Jennifer P. Mathews, Ph.D.
- Professor , Sociology and Anthropology
Jennifer Mathews is a professor of anthropology in the sociology and anthropology department at Trinity University, where she teaches courses in archaeology and biological anthropology. She studies ancient and historical Maya archaeology, as well as issues of sustainability and tourism. She was named the 2019-20 recipient of the Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding abilities as a teacher and mentor and was selected as a Piper Professor (a state-wide teaching award for superior teaching at the college level) for 2020.
She received her master's and Ph.D. in anthropology, with a specialization in Maya archaeology, from the University of California at Riverside. Her undergraduate degree was in anthropology from San Diego State University (1991). She has been conducting fieldwork and archival research in Mexico since 1993.
She has written journal articles, book chapters and three edited books on Maya archaeology: Quintana Roo Archaeology (with Justine Shaw), Lifeways in the Northern Maya Lowlands: New Approaches to Archaeology in the Yucatán Peninsula (with Bethany Morrison) and The Value of Things: Prehistoric to Contemporary Commodities in the Maya Region (with Tom Guderjan). She also published Chicle: Chewing Gum of the Americas: From the Ancient Maya to William Wrigley (with Gillian P. Schultz). She is currently working on an edited volume with Tom Guderjan on prehistoric to contemporary Maya boundaries and the manipulation of space entitled "The Ties that Bind and the Walls that Divide: Prehistoric to Contemporary Maya Manipulation of Social Space". She recently published a co-authored volume with John Gust called "Sugarcane and Rum: The Bittersweet History of Labor and Life on the Yucatán Peninsula," in the spring of 2020. She is also working with the Lucía Abramovich, Associate Curator of Latin American Art, on a reinstallation of the Pre-Columbian collection at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
2020 Gust, John R. and Jennifer P. Mathews
"Bittersweet History: Sugarcane, Rum, Labor and Life on the Yucatán Peninsula." Peer-reviewed monograph with the University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
2020 Mathews, Jennifer P.
“Protecting the Archaeological Past in the Face of Tourism Demand.” Chapter in the volume “Tourism and Archaeology,” edited by Dallen J. Timothy and Lina Tahan, Channel View Publications, United Kingdom.
2017 Mathews, Jennifer P. and John Gust.
“Cosmopolitan Living? Examining the Sugar and Rum Industry of the Costa Escondida, Quintana Roo Mexico.” Chapter included in the peer-reviewed edited volume, The Value of Things: Prehistoric to Contemporary Maya Commodities. University of Arizona Press.
2015 Mathews, Jennifer P.
“A Tale of Two Projects: Comparative Findings of the CRAS and Yalahau Projects.” Chapter in the volume The Maya of the Cochuah Region: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Northern Maya Lowlands, edited by Justine M. Shaw, pp. 269-280. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
2013 Castañeda, Quetzil E. and Jennifer P. Mathews.
“Archaeology Meccas of Tourism: Exploration, Protection, Exploitation” and “Life on the ‘B’ List: Archaeology and Tourism at Sites that aren’t Postcard Worthy.” Chapter in Tourism and Archaeology: Sustainable Meeting Grounds, pp. 37-64, Cameron Walker and Neill Carr, editors. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California. (Peer-reviewed, edited volume).
2012 Fedick, Scott L., Jennifer P. Mathews, and Kathryn Sorensen.
“Cenotes as Conceptual Boundary Markers at the Ancient Maya Site of T’isil, Quintana Roo, Mexico.” Mexicon Volume XXXIV (No. 5): 118-123.
2011 Glover, Jeffrey B, Rissolo, Dominique, and Jennifer P. Mathews.
“The Hidden World of the Maritime Maya: Lost Landscapes along the North Coast of Quintana Roo.” In The Archaeology of Maritime Landscapes, edited by Benjamin Ford, pp. 195-216. Springer Press, New York, NY.
2009 Mathews, Jennifer P.with Gillian P. Schultz.
Chicle. The Chewing Gum of the Americas: From the Ancient Maya to William Wrigley, University of Arizona Press.
Professor Mathews's research has focused on the ancient Maya, studying roads, architecture, and the layout of sites. Over the last decade, she has been focusing on the post-Colonial period of the Yucatan Peninsula (1850–1950), looking at the extraction of commodities like sugarcane, chicle (the base for chewing gum) and rum production. She is planning to return to the field to begin documenting 19th-century churches in the Yucatán.
Professor Mathews works regularly with local museums such as the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) to teach docents about the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica, and her students provide copies of their semester-long research papers on pieces in their collection. She has a service project every semester in her classes to raise money for a cause related to the class, such as the San Antonio Food Bank (Eating and Drinking in the 19th Century), adopting primates at the San Antonio Zoo (Seminar in Primatology) or supporting Maya women artisans in Mesoamerica (Pre-Columbian Art of Mesoamerica and Seminar on the Ancient Maya). She has also curated two exhibits "The Modern Maya: The Photographs of Macduff Everton" and "Crafting Maya Identity."