Holly Dygert

Building 30 (B30) 203
(401) 456-8487

Academic Background

Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2008
M.A., Michigan State University, 2003
B.A., Hartwick College, 1995


Dr. Dygert began to develop interests in gender, social justice and cultural diversity during her undergraduate studies at Hartwick College, where she majored in Music Performance. She earned her B.A. in 1995, and then decided to pursue these interests via graduate study. She first travelled to Mexico in 1999, as part of a study abroad program in Chiapas, Mexico. She began working in Oaxaca, Mexico, the following summer, and has since spent over two years conducting research there. She drew from this research to write her doctoral dissertation, which investigates the politics of contemporary views of indigenous culture from the vantage point of a rural Mixtec-speaking village. The research examined orientations toward indigenous culture within two initiatives aimed at indigenous communities - a government-run welfare program seeking to reduce family size, and a social movement promoting the revitalization of the Mixtec language. The dissertation research was designed to examine, in particular, how these initiatives are shaping the experiences and everyday struggles of Mixtec villagers. Accordingly, the dissertation tracks how negative views of indigenous culture influence village women - who many see as bearers of indigenous culture - and how these women fight against these views. The formal Mixtec revitalization movement has largely bypassed these women, while focusing their efforts instead on young people involved in the formal educational system. Dr. Dygert is currently developing a book manuscript based on the dissertation, which examines the everyday cultural political struggles of Mixtec village women.

Dr. Dygert regards all research as political, and hopes that this work will help increase public recognition of the crucial role older indigenous women play in contemporary cultural political struggles. She is also working to develop collaborative initiatives with villagers and other engaged professionals to combat the negative views of indigenous culture that she encountered while conducting the research.

Areas of Expertise

Anthropology of Reproduction; Cultural Politics; Human Rights; Feminist Anthropology; Indigenous Movements; Economic Development; Mexico; the Ñuu Savi (Mixtec) people

Courses Taught

ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 162: Non-Western Worlds: Mexico
ANTH 205: Race, Culture, and Ethnicity: Anthropological Perspectives
ANTH 309: Medical Anthropology
ANTH 332: Applied Anthropology
ANTH 460: Seminar in Anthropology, Senior Experience

Page last updated: September 17, 2013