Genes, Language, and Culture in Tewa Ethnogenesis


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




One of the central issues confronting anthropology is whether recent human diversity is the result of parallel or independent change in genes, language, and culture. There are several points of view on this issue, but all agree that migration has played a central role in the development of human diversity. This dissertation provides a longitudinal study of migration and ethnogenesis, focusing on a classic problem in North American archaeology. It shows that the Tewa people of northern New Mexico inherited the genes and language of thirteenth-century Mesa Verde immigrants, but created a radically new culture and society as they settled the Rio Grande frontier. These results suggest that social consequences of migration should be theorized as expressions of agency rather than social kinetics.