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Summer Field School in Ethnography
MIRA: Multimedia Interdisciplinary Research in Anthropology
A Collaborative and Comparative Study of Tourism Destinations and Cultures

Participants in 2006 benefit from a unique opportunity to witness and study the Mexican Elections on July 2. MIRA project will include a special 5 day workshop on Mexican politics in relation to tourism

MIRA Overview
This field school/research program is a unique and exciting opportunity to critically explore and experience tourism development projects and their implications as they relate to issues of identity, development, cultural hegemony, urban development, migration, and multimedia ethnographic documentation within the context of cultural production. Student participants gain intensive, on-site fieldwork training in ethnography and cultural anthropology and develop new skills in interdisciplinary research methodologies as they relate to cultural studies and art making. MIRA allows participants to develop their own individual research project within a larger program of focused research. Students will have the opportunity to explore topics and mediums of interest in the first person while working in small groups in an environment of cultural immersion. The overall program and project culminates in a multi-authored, multi-media ethnographic document that is designed and developed for academic dissemination.

Program Motivation

We offer three courses that are part of a holistic approach to the study, analysis, documentation, and representation of tourism cultures of the Yucatán peninsula – an area that is marketed for its beaches (the Maya Riviera), Maya archaeological heritage sites (Chichén Itzá, Tulum, Coba), and Maya culture. Certain parts of this peninsula, namely the coast south of Cancun and the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum are undergoing rapid change due to the influx of tourism developments (all-inclusive resorts and luxury home developers). The courses we offer provide a research foundation to study this rapidly changing environment. All student participants are expected to work under the larger research umbrella of this project and participate in all three courses offered.

Is MIRA for me?
MIRA is ideal for students who have an interest in cultural anthropology and ethnography and specifically in Mexican and hybrid cultures or the culture stemming from and related to tourism development. Participants do not need to have a background in cultural anthropology and ethnography in order to be successful in this program – the program is designed specifically for students with backgrounds in anthropology, sociology, history, design and architecture, cultural studies, performance arts, cultural production, Latin American studies.

MIRA is particularly suitable for students who are looking for a collaborative experience, immersion into Mexican culture, and graduate students who may consider the subject matter for their thesis or project-in-lieu of thesis development.

Dancers – Mérida en Domingo – August 2004.