Carnegie Mellon University

Paul Eiss

Paul K. Eiss

Associate Professor


Paul K. Eiss is an associate professor of anthropology and history in Carnegie Mellon’s Department of History. He has conducted extensive archival and ethnographic research in Mexico.  Eiss is currently pursuing three research projects.  The first examines practices and rhetoric of collective violence and collective self-defense in contemporary Mexico.  The second is a study of mestizaje and performance in Yucatán—and particularly in Yucatecan teatro regional—from the early 19th century to the present.  The third is a study of indigeneity, translation, and the politics of memory in revolutionary and post-revolutionary Yucatán.


Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 2000



Edited Collections

  • The Fernando Coronil Reader: The Struggle for Life is the Matter. Co-editor with Julie Skurski, et al. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019 in press).
  • The Politics and Performance of Mestizaje in Latin America: Mestizo Acts (London: Routledge, 2018). Republication of Mestizo Acts, below.
  • Mestizo Acts: The Politics and Performance of Mestizaje in Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. Editor of theme issue of Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 11:3 (Fall 2016).
  • Constructing the Maya: Ethnicity, State Formation and Material Culture in Yucatán, Chiapas and Guatemala. Editor of theme issue of Ethnohistory 55:4 (Fall 2008).
  • Value in Circulation. Co-editor with David Pedersen of theme issue of Cultural Anthropology 17:3 (August 2002).

Refereed Articles

  • “A Revolutionary Postmortem: Body, Memory and History during Yucatán’s Revolution and in its Wake, 1915-2015.” Hispanic American Historical Review 98:4 (November 2018), 669-706.
  • “Playing Mestizo: Festivity, Language and Theatre in Yucatán.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 11:3 (Fall 2016), 242-265.
    • Latin American Studies Association, Mexico Section, Humanities Essay Award (2017).
  • “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.
  • “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.
    • Society for Cultural Anthropology "Cultural Horizons" Prize (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

  • “Front Lines and Back Channels: the Fractal Publics of El Blog del Narco.” In Paul Gillingham, Michael Lettieri, and Benjamin Smith eds., Journalism, Satire and Censorship in Mexico, 1910-2014 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2018), 333-352.
  • “Beyond Alterity, Beyond Occidentalism: Some Thoughts on the ‘Indigenous Other’ in Mexico.” Epilogue to Paula López Caballero and Ariadna Acevedo-Rodrigo eds., Beyond Alterity: Producing Indigeneity in Modern Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2018), 284-296.
  • “Las dolencias del pueblo: retóricas y prácticas de autodefensa en México.” In Lucía Álvarez ed., Pueblo, ciudadanía, y sociedad civil: aportes para un debate (Mexico City: Siglo XXI Editores, 2017), 102-127.
  • “Reflexiones acerca del estudio de ‘El Pueblo,’ y sus dificultades.” In Gustavo Marín Guardado and Gabriela Torres-Mazuera eds., Antropología e historia en México: las fronteras construídas de un territorio compartido. Expanded, revised and translated version of “Notes on the Difficulty of Studying El Pueblo,” below (México D.F.: C.O.L.MICH., C.I.E.S.A.S. and UNAM-CEPHCIS, 2016), 241-256.
  • “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: (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.
  • “A 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 and Comparative Reviews

  • “Mestizo Acts.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 11: 3 (Fall 2016), 213-221.
  • “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 (published on-line September 2011).
  • “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.

Courses Taught

  • Mexico: From the Aztec Empire to the Drug War
  • Mayan America
  • Beyond the Border
  • Screening Mexico: Mexican Cinema, 1898 to Present
  • Extreme Ethnography
  • Art, Anthropology and Empire

Department Member Since: 2000