David Tavarez

Professor of Anthropology
David Eduardo Tavarez wearing a light patterned shirt and black jacket in front of an archway.

A first-generation college graduate from Ciudad Juárez, David Tavárez is a linguistic anthropologist and a historian of Latin America. His courses and research focus on language, culture and history; Mesoamerican societies; religion and ritual practice; colonial Nahuatl and Zapotec sources; Indigenous intellectuals; and native Christianities and the suppression of Indigenous religions. He is the author of the books Rethinking Zapotec Time (2022), The Invisible War (2011), and 60+ peer-reviewed articles and chapters. He is also the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Ritual Language and Words and Worlds Turned Around (2017), and a co-author of Painted Words (2016), and Chimalpahin's Conquest (2010). His research has been funded by awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.

BA, Harvard University; MA, PhD, University of Chicago
At Vassar since 2003


Blodgett Hall
Box 430

Research and Academic Interests

Linguistic anthropology
Latin American history
Colonial rule and resistance
Indigenous intellectuals
Cosmology and ritual

Selected Publications



In the Media

David Tavárez, Professor of Anthropology, was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for a project entitled Word, Time, and Resistance in Colonial Mexico: The Zapotec Books of the Cosmos. Vassar Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2017.

Interview after public lecture, organized by the Archaeological Institute of America, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to inaugurate the exhibit The Virgin of Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas.

L.A. is known as a mecca for court interpreters, but when a defendant or witness speaks a rare dialect, officials may resort to unusual remedies. Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2009


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