Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Richard M. Leventhal


How does political violence materialize across timescales in settler colonial contexts? This central question of my dissertation responds to what I see as a growing divide between war studies and everyday life studies in the humanities and social sciences. This divide has special influence in studies of colonialism writ large, and colonial violence in particular, because it can render indigenous peoples' experiences with and engagements in colonial projects unintelligible. In order to remedy this shortcoming, I present a framework for an archaeology of political violence, defined not as a synonym for war, but as the function of war and structural oppression. The framework I propose emerges from my involvement with a collaborative heritage initiative, the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project, located in Tihosuco, Quintana Roo, Mexico. The project positioned me to draw on a wide range of media with which to think about the politics surrounding the history of the Caste War of Yucatan—a predominantly Maya anti-colonial insurrection that began in the former Tihosuco Parish in 1847. The war lasted until 1901, making it one of the longest (as well as most successful) indigenous insurrections to have been mounted in the Americas. Each of the three central chapters contends with one mode of materializing political violence: segregation, war, and memory practices. Ultimately, the aim is to arrive at a more holistic approach to investigating violence—and its ramifications—in settler colonial contexts.

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