STEM Shoutout: Dr. Frances Hayashida

UNM anthropologist selected as new director of the Latin American and Iberian Institute

UNM professor of anthropology Dr. Frances Hayashida has been appointed as the new director of the Latin American and Iberian Institute(LAII).


Hayashida accepted the offer effective July 2020. As director, she will oversee the research, educational, and outreach efforts of the LAII. Hayashida will also help secure funding for these efforts and collaborate with campus, community, national, and international partners.  


“It’s a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of directing the LAII, particularly in these challenging political and economic times.  It was humbling and exciting to get the position.  I look forward to meeting with everyone at UNM with interests in Latin America and Iberia as well as our off-campus partners, and I especially look forward to when we can meet face-to-face,” Hayashida said. 


Throughout her career, Hayashida’s research interests have revolved around Latin America both ancient and contemporary. Hayashida says her main area of interest is the political ecology of late prehispanic societies in the Andes, and what happened to local people, their water, and landscapes when they were forcibly incorporated into the Inka Empire. She has worked many years in the field as an archaeologist in Peru and Chile directing or co-directing collaborative, interdisciplinary excavation projects. In this video, Hayashida speaks about her most recent archaeology endeavors examining ancient agriculture and ritual practices in Chile’s Atacama Desert. 


Along with this, Hayashida says she has a lot of experience writing successful grant proposals, which will be a big part of her job at the LAII. She also has served on numerous LAII committees at UNM. 


“I have always enjoyed working with colleagues from across the university in support of Latin American and Iberian studies. I also want to help connect people across campus to each other and to the public. I am excited about the work that UNM faculty and students do in Latin America and Iberia and am dedicated to helping them succeed,” Hayashida said.


Hayashida says she was drawn to the position with the hope of supporting the important work done at UNM to promote knowledge and an understanding of other places and people. 


“The LAII promotes teaching and research on Latin America and Iberia by UNM faculty and students and engages in outreach efforts with community partners.  An international perspective is particularly important today in the face of growing xenophobia and intolerance in the U.S.,” Hayashida said.