Ethnography Field School (7 week program) provides participants the opportunity to be trained in ethnography fieldwork while conducting research within the context of existing and ongoing investigation.
Participants choose according to their interests between one of the three OSEA research projects in interdisciplinary cultural anthropology. These three are:
♦ Community Tourism Research ♦ Emergent Cultures/Maya Cosmopolitanism ♦ Health, Healing & Belief
Emergent Cultures Research: Project on Maya Cosmpolitanism &
This research project is an ethnographic investigation of the emergence of new Maya cultures in a transnational rural setting in relationship to globalization. This project shifts long-standing anthropological concerns with "tradition" and "traditional Maya culture" to issues of how new life-styles, modes of subjectivity, forms of sociality and identities are creatively invented by Maya as they negotiate transformations in the foundations of social community.
Three Core Areas of Contemporary Maya Cultures
Participants in the Ethnography Field School choose one of three areas of investigation in which to work within the Sustainable Community Tourism Research. Participants then participate in an anthropology seminar that provides the basic understandings and contexts of tourism in the region to design research and an ethnogrphy methods workshop in which you are trained in the appropriate methods of research and analysis for your project.
1. Rural Cosmopolitanism and Technology
Participant researchers use quantitative and qualititive methods to document the use of technologies such as smart phones, social media, and computers by youth and young adults in the consumption of meanings, values, symbols of emergent cultural identities. How are these technologies and the consumption of global cultural idioms through these apps and social media work give content and shape to notions of self, identity, and social group?
⇒ Research projects include individual and team fieldwork to investigate how youth and young adults use technology, smart phone apps, computers and other technology "outside of educational context" as a means of forging self-identities and social networks.
⇒ Objectives for 2014 prioritize documentation of the use of social media and new technologies among youth of different socioeconomic classes in the community of Pisté and ethnography of dating and sexualities.
2. Emergent Sociality and Subjectivity: Public/Sub Cultures
Participant researchers use participant observiation, interviewing, and surveys to investigate the emergence of new forms of sociality, focused for example, on fitness (zumba, weight-lifting, running), drug-use, alternative sexualities, or night-life, in relationship to forms of "traditional rural community" socializing that are based in family, organized team sports, religion, or work-cohorts. In the context of an increasing middle class in which youth have both greater disposable income and more free-time or leisure time off-work, how do teenagers and twenty-somethings create new ways of socializing to fit changing conceptions of Self in relationship to tradition, Maya culture, status positions, and social identities?
⇒ Research projects include individual and team based participant observation and interviewing to investigate forms of sociality based in participation in fitness and health cultures associated with the urban bourgeoisie and how Maya women and men negotiate competing notions of self, subjectivity, sex, gender, and class
⇒ Objectives for 2014 prioritize
ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing participants in the rural alternative sexual community, including transexuals, cross-dressers, lesbians and gays, to document and describe cultural lifestyles, subjectivities, sociality and meanings of non-traditional sexual identities.
3. Imagining Life: Living, Life-Styles, and Values
Participant researchers use participant observation, interviewing, observation, and survey questionaires to document and analyze
the way Maya in this community envision their self in relation to society, Maya culture, and cultural Others. What are the expectations, goals, dreams, desires, objectives, choices, hang-ups, hurdles that young adults (high school to twenty-something) have or imagine as they strive to create a life worth living in contexts of tourism driven globalization and transformation of the socioeconomic and political foundations of this community?
How do older generations envision the sociocultural changes that have happened in their life time and how these effect the prospects for creating a "life worth living" and the values of living such a life?
⇒ Research projects include individual and team based fieldwork with persons working in different facets of the service sector of the tourism economy of Chichen Itza and with young adults completing public high school degrees in Piste as compared to those studying in private schools in nearby urban centers.
⇒ Objectives for 2014 prioritize
the documentation and analysis of world view of emergent generations of Piste community, specifically regarding the way they envision their future, life prospects, and means to attain their personal objectives.
Contemporary Maya Culture
In close supervision with OSEA staff, students develop their own fieldwork on ethnographic issues listed below. Contemporary Maya Culture with a focus on Intra-Global issues Youth culture, public culture, religion and transnationality, Maya life-styles, intra-global Maya identity, social media-ated cultures, living through technology, sports and recreation, dating and sexuality
The anthropology seminar the ethnographic and historical contexts of the research project, specifically the research questions, issues, objectives, and contribution of the research project to anthropology generally and the anthropology of the Maya region specifically. Within this context students define their own research role and objectives by determining the type of research and which of the project they will conduct. Participants choose to work in one of three projects (see below for topics). In addition, motivated students who seek to work on an independent research project can develop a project for the summer. In the ethnographic methods and fieldwork practicum, participants shift into the role of researchers in training in the Ethnography Methods Practicum course. In this component students are trained to use ethnographic methodologies in order to conduct research on issues that they have selected in relationship to the project design.
Research Topics and Issues Include:
⇒ Youth cultures, Subcultures
⇒ public cultures of sex/gender/class identies
⇒ Maya religion and spirituality in new age era
⇒ race and culture of Protestant Evangelicism
⇒ intra-global Maya identity
⇒ dating and sexuality
⇒ rural-global Maya life-styles
⇒ rural cosmopolitanism
⇒ social media-ated cultures
⇒ living in, with, through technology
⇒ sports, recreation, and entertainment
⇒ bourgeois fitness culture in rural Maya culture
⇒ transexual, cross-dressing, gay communities
For Click here to learn more about the Independent Research Projects of previous OSEA Participants