Faculty Bio

David Tavárez

Professor of Anthropology

David Tavárez is a linguistic anthropologist and historian who studies colonial indigenous societies, Nahua and Zapotec religion and calendars, and native intellectuals. He teaches an introduction to linguistics and anthropology and courses on language and culture, Mesoamerican and Andean topics, ethnohistory, and Indigenous religions and literatures. His research addresses the religion and history of indigenous communities in Mexico with a focus on ritual, evangelization and campaigns against idolatry, indigenous intellectuals, Mesoamerican calendars, and Nahua and Zapotec societies.

He is the author of The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, 2011; Spanish-language revised edition, Las guerras invisibles2012), editor of Words and Worlds Turned Around: Indigenous Christianities in Colonial Latin America (Colorado, 2017), and co-author, with Elizabeth Boone and Louise Burkhart, of Painted Words: Nahua Catholicism, Politics, and Memory in the Atzaqualco Pictorial Catechism (Dumbarton Oaks, 2017), and of Chimalpahin’s Conquest: A Nahua Historian’s Rewriting of Francisco López de Gómara’s La conquista de México, with Susan Schroeder, Anne Cruz, and Cristián Roa (Stanford, 2010; Spanish translation, Chimalpáhin y La Conquista de México, 2012). He has also published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and over 30 book reviews.

His work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the John Carter Brown Library, the Mellon Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, and the Research Institute for the Advancement of Man. He has taught at CIESAS, Bard College, and UNAM, and served as peer reviewer for ACLS, SSRC, national science institutions in Chile and Poland, and over 25 scholarly journals and 15 university presses. He also served as Councillor of the American Society for Ethnohistory and editorial board member at Ethnohistory and Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History. Born and raised in Ciudad Juárez (Mexico), he attended Grinnell, received a BA from Harvard, and completed a PhD in history and anthropology at the University of Chicago.