James D. Sexton, PhD
BA, MA, PhD, University of California-Los Angeles 1973
- culture change
- behavioral anthropology
- Middle, Central and South America, and Southeast
After earning a bachelor's degree in anthropology from UCLA,
Sexton began studying for a master's degree.
The US Army, however, interrupted his graduate studies with a call to
active duty, which included a tour of duty in Vietnam and a leave to Thailand.
After a military leave of absence, Sexton returned to UCLA
where he completed a master's degree in 1971 and a PhD in 1973. The same year he began teaching at NAU, where
he received the NAU President's Award for excellence in teaching, research, and
service in 1981. Sexton was named
Regents' Professor in 1991, and was selected as the NAU Phi Kappa Phi Faculty
Scholar in 1997.
Travels to Alaska and Canada in 2009 and to Germany and
France in 2010 have enhanced the introduction to my course on anthropological
perspectives of folklore of the world. Travels to Ireland in 2003 and 2010; to
Germany and France in 2010, to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand in 2004 and in
2008; to Australia in 2005; and to Guatemala in 2011 have enhanced the Celtic,
Southeast Asian, Aboriginal Australian, and Mayan blocks of the course.
last forty-one years, travels to Puerto Rico, Barbados, Mexico, Guatemala, El
Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela,
Ecuador, Péru, and Bolivia have enriched my courses on Latin America.
Eighteen field trips to Guatemala have resulted in a number of articles and
books with "Depiction of Animals in the Popol Vuh and Current Mayan
Folktales" (2010) and The Dog Who Spoke and More Mayan Folktales / El perro
que habló y más cuentos mayas (2010) the most recent.
Sexton is a past president of the Southwestern
Anthropological Association, and he is a member of the board of editors for the
Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, an Internet journal. In addition to Latin America and Southeast
Asia, he specializes in qualitative and quantitative research methods,
psychological anthropology, life histories, folklore, development,
modernization, and cultural change.
Current research and applied projects
I regularly teach undergraduate courses on Folklore of the
World (ANT 209, Peoples of Latin America (ANT 303), and Central America (ANT
On the graduate level, I teach Psychological Anthropology
(ANT 638), World Folklore (ANT 599), and Quantitative Research Methods (ANT
Geographically, I am especially interested in Latin
American, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Among the highland Maya, I have had an active
program of research and publication for the last 41 years.
Latin American Research Program
Beginning in 1970, Dr. James Sexton began his Guatemalan
field school and research project. The initial field experience in Guatemala
was so rewarding that he returned 19 more times, sometimes for the summer and
fall seasons, other times for just a few weeks.
Based on his field research, he has published articles on
his research dealing with development modernization, and culture change in such
journals as the Latin American Indian Literatures Journal, Reviews in
Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Human Organization, Anthropology and
Education Quarterly, and the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
Dr. Sexton published the following books:
Education and Innovation in a Guatemalan Community (UCLA Latin American
Center, 1972), Son of Tecún Umán (University of Arizona Press, 1981, and
Waveland Press, 1990), Campesino (University of Arizona Press, 1985), Ignacio
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), Mayan Folktales (Doubleday Anchor,
1992, and University of New Mexico Press, 1999), Heart of Heaven, Heart of
Earth (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999), Joseño (University of New Mexico
Press, 2001), and The Dog Who Spoke and More Mayan Folktales / El perro que
habló y más cuentos mayas (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010).