Matthew Ballance

Research Interests Colonialism, Inequality, Infrastructure, Mobility, Identity


Areas of Interest

I am a historical archaeologist primarily focused on the colonial Andes. I’m interested in how communities are incorporated into empires, and how those communities navigate the process while negotiating for their own interests. My research explores the concept of infrastructure, which has traditionally been viewed as representing the will of the state. I hope to reframe infrastructure as another lens through which to view the agency of local communities. I am further interested in how an individual’s experience of infrastructure is mediated by their identity. My master’s thesis focused on the ways in which common laborers and wealthy merchants moved across roads in the 18th century Andes – how their experiences were both shared and separate. I believe archaeology can shed new light on those experiences when combined with historical and geospatial lines of inquiry. Over the course of my graduate studies at Brown, I hope to build on my previous research, and I look forward to collaborating with other scholars throughout the process.  

Previous Degrees

  • BA Archaeology and History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2019 
  • MA Anthropology, Colorado State University, 2021