Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
State University of New York at Potsdam


Lydia Rodríguez Cuevas

I am a linguistic anthropologist who specializes in linguistic relativity, the anthropology of time, spontaneous co-speech gesture, and discourse analysis. My area focus is Latin America, and specifically Mayan languages and cultures.

I have been working in Chol Maya speaking communities since 2006. The Chol are a population of approximately two hundred thousand indigenous subsistence farmers who live in the state of Chiapas in Southeastern Mexico. Currently Chol territory is characterized by intense language contact among different indigenous Mayan groups—Chol, Tzotzil and Tzeltal—and by widespread bilingualism in Spanish and Mayan languages, which makes it a fascinating place to work on.

Ever since I remember, I have been interested in language. I am a native speaker of Spanish, and I learned English at a very young age. During high school I became fascinated by classical Latin and Greek, which led me to study Latin and Greek in college. I hold a BA in Classical Philology, with a specialization in Classical Greek, and a BA in Sociocultural Anthropology. I became interested in Mayan languages and cultures as a graduate student at the University of Virginia, where I worked with and learned a great deal from my dissertation Advisor, Eve Danziger.

My interest in co-speech gesture and multimodality in communication is less academic in origin. Just as I have always been interested on language, ever since I remember I have been a dancer: these two interests grew together in me. I studied classical ballet and jazz for twenty years, and more recently I begun to practice ballroom dancing. My passion for dance instilled my interest in the role that our bodies play in communication.

2019 © Copyright. Lydia Rodríguez