Kelly Jenks

Kelly L Jenks

Primary Field
Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Department of Anthropology
Knowledge / Expertise
Interest/Specialty Areas Historical archaeology, Spanish colonial history, social identity, culture contact, US Southwest, Cultural Resource Management

I am an archaeologist specializing in the history and late prehistory of the American Southwest and Southern Plains. My research focuses on the material construction of social and political identities and the influence of interregional trade in New Mexico.

Current Research

My primary interest is in the material construction and evolution of social identities within contact zones. Much of my recent research has focused on group identities that formed during the late Spanish colonial, Mexican, and early American periods in the Southwest.

One major focus of my research has been on the construction of Hispanic identity within multiethnic colonial communities. I completed analyses of ceramics recovered from the Tubac presidio in southern Arizona (occupied 1752-1846), arguing that these collections offer insight into the shifting cultural identities of the (mostly indigenous) presidio soldiers. I have also conducted fieldwork within the Spanish land grant community of San Miguel del Vado, New Mexico, established in the Upper Pecos River Valley on the eastern frontier of the New Mexico colony in 1794. My analysis of the use of space, architecture, and materials at this site focuses on the ways that residents used corporate practices and communal spaces to downplay ethnic differences and express a shared civic identity (vecindad) that distinguished them from their eastern neighbors and trade partners. Presently, I am exploring Hispanic expansion and settlement in New Mexico in both earlier and later periods: at Los Ojitos, a homestead-era village in the Middle Pecos Valley occupied ca. 1870-1950, and along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the road connecting New Mexico to Mexico from 1598 through the 1880s.

I have previous experience working in cultural resource management (CRM) in the Southwest and Great Plains regions, and I regularly teach two of the core courses (ANTH 540 and 542) for the Graduate Certificate in Cultural Resource Management. The fall course (ANTH 540) focuses on CRM law, while the spring semester introduces students to the practice of CRM by involving them in active research projects relating to the Camino Real. Undergraduate students who are interested in taking these classes may register for ANTH 497 (but please contact me first).

Courses Presently in Rotation:

  • ANTH 201G: Introduction to Anthropology
  • ANTH 202G: World Archaeology
  • ANTH 315: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 318/518: Historical Archaeology
  • ANTH 433V: Sex, Gender, and Culture (cross-listed with GNDR 433V)
  • ANTH 497/540: Cultural Resource Managemen
  • ANTH 497/542: Cultural Resource Management
  • ANTH 503: Anthropological Theory
  • HON 235G: Window on Humanity
  • HON 387V: Comparative Perspectives on Women
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Geographic Areas of Expertise United States
New Mexico
Geographic Areas of Expertise International
Western Hemisphere
United States of America