Graduate Students

Tiffany Cain

Tiffany is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. Her research engages the interplay between cultural heritage, archaeology, and the sociopolitics of community development. She has recently joined the archaeological division of the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project in Quintana Roo, MX. Her broader interests include cultural heritage ethics, archaeologies of colonialism, indigenous and diaspora archaeology, landscape archaeologies, and community-based participatory research.

Kasey Diserens

Kasey is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology.  While pursing her Masters in Historic Preservation at Penn, she became interested in the intersection between cultural heritage studies, anthropology, and historic preservation, particularly focusing on ideas of ownership and control of historic resources.  She has been a part of the colonial house sub-project of the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project in Quintana Roo, Mexico, since 2014. Her work on that project ranges from documentation and drawing of the existing structures to interviewing owners and members of the community regarding their perceptions of the colonial era structures in town.  More broadly, her interests include cultural heritage, identity, memorialization, historic preservation, community-based archaeological projects, how space impacts culture and memory, and the spatial manifestations of inequality.

Chris Green

Chris is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research seeks to understand the epistemic value-gap between stakeholders of cultural heritage, including indigenous peoples, museum professionals, and the public. In particular, he focuses on how, why, and to what effect colonizers objectify and how colonized subjectify the same cultural heritage. Currently, his research is located between the museums of continental France and the Oceanic peoples represented within them. He is a Research Assistant for Dr. Brian Daniel’s Shasta project in California. His background is in archaeological heritage legal compliance work, especially the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, for museums, universities, and the US military.

Maria Fernanda Esteban Palma

Maria is a graduate student at Penn interested in how cultural heritage is used by stakeholders in Latin American settings. Her earlier studies in law at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and in archaeology at the University of Exeter, UK, have been fundamental to recognize the subtle forces at play during the selection, use and contestation of heritage in Colombia, where the claims of indigenous groups, farmers, merchants, scholars and governments usually converge. More broadly, her areas of research include material culture studies, indigenous cosmologies, ethnicity, the politics of representation and collaborative research methodologies. Currently, she is undertaking preliminary research with several indigenous associations in central Colombia as preparation for a longer project on the relationship between landscape, spirituality and identity construction. This study will be the basis for her doctoral dissertation.

Lise Puyo

Ms. Lise Puyo is a cultural anthropologist from France, interested in material and written evidence of the diplomatic relations between Indigenous peoples and French colonial settler societies in the American Northeast. Her interests include museum policies, ethics, curation, and the appropriation and display of Indigenous heritage. Lise's experience includes material culture analysis, working with museum collections in the United States, France, and Canada. A significant part of her research also uses historical written documents to navigate among ecclesiastical sources, French and English colonial sources, Six Nations Haudenosaunee sources, and others who shaped the networks and practices of collecting, from proto-anthropological cabinets of curiosity to ethnographic museums to tribal nations. At Penn, she serves as a Research Assistant to Dr. Margaret Bruchac for the project "On the Wampum Trail," supported by grants from the Penn Museum and the Department of Anthropology. She has also been researching the French logic underpinning the recurring auctions of Hopi katsinam in Paris. Ms. Puyo sees these case studies as more than just historical, archaeological or museological issues; they also reveal political struggles, historical traumas, and issues of cultural sovereignty that are dramatically at stake today. Read more about her work for the Wampum Trail project. here

Aldo Anzures Tapia

Aldo Anzures Tapia is a Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics at the Graduate School of Education. The focus of his research is geared towards Indigenous education and language revitalization in Mexico.He is particularly interested in the ways Yucatec Maya is in contact with Spanish and English in educational spaces in the Yucatan Peninsula. Since 2015 he has engaged in collaborative research with the Caste War Museum (Tihosuco, Quintana Roo) through the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Project. He has assisted the Caste War Museum in the production of bilingual comics, bilingual lesson plans and materials for the museum workshops; in the documentation of bilingual rap practices and oral histories from the elders in Tihosuco; as well as in the promotion of a trilingual approach to the museography. Aldo holds an M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Robbie Vigar

Robbie is a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology whose research focuses on socio-political, economic and historical perspectives on the looting and destruction of cultural heritage in the modern conflict zones of the Middle East. In particular, his research seeks to address questions surrounding the facilitation networks that perpetuate the trade in illicit antiquities, the dislocation of populations from their own history and the engagement of local communities in cultural heritage preservation. Robbie undertook his undergraduate and graduate degrees at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, concentrating on the archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa. During the final year of his Masters degree Robbie took up a position at the UK government’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, where he subsequently worked for two years before coming to the University of Pennsylvania. Robbie is part of the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria Initiative at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, helping to document the damage caused to Syrian cultural heritage in the ongoing Syrian civil war.