Judith Maxwell Professor Tulane University Department of Anthropology

Judith Maxwell

On Leave for Spring 2024
413 Dinwiddie Hall


Fields of Study: Linguistics, Mayan languages, language revitalization, discourse, the Tunica language of Louisiana, Native North America

Dr. Judith M. Maxwell received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1982. Her work with Mayan languages of Guatemala began in 1973. In collaboration with the Proyecto Lingüístico Francisco Marroquín, the Academy of Mayan Languages of Guatemala, the Ministry of Education and the Judicial Branch of the Secretariat for Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala, she has since researched, taught, and produced educational materials, workshops and seminars for the 22 Mayan languages of Guatemala. Dr. Maxwell also works with contemporary language issues: the processes of standardization, language maintenance and shift, bilingual/multicultural education, and issues of language, identity, and authenticity.

Dr. Maxwell directs the Native American & Indigenous Studies program at Tulane. Since 2010, she has been heading a collaborative team of Tulane students and Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) personnel, working to revitalize the Tunica language, which has been "sleeping" since the last native speaker, Sesotrie Youchigant, died in the 1948. The group has produced an online interactive dictionary and a beginning language textbook, as well as several children’s books and educational resources. She, her students and the LCRP provide tribal adults and children with two immersive language and culture experiences a year, one linked to a summer Service Learning Course- Tunica: Louisiana’s Sleeping Language and one short winter session.

Her courses include: Native America: an Introduction, Language and Culture, Semantics: Linguistic Approaches to Meaning, Lexicography, Native American Languages and Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Language and Power, Language Death, Beginning Kaqchikel Language, Intermediate Kaqchikel Language, Kaqchikel Culture and Tunica: Louisiana’s Sleeping Language.