History Department
History Department

LASA Dissertation Award Goes to UT History Alum Christopher Heaney

Mon, April 17, 2017
LASA Dissertation Award Goes to UT History Alum Christopher Heaney
Dr. Christopher Heaney, Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University (Ph.D., UT History, '16)

Story by Rebecca Adeline Johnston, Ph.D Student, UT History Dept.
 
The History Department continues to enjoy good news on the awards front from its recent graduates, this time from PhD alum Christopher Heaney (2016). We are proud to share that the Colonial Section of the Latin American Studies Association is presenting Dr. Heaney with this year’s Maureen Ahern Doctoral Dissertation Award in Colonial Latin American Studies!
 
Dr. Heaney’s dissertation, “The Pre-Columbian Exchange: The Circulation of the Ancient Peruvian Dead in the Americas and Atlantic World,” is a pathbreaking work that explores the history of how pre-colonial Andean grave sites were the looted, the mummies and artifacts therein studied, circulated, and displayed, and the transnational implications of those processes over a span of four centuries. His impressive research helped him move into his current post as Assistant Professor of Modern Latin American History at Pennsylvania State University. He concurrently holds a Barra Postdoctoral Fellowship at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Dr. Heaney offered a few words on his dissertation process and experience at UT-Austin:
 
“I entered the UT history department's program with a love of history and a vague idea of writing about archaeology in Peru after independence. But through the guidance of my advisors, Jorge Cañizares Esguerra and Seth Garfield, through my coursework with Susan Deans-Smith, Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Ann Twinam, James Sidbury, Erika Bsumek, and Bruce Hunt, and through the camaraderie, kindness, and friendship of my peers, departmental advisors, and the fellows at the IHS, I was gifted something far more challenging: the desire to understand how something that we now take for granted in the Americas—that the past is supposed to be dug up—took shape. That I could write a dissertation answering that question was gift enough. To then receive this award from LASA is an honor that I can share with the UT history department that for eight years supported that work and gave me a home. I am forever in UT's debt, and that is a wonderful thing.”
 
While the book manuscript for this dissertation is still being prepared, you can check out Dr. Heaney’s book Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), also available in a Spanish-language translation (Fondo Editorial, 2012).

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