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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Anya Peterson Royce « Committee on NAIS

Picture of Anya Peterson Royce

Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Literature
Adjunct Professor of Folklore, Russian-East-European Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Director, Library/Laboratory in Performing Arts

Office: Student Building 046
Phone: (812) 855-0248
E-mail: royce at


Anya Peterson Royce is Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology and of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. A native of Berkeley, she did her BA at Stanford University and her PhD at University of California Berkeley. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick. She does research, writes, and teaches about indigenous peoples of Mexico, especially the Isthmus Zapotec of Oaxaca with whom she has lived and worked for more than forty years, about dance and performing arts, looking especially at creativity, artistry, and meaning, and about building community across diversity. Her most recent book, Becoming an Ancestor: The Isthmus Zapotec Way of Death, was published in 2011 by SUNY University Press. She is currently at work on a book on the communal and collaborative creative process of the Pilobolus Dance Theatre for Wesleyan University Press. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Polish, Greek, Korean, and most recently, Chinese

Relevant Courses

  • E457 Ethnic Identity
  • E485 The Art and Craft of Ethnography
  • Graduate seminars on power, identity, performance, and history (E600 variable topic)

Publication Highlights

In Press. Becoming an Ancestor: The Isthmus Zapotec Way of Death. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Forthcoming. The Anthropology of Dance [Chinese translation], trans. Wang Jian-min. Original English-language edition published in 1977 by Indiana University Press; reprinted in 2002 by Dance Books (Hampshire, England)

Forthcoming. Anthropology of the Performing Arts: Artistry, Virtuosity, and Interpretation in a Cross-Cultural Perspective [Polish translation]. Original edition published in 2004 by AltaMira Press.

2008. Voices of the True Peoples: Indigenous Mexican Poets and Writers for the Theater. Review of Poetry and Theater, Vols. 2 and 3 of Words of the True Peoples—Palabras de los Seres Verdaderos: Anthology of Contemporary Mexican Indigenous-Language Writers, ed. Carlos Montemayor and Donald Frischmann (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007). e-misférica 5/2(Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, New York, N.Y.).

2008. Dance. In International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2d edition, ed. William A. Darity, Jr., 2:223-25. Detroit, MI.: Macmillan Reference USA.
2005. Conclusions. In Anthropologie de la danse: Genèse et construction d’une discipline, ed. Andrée Grau and Georgiana Wierre-Gore, 35-41. Pantin, France: Centre National de la Danse.

2005. Prólogo. In Juchitán: Testimonios de un pasado mágico, by Gonzalo Jiménez López, 5-7. Oaxaca de Juarez, Oax.: Instituto Oaxaqueño de las Culturas/CONACULTA/
Delegación Regional de Tehuantepec/PACMYAC.

2004. The Anthropology of Performing Arts: Artistry, Virtuosity, and Interpretation. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.