Tiffany C. Cain is a scholar of political violence, settler colonialism, materiality, and collective memory. She investigates settler colonialism as a form of political violence and focuses especially on how such violence, the things and places it generates, and the memories that result from its experience yield collective notions of heritage and sociopolitical consciousness across time. She combines methodologies and theoretical frameworks from across a variety of fields including archaeology, cultural anthropology, indigenous studies, history, comparative literature, and linguistics to address these issues. Her principal field research takes place in Quintana Roo, Mexico where she is a longtime member of the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project—a community-based, collaborative heritage initiative anchored by an interest in the history and present-day relevance of the late-19th century conflict often called the Caste War of Yucatan. At Princeton, she will be developing a number of journal articles, an edited volume on historical archaeologies of the traditionally Maya region, an edited volume on the intersections of gender and heritage practice, and a monograph tentatively titled "Things of War: Life at the Center of Conflict on Mexico’s Maya Frontier." In fall 2019 she plans to teach an introductory course on native American and indigenous studies.
Cain holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Master’s in Anthropology and Bachelor’s in Archaeology conterminously at Stanford University in 2011. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Mellon Mays, the William Fontaine Society, and the Louis J. Kolb Society, and her field research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and a Foreign Language and Area Studies grant for Yukatek Maya.