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OSEA Winter Course Syllabi

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Contemporary Maya Peoples, Cultures and Histories
Culture Concepts and Theories
Seminar in Ethnography
Fieldwork Forum and Ethnographic Research
Spoken Spanish and Maya for Ethnographic Fieldwork

Fieldwork Forum and Ethnographic Research

This course provides students the opportunity to conduct their own independent fieldwork and research project. The research is based on the project designed in the ethnography methods seminar. The supervised fieldwork provides the student a safe space to actualize and put into practice the independent research project. The guided forum, conducted in a seminar classroom setting, allows students to honestly, openly, and ethically discuss the dynamics, processes, and problems of fieldwork with each other.

Evaluation of student success is based on
(a) the quality of the manner in which the student works through the processes and dynamics of fieldwork, including proactive participation in all components;
(b) the submission of a final report which includes analytical discussions of fieldwork and its results as well as the presentation of research data and materials according to a pre-given format; and
(c) the archiving, storage, and organization of research data and materials according to criteria and formats provided the student in advance.

Students are allowed to develop their research interests in a manner appropriate to Yucatán, Maya communities, and the structure of OSEA. Students can be placed in home-stays in a community outside of Pisté as determined by the OSEA staff. The OSEA staff has long-standing connections throughout Yucatán, especially with families belonging to the Presbyterian Church. Students whose research topic may be more appropriately developed in some other community that Pisté can request conducting research in alternative community. In most cases students will want to remain with their Pisté host family for the duration of their quarter. OSEA reserves the right to evaluate and determine the final site of research for all students on the grounds of academic integrity and safety. In cases where students relocate to a community outside of Pisté, they will be required to travel on a weekly basis to participate in the fieldwork forum, which is mandatory for all students.


Unit Ethnographic Fieldwork, Methods & Research   Hrs Wk
1 Introduction: Ethics, Morals & Fieldwork   3 1
2 Participant Observation I: Doing Fieldwork & Being in the Field   3 1
3 Objectivism & Subjectivism: Description, Reflexivity, & Research Positioning   3 2
4 Documentation: Field Notes, The Documentary Method, Recording Technologies   3 2
5 Participant Observation II: Performativity of Fieldwork, Dialogical Interaction, Staging   3 2
6 Research Design I: Research Problem, Objects of Study, Approaches to Research   3 3
7 Research Design II: Strategies & Tactics, Methods   3 3
8 Research Design III: Staging, Installation, Analytical Sites, Space   3 3
9 Talking and Listening: Interviewing, Focus Groups, Conversation   3 4
10 Looking: Vision, the Visual, and Methods of Seeing   3 4
11 Coding, Data Analysis, Transcription, Archival Systems, Storage   2 4
12 Ethics of Fieldwork Engagement I: Subjectivity, Self, Conduct   2 5
13 Morals of Representation: Duty, Obligations, Responsibility   2 5