Tiffany C. (Cain) Fryer

Assistant Curator of Historical and Contemporary Archaeology, University of Michigan
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton Society of Fellows (Emerita)
  • Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, Anthropology
  • M.A. Stanford University, Anthropology
  • B.A. Stanford University, Archaeology



Tiffany C. Fryer teaches and writes on colonialism and political violence; research methods, praxis, and politics in historical archaeology and anthropology; and, museums, cultural heritage, and collective memory. Her research agenda focuses broadly on the durabilities of colonialism and other forms of political violence in the Americas. Employing methods and theories from across anthropology and adjacent fields, she explores 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 has conducted archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork across the globe but 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 heritage initiative anchored by an interest in the history and present-day relevance of a 19th century conflict called the Maya Social War (or Caste War of Yucatan).

After receiving her Ph.D. in anthropology in 2019, Fryer held a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Society of Fellows at Princeton University where she was also a lecturer in Anthropology and the Humanities Council. Recently, she co-edited collections on feminist approaches to archaeological heritage practice, reckoning with violence, and the archaeology of coloniality in the Maya Lowlands. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Things of War: Conflict and Heritage on Mexico’s Maya Frontier.