Baylor University
Department of Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences

Baylor > Anthropology > Faculty & Staff Directory > Thomas A. Offit, Ph.D.
Thomas A. Offit, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas A. Offit
Tom updated 100x200

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Dr. Thomas A. Offit


Associate Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D., Anthropology, Tulane University, 2003
M.A., Anthropology, Tulane University, 1998
B.S., Anthropology, University of Maryland, 1991

Major Area of Research

Economic Anthropology, Indigenous Peoples and Globalization, and Material Culture of Guatemala

Current Courses
  • ANT 2305 Anthropology in Global Context
  • ANT 3301 Science, Society and Culture
  • ANT 3340 Cultures Mexico and Central America
  • ANT 4199 Senior Thesis I
  • ANT 4299 Senior Thesis II
  • ANT 4305 Anthropological Theory
  • ANT 4306 Economic Anthropology
  • ANT 4680 Field School in Cultural Anthropology

I am a cultural anthropologist whose research involves studying how young Maya men from highland Guatemala are adapting to changing economic conditions in their country while attempting to maintain strong connections to the religious and cultural traditions of their rural homelands. I've just completed a book with Dr. Garrett Cook on a project studying the famous "Monkeys Dance" of Momostenango and we have recently published two articles with Dr. Cook on the dance. I have also published a book on Maya child laborers who shine shoes and sell merchandise in the streets of Guatemala City. Dr. Cook and I co-lead a summer field school on ethnographic methods in Guatemala, and I teach a variety of courses at Baylor that focus on how indigenous groups are adapting to economic globalization. I have also recently begun research on material culture and the construction of coloniality in Antigua, Guatemala, and have developed a new course on ethnographic perspectives on material culture "The Things We Carry: What your iPhone says about you and about the U.S." I am a member of the steering committee of the Guatemala Scholars Network, and have previously held positions on the Board of the Society for the Anthropology of Work. My wife Oriel Jane and I have three kids, two dogs, and multiple fish and small rodents. I am a board member of my Shul, Congregation Agudath Jacob, and am active in Cub Scouts, our neighborhood association, and am the proud founder and director of the Anthropology Department Film Series.

Selected Publications

O'Neill, Kevin, Kedron Thomas and Thomas Offit
2011    "Securing the City: An Introduction " in "Securing the City: Neoliberalism,Space and Insecurity in Postwar Guatemala. Kevin L. O'Neill and Kedron Thomas Eds. Durham: Duke University Press (pp. 1-25)

Offit, Thomas
2011    "Cacique for a Neoliberal Age: Neoliberalism, Entrepreneurship and the Highland Maya in Guatemala City" in "Securing the City: Neoliberalism,Space and Insecurity in Postwar Guatemala. Kevin L. O'Neill and Kedron Thomas Eds. Durham: Duke University Press (pp. 66-83)

Smith, Timothy and Thomas Offit
2010    Confronting Violence in Postwar Guatemala: An Introduction. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 15(1) 1-16)

Offit, Thomas and Garrett Cook
2010    The Death of Don Pedro: Insecurity and Cultural Continuity in Peacetime Guatemala. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 15(1) 42-66)

Cook, Garrett and Thomas Offit
2009    Renewing the Maya World in a Time of Change: Pluralism and Transculturation in Indigenous Maya Religion. Ethnology Vol 47(1) 45-59.

Offit, Thomas
2008    Conquistadores De la Calle: Child Street Labor in Guatemala City. University of Texas Press; Austin.