to all members of the broader UNLV community.

External Sponsor

Department of Anthropology