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Meet the Faculty: Joanne Michel


Professor of Foreign Cultures & Languages


Year Joined CCAC



Courses Currently Teaching

World Mythology
Mesoamerican Culture & Mythology
Pseudoarcheology, Myths and Mysteries              
Spanish 101, 102 & 201


Why I Teach What I Teach

As a linguistic anthropologist, I teach about different forms of communication (writing and language), social interaction and the interface between language and culture. My goal is for students to appreciate cultural diversity, to place value on learning another language and to discover the great achievements of Indigenous people around the world. I especially enjoy teaching about the amazing cultures of Mesoamerica, both past and present.


Something People Might Not Know About Me

For 20 years, I have conducted fieldwork in Mexico, utilizing a multidisciplinary research approach to examine Classic period writing, inscriptions, iconography, art and architecture from central Mexico and northern Yucatan. Most recently, my research explores iconographic and other visual representations of pre-Hispanic Maya mythology in Puuc style architecture and evidence of Teotihuacan style iconography, art and architecture in the Yucatan Peninsula. In addition, I maintain a long-standing research project with Oapan Nawa speakers from Guerrero, Mexico, for the documentation of contemporary Indigenous folklore. This research primarily focuses on contemporary Oapan Nawa folklore as compared to pre-Hispanic Aztec mythology and explores both its meaning and function within the context of the Indigenous community.