Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
The socio-cultural field research program provides students with the opportunity to examine issues of cultural continuity, resource management, and social change in Guatemala and Chiapas. This program examines the region's attempt to come terms with social inequality, human rights abuses, and sustainable development in an effort to build a multi-ethnic society. The program begins with an introduction to Guatemala and the Maya in the city of Antigua but also features time in Atitlán and the jungles of northern Guatemala, known as El Petén.
As the program moves through the Montes Azules and Maya Biosphere Reserves, comprising the largest rainforest in Central America, students will learn about the relation between Maya population booms, environmental collapse, and current efforts at sustainable development. In eastern Chiapas, students will spend several days living among the Lacandones, the most isolated and culturally conservative indigenous people in Mesoamerica, seldom visited until the second half of the 20th century.
Returning to Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, students devote the last three weeks of the program to conducting their independent field research projects and writing up their findings. Students will live with families in indigenous communities around the lake in which they carry out their field projects. The field sites provide opportunities for research on topics such as sustainable development, conservation, women's issues, human rights work, religion, ethnomedicine and healing, grassroots community organization, and ecotourism. In the final week, students analyze their field data, write their reports, and present their findings to the group in a research colloquium.
Period: Winter Term, even years.
Prerequisites: Introductory coursework in Anthropology and 200-level Spanish.
Program advisor: Professor William Hope.
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