Nancy Peniche and Ben Volta Published

Congratulations to Nancy Peniche and Ben Volta for two articles that were just published!

Nancy’s piece is entitled, “Archaeological Spindle Whorls of the Yucatan Peninsula” and appears in Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica:

Ben’s piece is called “Under the Rule of the Snake Kings: Uxul in the 7th and 8th Centuries” and appears in the journal Estudios de Cultura Maya.


American Value: Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States

Professor David Pedersen has a brand new book just published by the University of Chicago Press,  American Value:  Migrants, Money, and Meaning in El Salvador and the United States

 American Value

Over the past half-century, El Salvador has transformed dramatically. Historically reliant on primary exports like coffee and cotton, the country emerged from a brutal civil war in 1992 to find much of its national income now coming from a massive emigrant workforce—over a quarter of its population—that earns money in the United States and sends it home. In American Value, David Pedersen examines this new way of life as it extends across two places: Intipucá, a Salvadoran town infamous for its remittance wealth, and the Washington, DC, metro area, home to the second largest population of Salvadorans in the United States.
Pedersen charts El Salvador’s change alongside American deindustrialization, viewing the Salvadoran migrant work abilities used in new lowwage American service jobs as a kind of primary export, and shows how the latest social conditions linking both countries are part of a longer history of disparity across the Americas. Drawing on the work of Charles S. Peirce, he demonstrates how the defining value forms—migrant work capacity, services, and remittances—act as signs, building a moral world by communicating their exchangeability while hiding the violence and exploitation on which this story rests. Theoretically sophisticated, ethnographically rich, and compellingly written, American Value offers critical insights into practices that are increasingly common throughout the world.

Prof. Pedersen’s book is part of a book series housed by the Center for Contemporary Theory (3CT) at Univ. of Chicago .The 3CT book series, “Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning.” See link:

Prof. Thomas Csordas received SSRC research grant

Prof. Thomas Csordas received a research grant from SSRC under its initiative on New Directions in the Study of Prayer.   From over 400 applicants,  the NDSP advisory committee made awards for 24 research and 6 journalistic projects, and working groups of awardees will meet twice a year for the next two years to develop collaborative conceptualizations of the nature of prayer. Csordas will examine the contemporary resurgence of exorcism prayer in the Roman Catholic Church, comparing Italy and the United States. His work will focus on two analytic levels: the conservative discourse about evil at large  in the world articulated through the practice of exorcism, and the phenomenology of therapeutic process for ritual participants including the afflicted persons, exorcist priests, and consulting mental health professionals.