Keitlyn Alcantara

bioarchaeologist, food educator, speaker, writer


Read the article “Tamaleando en Tennessee” Here

View Sazón Nashville on Channel 5 Here

Download the COVID Comfort Food Cookbook Here

About Me

Raised between US and Mexican worlds, my academic and personal growth has been strongly shaped by both. I am an anthropological bioarchaeologist, and doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University (Spring 2020 expected graduation). Through my research, community projects and intersecting identities, I am drawn to stories of resistance and resilience through change, particularly as told through food practices. I believe that studies of the ancient past are inextricably linked to the political contexts of the present. My research uses quantitative dietary isotope analyses and qualitative oral history interviews to call attention to the ways social and political systems shape foodways in the past and present, using a case study from Late Postclassic Tepeticpac, Tlaxcala. This city was part of one of the only states to resist Aztec incorporation as the Empire spread across Central Mexico. I argue that sustainable shared foodways and local ecological knowledge were key to community resistance. Through a decolonial approach, my work brings archaeology into dialogue with contemporary ancestral communities in Tlaxcala to explore how archaeology can align with and support grassroots systems dedicated to food education and food sovereignty. When working in the United States, I further use food as a way to discuss immigration (see Sazón Nashville), and the role of food in maintaining cultural memory and community resilience. Through my work and play, I seek to build an interdisciplinary and cross-border network of scholars and community experts who approach food as a biological, cultural, and political tool. Through my work, I approach bioarchaeology as the nexus between the past and present, serving as evidence for the lasting impacts of political policy, and the resilience of community action.

Get in touch:

Indiana University-Bloomington

Department of Anthropology

Archaeology Annex

Bloomington, IN 

All Rights Reserved 2019

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