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OSEA Winter Course Syllabi

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

OSEA Winter Quarter Seminar in Anthropology
Contemporary Maya Peoples, Cultures and Histories

This course offers students the core understandings and knowledge in the anthropology, history, and ethnography of the Maya peoples of Yucatán, México. This course is designed to give students the necessary foundations by which to create an engaging, significant, and rewarding research project during the course of the students participation in the International Training Program.

The course has two major components: (1) a classroom based seminar that covers nine sets of topics, each in two hour sessions; and (2) an experiential learning component based in participation in cultural activities and events or in interactive dialogues with specialists and experts who offer learning on-site at special locations outside of the classroom context. Evaluation of student success is based on short periodic essays or “thought experiments” written throughout the course. These essays are conceived to facilitate the student to link classroom and experiential learning in innovative ways that provoke and express the development of original thought.

This course is offered as an undergraduate 300-level and an graduate 600-level seminar. Graduate students are given more extensive reading and are expected to produce corresponding quality of work.

Schedule of Topics
1. Contemporary Maya Peoples, Cultures & Histories
2. Maya Religions: Spiritualisms & Syncretisms
3. Popular Cultures, Traditional Modernity, Ritual & Dance
4. Maya Identity I: Culture, Class, Community, Categories
5. Community Histories: Pisté & Xocenpich, and the Folk Society
6. Maya Sexualities and Gender: Dynamics, Subjectivities, Structures
7. Imagining the Maya: Genders/Genres of Visual Anthropology
8. Tourism, Archeology & Development:
9. Maya Cultural Ecology & Development
10. Maya Identity II: Education, Governmentality, State, & Nation
11. Maya Healing, Midwifery, Medical Systems & Curing
12. Alternative Maya Modernities: Transculturation and Migration

OSEA has copies of all textbooks in Mérida and Pisté for student use. It is suggested that students purchase their own copy to bring with them to facilitate study. Additional readings as indicated in the schedule below will be provided in hardcopy or electronic versions.

Maya Identity of Yucatán, 1500-1935, Q. Castañeda and Ben Fallaw, editors, Special Issue of Journal of Latin American Anthropology. Vol. 9 (2), Spring 2004.

Robert Redfield and Alfonso Villa Rojas, CHAN KOM. Originally published in 1934 and put into abbreviated re-editions by Univ. Chicago Press.

Peter Hervik, MAYAN PEOPLE WITHIN AND BEYOND BOUNDARIES. Originally published only in hardback by Harwood Academic Publishers; now in paperback by Routledge.

Betty Bernice Faust, MEXICAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT & PLUMED SERPENT: Technology & Maya Cosmology in Tropical Forest of Campeche. Greenwood Press.

Quetzil Castañeda, IN THE MUSEUM OF MAYA CULTURE. Out of print. Check and in the out of print section for a possible copy.

Course Packets with additional readings are available on site for student purchase.

Graduate readings are indicated with 601. Evaluation is based on three thought essays, approx. 300-600 words (Anth 401) or 400-700 words (Anth 601). Each thought essay must engage the readings and discussions of 2-3 seminar topics.