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Dr. Ignacio Carvajal

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - School of Languages, Literatures & Culture - Spanish & Portuguese
Assistant Professor, School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures - Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 2628
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS


Dr. Ignacio Carvajal specializes in interdisciplinary research on Mesoamerican Literatures, Languages, and Cultures and pedagogical approaches to Indigenous Languages instruction. He focuses on Mayan Languages from Guatemala, particularly K’iche’.

His interests include Indigenous responses to colonialism, particularly how early-modern notions of territory relate to political organization, authority, and religion. Drawing from Literary Studies, Ethnohistory, Indigenous Studies, and other disciplines, he analyzes indigenous language documents, doctrinal materials, religious chronicles, and other sources to better understand colonialism and coloniality, along with its contemporary remnants.

He is also interested in pedagogical approaches and the creation of open access materials for the study of Indigenous languages. He is a member of a team of collaborators working on Chqeta’maj le qach’ab’al K’iche’ (Let’s learn K’iche’!), an open resource, digital repository of language lessons, which are also the base for his K’iche’ class at the University of Kansas’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Dr. Carvajal reads and writes poetry. His work has appeared in journals such as Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Coal City Review, and in the anthologies The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States and Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland. He is a member of the Latino Writers Collective of Kansas City, the Taller Literario Don Chico in Costa Rica, and the board of directors of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, in Austin.

He has a Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures, with a portfolio in Native American and Indigenous Studies, from the University of Texas at Austin. He also obtained a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies with highest distinction from the University of Kansas and a A.A. in Liberal Arts, with honors, from Johnson County Community College.


  • Mesoamerican and Latin American Literatures and Cultures
  • Indigenous Languages (especially K’iche’)
  • Central America
  • Diaspora
  • And Latino/a/x Literature
  • Post and decolonial theories
  • Poetry


  • Indigenous Languages
  • Literatures
  • And Cultures
  • Colonialism/Coloniality
  • Less-commonly-taught languages
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Religion and Evangelization
  • Translation

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