Lena Mortensen

Lena Mortensen

Lena Mortensen, Ph.D (Indiana University, 2005)
Assistant Professor, Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

(416) 208-4812
Office: MW 348 (Main), AP 242

Research Keywords: heritage, cultural and archaeological tourism, commodification and place-making, politics of culture, representation, ethnography of archaeology, material culture, globalization and development

Research Region: Central America, Honduras

Website: http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/anthropology/lena-mortensen

Research Bio

Lena Mortensen’s research covers several interrelated themes: the circulation and reconfiguration of culture and heritage through tourism and other forms of commodification; the politics of value in representing the past; and the effects of mobilizing “heritage” in social and economic development programs for contemporary citizenship, rights, and belonging. Previously she has conducted research and published about ethnographic approaches to archaeological work, archaeological tourism, and heritage management, specifically in Honduras, and continue to maintain in active interest in heritage politics in the region. Her current research looks at the implications and effects of “culture-branding” through the intersection of tourism marketing, academic production, public culture forms, and international cultural policy institutions.
She is also co-chair of the Working Group on Cultural Tourism in a multidisciplinary, international collaborative project on intellectual property issues in cultural heritage, “IPinCH”.


2009 Mortensen, Lena and Julie Hollowell (eds.). Ethnographies and Archaeologies: Iterations of the Past. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2014 “Branding Copán: valuing cultural distinction in an archaeological tourism destination.” Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. 12 (3): 237–252.

2012 “Arqueología en Copán: El pasado y los públicos del presente en Honduras.” In Arqueología y comunidades en Honduras. Eva Martínez Ordóñez, editor.  Tegucigalpa: Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia. Pp 16-25.

2012 Commentary on “Casualties of Heritage Distancing,” by Patricia A. McAnany and Shoshaunna Parks, Current Anthropology 53(1):80-107 (97-8)

2010 “Fronteras sin marcar: Contextos de la arqueología de Copán.” Yaxkín. Vol 45(2): 87-109.

2009 “Producing Copán in the Archaeology Industry.” In Ethnographies and Archaeologies: Iterations of the Past.  Lena Mortensen and Julie Hollowell, editors. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Pp178-198.

2009 Hollowell, Julie and Lena Mortensen. “Introduction” in Ethnographies and Archaeologies: Iterations of the Past.  Lena Mortensen and Julie Hollowell, editors. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Pp.1-17

2009  “Copán Past and Present: Maya Archaeological Tourism and the Ch’orti’ in Honduras.” In The Ch’orti’ Region, Past and Present.  Brent Metz,  Cameron McNeil, and Kerry Hull, editors.  Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Pp.246-257.

2009 “Assessing the Local, National, and Transnational Values of Honduran Heritage.” Practicing Anthropology  31(3): 36-39

2007  “Working Borders: Contextualizing Copán Archaeology.”  Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress. 3(2): 132-152.

Newsletter Articles and Reviews
2013  Review of  The Copan Sculpture Museum, by Barbara Fash. Museum Anthropology. 36 (1): 90-91

2010 Mortensen, Lena and George Nicholas. “Riding the Tourism Train? Navigating Intellectual Property, Heritage and Community-Based Approaches to Cultural Tourism.” Anthropology News. November, vol. 51(8): 11-12.