Paul Eiss

Associate Professor
Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 2000
Department Member Since: 2000


Paul K. Eiss is a graduate of the Doctoral Program in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, whose work is based upon ethnographic and archival research in Mexico. His published work has explored a wide variety of topics including: value and the circulation of commodities and money; labor and land tenure; archives, historical memory, and the politics of historical narrative; the politics of ethnicity and indigeneity; practices of state formation, governance, and political violence; and religion.

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selected Publications

In the Name of El Pueblo: Place, Community and the Politics of History in Yucatán (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010). Awarded Conference on Latin American History Mexican History Book Prize for best book on Mexican history in English or Spanish published in 2010, and Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Mexico Section Book Prize (2012) for best book on Mexico in the social sciences published in 2010 and 2011.
Edited Collections
Constructing the Maya: Ethnicity, State Formation and Material Culture in Yucatán, Chiapas and Guatemala. Editor of special issue of Ethnohistory 55:4 (Fall 2008).
“Value in Circulation”. Co-editor with David Pedersen of special issue of Cultural Anthropology 17:3 (August 2002).
Refereed Articles
“The Narcomedia: A Reader’s Guide." Latin American Perspectives 41:2 (March 2014), 78-98.
“El Pueblo Mestizo: Modernity, Tradition, and Statecraft in Yucatán, 1870–1907.” Ethnohistory 55:4 (Fall 2008), 525-552.
“Beyond the Object: Of Rabbits, Rutabagas, and History.” Anthropological Theory 8:1 (March 2008), 79-97.
“Deconstructing Indians, Reconstructing Patria: Indigenous Education in Yucatán from the Porfiriato to the Mexican Revolution.” Journal of Latin American Anthropology 9:1 (Spring 2004), 119-150. In theme issue, The Maya Identity of Yucatan, 1500-1935: Re-thinking Ethnicity, History and Anthropology.
“The War of the Eggs: Event, Archive and History in Yucatán’s Independent Union Movement, 1990.” Ethnology 42:2 (Spring 2003), 87-108.
“Hunting for the Virgin: Meat, Money and Memory in Tetiz, Yucatán.” Cultural Anthropology 17:3 (August 2002), 291-330. Awarded “Cultural Horizons” prize by the Society for Cultural Anthropology for the best article to appear in Cultural Anthropology in 2002 and 2003.
“Redemption’s Archive: Remembering the Future in a Revolutionary Past.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44:1 (January 2002), 106-136.
“A Share in the Land: Freedpeople and the Government of Labour in Southern Louisiana, 1862-1865.” Slavery & Abolition 19:1 (April 1998), 46-89.
Book Chapters
“Beyond the Land: Memory, Community and the Meanings of El Pueblo in Yucatán.” In Antonio Escobar Ohmstede and Matthew Butler, eds., Mexico in Transition: New Perspectives on Mexican Agrarian History, 19th and 20th Centuries (México, DF: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), 2013), 511-540.
“Notes on the Difficulty of Studying El Pueblo.” In Chandra D. Bhimull, David William Cohen, Fernando Coronil, Edward L. Murphy, Monica E. Patterson, Julie Skurski, and David William Cohen, eds., Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011), 37-47.
“Taking the Measure of Liberty: The Politics of Labor in Revolutionary Yucatán, 1915-1918.” In Ben Fallaw, Gilbert Joseph, and Edward Terry eds., Peripheral Visions: Politics, Society, and the Challenges of Modernity in Yucatan (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2010), 54-78.
“The Claims of El Pueblo: Possessions, Politics and Histories.” In Elizabeth Ferry and Mandana Limbert eds., Timely Assets: The Politics of Resources and their Temporalities (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008), 191-214.
“To Write Liberation: Time, History and Hope in Yucatan.” In James F. Brooks, Christopher R. N. DeCorse, and John Walton, eds., Small Worlds: Method, Meaning, and Narrative in Microhistory (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008), 53-75.
“Redemption’s Archive: Remembering the Future in a Revolutionary Past.” Expanded and revised version of January 2002 above, in Francis Blouin and William Rosenberg eds., Archives, Documentation and Institutions of Social Memory (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 2006), 301-320.
“A Share in the Land: Freedpeople and the Government of Labour in Southern Louisiana, 1862-1865.” Re-publication of April 1998 above, in Volume 6 of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History, Lawrence Powell ed., Reconstructing Louisiana (Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies of the University of Louisiana, 2001), 58-95.
Published Commentaries, Comparative Reviews, and Interviews
“Indigenous Sovereignty Under and After Spanish Rule.” William and Mary Quarterly 68:4 (October 2011), 711-717.
“The Contemporary Maya.” Forty-one page annotated bibliography of scholarly literature relating to the contemporary Maya, in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Latin American Studies.
“Partial Panoramas: Recent Studies of Globalization in Yucatán and Guatemala.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 14:2 (November 2009): 532-540.
“Constructing the Maya.” Ethnohistory 55:4 (Fall 2008), 503-508.
“Introduction: Values of Value.” Jointly authored with David Pedersen. Cultural Anthropology 17:3 (August 2002), 283-290.
“Deconstruct to Reconstruct: An Interview with Maurice Godelier.” Jointly authored with Tom Wolfe. The Journal of the International Institute 1:2 (Summer 1994).
Book Reviews
Rodolfo F. Acuña, Corridors of Migration: The Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, 1600-1933. Bulletin of Latin American Research 29:3 (July 2010).
Lynn Stephen, ¡Zapata Lives! Histories and Cultural Politics in Southern Mexico. American Ethnologist 30:4 (November 2003), on-line.
Terry Rugeley, Of Wonders and Wise Men: Religion and Popular Cultures in Southeast Mexico, 1800-1876. Ethnohistory 50:4 (Fall 2003), 749-750.
Ben Fallaw, Cárdenas Compromised: The Failure of Reform in Postrevolutionary Yucatán. Journal of Social History 36:4 (June 2003), 1112-1114.
Deidre Sklar, Dancing with the Virgin: Body and Faith in the Fiesta of Tortugas, New Mexico. Journal of Ritual Studies 17:1 (January 2003), 99-100.
Tom Brass and Marcel van der Linden, eds., Free and Unfree Labour: The Debate Continues. Journal of Social History 34:1 (September 2000), 218-220.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Global Studies
Mayan America
Art, Anthropology and Empire
Extreme Ethnography
Objects of Value
The Caribbean: Cultures and Histories
The Politics and Culture of Memory
Beyond the Border: Inventing the Americas in Culture, History, Literature and the Arts
Colloquium in Anthropology and History
Graduate Seminar: Agrarian Studies: Perspectives from Anthropology and History
Graduate Seminar: Memory, History and the Archives
Graduate Seminar: Method and Theory in Historical Studies

Contact Info

Department of History
Baker Hall 366
P: 412.268.6580
F: 412.268.1019