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Carrie Dennett Ph.D

Carrie Dennett
Humanities & Social Sciences
Justice Studies
School of Arts and Culture

Dr. Carrie Dennett is a sociocultural anthropologist whose teaching portfolio primarily examines – from an interdisciplinary perspective – the relationship between social institutions and social justice, particularly topics of intersectionality, discrimination, and inequality as they relate to issues of gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, language, and race. As an instructor, she seeks to model enthusiasm for learning, promote the power of knowledge, and distill the importance of developing understanding, tolerance, and compassion for others. 

Beyond the walls of Red Deer Polytechnic, Carrie is actively involved in archaeological research. She has contributed to projects in Canada, Honduras, and Nicaragua, with a current focus on the pre-Columbian archaeology of northwestern Costa Rica. In the lab, she specializes in the compositional analysis of pre-Columbian pottery from Central America utilizing complementary petrographic (microscope nerd) and geochemical (INAA) analyses as part of a decade-long collaboration with analyst Dr. Ronald Bishop of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The goal of this research is to scientifically model ancient economies and, drawing on a sociological perspective, to reconstruct artisanal communities of practice in Pacific Nicaragua prior to Spanish conquest in 1522. Alone and in collaboration with various colleagues, Carrie has presented and published nationally and internationally on diverse topics related to this and other research.

A strong focus on the development of interdisciplinary research design has led to engagement in a range of other collaborative scholarly experiences over the years. From 2012–2014, she held the Resident Mayer Fellow at Colorado’s Denver Art Museum, working to bring the Jan and Frederick Mayer Costa Rican collection attributions up-to-date and online for public access. In 2015-2016 she was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship at the Artic Institute of North America (University of Calgary) to assist with an edited volume on Iñupiaq-speaking Nunamiut communities of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. For many years (2007–2015) Carrie also served as Managing Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Ancient Mesoamerica (Cambridge University Press) and has recently completed a two-term appointment to the Society for American Archaeology’s Publications Committee (2014–2020). Since migrating to Alberta in 2007 to undertake her doctorate degree, she has taught courses at the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge, as well as internationally at the University of Costa Rica.

  • Ph.D. (Archaeology), University of Calgary, 2016
  • M.A. (Anthropology), Trent University, 2007
  • B.Sc. (Anthropology), Trent University, 2004
  • Post Baccalaureate (Criminology), Simon Fraser University, 2001
  • B.A. (Psychology, Sociology minor), Trent University, 1999
Main Areas of Teaching
  • Anthropology
  • Justice Studies
  • Sociology
Scholarly Activity

Selected Publications 

  • (In Prep) Lyall, V., and C. Dennett (editors). El Mar Caribe: The Mediterranean of the New World. 19th Annual Mayer Center Symposium Series, Denver Art Museum. Expected 2021
  • (In Press) Dennett, C.L. Ceramic Economy and Communities of Practice in Granada and Rivas (AD 1–1300). In The Archaeology of Nicaragua: Two Decades of Research in Nicaragua & Costa Rica, edited by L. Steinbrenner, G. McCafferty, A. Geurds, and S. Salgado González. University of Colorado Press, Boulder, CO. Expected 2021.
  • (In Press) McCafferty, G.G., and C.L. Dennett. The Ceramics of Pacific Nicaragua: Recent Investigations in Style, Manufacture, and Influence. In Central American and Colombian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, edited by C. McEwan, J. Hoopes, and B. Cockrell. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC. Expected 2021.
  • (In Press) Dennett, C.L. Petrographic Characteristics of Papagayo and Pataky Polychromes. In Ceramics of Greater Nicoya: Paste, Style and Schools, edited by F.W. Lange and R.L. Bishop. British Archaeological Reports (BAR Series). Expected 2022.
  • 2019. Dennett, C.L., S. Salgado González, and R.L. Bishop. Re-evaluating Ceramic Economy at Ayala (AD 1–1250), Granada, Pacific Nicaragua. Cuadernos de Antropología 29(1). DOI: 10.15517/cat.v1i1.34089
  • 2016. Dennett, C.L., and M.G. Blainey. Reflecting on Exchange: Ancient Maya Mirrors beyond the Southeast Periphery. In Manufactured Light: Mirrors in the Mesoamerican Realm, edited by E. Gallaga and M. Blainey, p. 229–253. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.
  • 2016. Dennett, C.L. The Ceramic Economy of Pre-Columbian Pacific Nicaragua (AD 1–1250). Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary, Calgary.
  • 2015. Whitcher Kansa, S., and C.L. Dennett. Exploring Open Access for SAA Publications and Data. The SAA Archaeological Record 15(2):5–8.
  • 2013. Dennett, C.L., and K.C. Kosyk. Winds of Change: Ceramic Musical Instruments from Greater Nicoya. In Flower World: Music Archaeology of the Americas/Mundo Florido: Arqueomusicología de las Américas, Vol. 2, edited by M. Stöckli and A. Both, pp. 99–119. Ekho Verlag, Berlin.
  • 2013. Dennett, C.L., G.G. McCafferty, and R.L. Bishop. La Vajilla Cerámica Granada Roja / Granada Redware Ceramics. Mi Museo y Vos 22:7–11.
  • 2013. McCafferty, G.G., and C.L. Dennett. Ethnogenesis and Hybridity in Proto-Historic Period Nicaragua. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 28(1):189–212.
  • 2012. Dennett, C.L., and G.G. McCafferty. Canadian Institutions and Lower Central American Archaeology: An Historical Overview of Research along the Southern Mesoamerican Periphery. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 36:51–66.
  • 2012. McCafferty, G.G., F.E. Amador, S. Salgado González, and C.L. Dennett. Archaeology on Mesoamerica’s Southern Frontier. In Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology, edited by D.L. Nichols and C.A. Pool, pp. 83–105. Oxford University Press, UK.  
  • 2011. Dennett, C.L., L.A. Platz, and G.G. McCafferty. Preliminary Ceramic Compositional Analysis from the La Arenera Site, Pacific Nicaragua. La Universidad 14/15:373–397.
  • 2010. Healy, P.F., C.L. Dennett, M. Hill Harris, and A. Both. A Musical Nature: Pre-Columbian Ocarinas of Northeast Honduras. In Musical Perceptions - Past and Present: On Ethnographic Analogy in Music Archaeology, edited by R. Eichmann, E. Hickmann, and L.C. Koch (Hrsg.), pp. 189–212. Papers from the 6th Symposium of the International Study Group on Music Archaeology, at the Ethnological Museum, State Museums, Berlin. Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH, Rahden.

Conference Presentations  

  • 2019. Dennett, C.L. Universal Compassion: The Core Human Value. A Secular Perspective. Paper presented at the 14th Annual World Religion Conference. Red Deer, Alberta. October 24.
  • 2019. Dennett, C.L., and L.A. Platz. On the Shoulders of a Giant: Unpacking the Ceramic Economy of Greater Nicoya. Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. April.
  • 2019. Benfer, A., J. Colon, and C.L. Dennett. Intersocietal Trade and Exchange Networks in Greater Nicoya. Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. April.
  • 2018. Dennett, C.L., L. Steinbrenner, R. Bishop, and F. Lange. From Munsell to Minerals and beyond: Ceramic Compositional Analysis in Pacific Nicaragua. Paper presented at the 51st Annual Chacmool Conference, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. November.
  • 2018. Dennett, C.L., S. Salgado, and R.L. Bishop. Communities of Practice at Ayala (AD 1–1250), Granada, Pacific Nicaragua. Paper presented at the 56th International Congress of Americanists, Salamanca, Spain. July.
  • 2018. Lyall, V., and C.L. Dennett. Constellations of Darkness: Re-evaluating Tohil Plumbate and Pataky Polychrome. Paper presented at the 56th International Congress of Americanists, Salamanca, Spain. July.
  • 2018. Dennett, C.L. It's Complicated: Making Sense of Material Monoculture in Multicultural Societies. Paper presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. April.
  • 2017. Dennett, C.L. Ceramic Manufacture and Exchange in Pre-Columbian Pacific Nicaragua: A Compositional Perspective. Paper to be presented at the 50th Annual Chacmool Conference, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. November.
  • 2017. Dennett, C.L. and L.A. Platz. Materializing Ritual: Sorcery, Transformation, and Divination in Greater Nicoya. Poster presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, B.C., March.
  • 2017. Dennett, C.L., and L.A. Platz. Accessing Chorotega Ancestry and Religious Cult in Greater Nicoya: Parts I and II. Papers presented at the XI Congreso de la Red Centroamericana de Antropología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José. February-March.
  • 2015. Manion, J., G.G. McCafferty, and C.L. Dennett. As Good as it Sounds: Archaeology of Las Delicias, Managua, Nicaragua. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. April.
  • 2015. McCafferty, G.G., C.L. Dennett, and S. McCafferty. The Ceramics of Pacific Nicaragua: Recent Investigations in Style, Manufacture, and Influences. Paper presented at the Dumbarton Oaks workshop “The Art and Archaeology of Central America and Colombia,” Panama, January.
  • 2014. McCafferty, G.G., C.L. Dennett, and K. Friesen. La composición de la cerámica del Pacifico de Nicaragua. Presented at the Conversatorio de la Arqueología Nicaragüense, Managua, Nicaragua. July.
  • 2014. Dennett, C.L. East to West and Back Again: Archaeological Advances beyond the Southeast Periphery. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Maya at the Lago Conference. Davidson, NC. April. 
  • 2014. Dennett, C.L. Getting to Know You: Ceramics and Identity in Greater Nicoya. Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX. April.
  • 2014. E. Espinoza Pérez, M. Roman Lacayo, E. Ibarra Rojas, S. Salgado González, C.L. Dennett, and F.W. Lange. La propuesta para un área denominada ‘Gran Ulúa-Matagalpa’: Una evaluación preliminar arqueología y etnohistórica de sus límites cronológicas y espaciales. Paper presented at the Primero Congreso del Área Cultural Gran Ulúa-Matagalpa (GUM-I). FREM-UNAN, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. March.

Community Involvement 

  • 2020. Dennett, C.L. “Pottery Making as Sacred Craft in Ancient Nicaragua (AD 700-1000).” Canadian Latin American Archaeology Society 2020 Webinar Series. October 30. 
  • 2020. Dennett, C.L. “Say What? Patriarchy in the LGBTQIIA+ Community?” with special guests from TANAS. RDC Philosopher’s Café public speakers’ series, Red Deer College. February 13.
  • 2019. Dennett, C.L. “La Justicia Social y la Universidad Pública: Una Revisión Crítica / Social Justice and the Public University: A Critical Review.” Año de las Universidades Públicas por la Igualdad de Género, la No Violencia y una Sociedad más Justa. Conferencia Inaugural del II Semestre, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José. August 23.
  • 2019. Dennett, C.L. and L.L. Steinbrenner “The Guanacaste Archaeological Project (GAP).” Archaeological Society of Alberta: Reed Deer Centre. Speaker Series 2018/2019. Red Deer College. January 9.
  • 2018. Dennett, C.L. Invited panel speaker. “I Believe You...Now What?” Sponsored by Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) and the Student’s Association of Red Deer College (SARDC), Red Deer College. November 22.
  • 2018. Dennett, C.L. “Gender or Ungender? Negotiating Sex, Sexuality and Identity in Complicated World.” RDC Philosopher’s Café public speakers’ series, Red Deer College. October 17.
  • 2016. Dennett, C.L. “La cerámica antigua del Pacifico de Nicaragua.” Public Outreach Conference. Mi Museo, Granada, Nicaragua. August.
  • 2014. Dennett, C.L., and A. Benfer. “Archaeology for Change: Using Prehistory as a Means Toward Social Justice in Nicaragua’s Bosawás Biosphere Reserve.” Change for Children HQ, 2nd Floor, 10808 124 Street, Edmonton, AB. February.
  • 2014. Dennett, C.L. Change for Children Association (NGO), Edmonton, Alberta. Traveled to San Andres, in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Department of Jinotega, Nicaragua, to consult on cultural affiliation of local archaeological materials (January 4–13).
  • 2013. Dennett, C.L. “Continuity and Change in the Ceramic Arts of Greater Nicoya.” Las Malinches, Denver Art Museum Support Group. Denver, CO. May.
  • 2012. Dennett, C.L. “Ancient Ceramic Economy in Pacific Nicaragua.” Archaeological Society of Alberta: Red Deer chapter. Speaker Series 2011/2012. Red Deer College. March.

Professional Memberships  

  • Society for American Archaeology (2006–present)
  • Canadian Latin American Archaeology Society (2020-present)

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