Helen Perlstein Pollard (born 1946) is an American academic ethnohistorian and archaeologist, noted for her publications and research on pre-Columbian cultures in the west-central Mexico region. Pollard's particular area of expertise is the study of the Tarascan civilization, a tributary state that flourished in the Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology in a region largely coinciding with the modern-day Mexican state of Michoacán. Drawing from her extensive archaeological fieldwork conducted in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Pollard's research has investigated themes such as the formation of proto-states, the centralization of political control, development and emergence of social stratification and inequalities, and the human ecology of adaptations within pre-modern cultures in response to environmental changes and instabilities.
As of 2009Michigan State University (MSU), and is also adjunct curator at MSU Museum.
Pollard holds a position as professor in the Department of Anthropology at
As an undergraduate Pollard studied at Barnard College, a women's liberal arts college in New York, NY affiliated with Columbia University, graduating in 1967. One of her contemporaries at Barnard, graduating two years previously, was Esther Pasztory, another Mesoamerican scholar who would later become renowned as an art historian and specialist in Teotihuacano art.
Pollard obtained her PhD in anthropology in 1972, awarded by Columbia University, with a dissertation entitled "Prehispanic Urbanism at Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan".