Program Details

Students are required to register for a total of six credits, including 3 credits in the core offering, ANTH 391: Highland Maya and Ladino Culture Past and Present. Anthropology majors in particular are encouraged to register for ANTH 315: Anthropological
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:

Program Overview

Program Description:
The Global Education Office and the School of World Studies are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for students to study the culture of the highland Maya. The program is based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and will allow students to observe the cultural complexity of the Guatemalan highlands. The location provides an ideal setting in which to explore different topics such as cultural pluralism, religious conservation and change, local responses to economic globalization, and cultural revitalization movements. This program is especially well suited for students in anthropology, international studies, history, and religious studies. 6 credits in anthropology June 19 – July 31, 2013 Maury Hutcheson, Ph.D. $2,250 (includes airfare) + tuition Registration deadline: March 15, 2013

Students are required to register for a total of six credits, including 3 credits in the core offering, ANTH 391: Highland Maya and Ladino Culture Past and Present. Anthropology majors in particular are encouraged to register for ANTH 315: Anthropological Field Methods and Research Design (3 credits). With permission of the instructor, students may register for 3 credits of independent study under ANTH 492, INTL 492, or RELS 492, as an alternative to ANTH 315. Students pursuing independent studies are expected to participate fully in all group activities while in Guatemala, though their final research paper may be different. Based in Quetzaltenango, this six week program will provide students with a comprehensive overview of Mayan indigenous life in Guatemala, past and present, including opportunities for individual and group research through participant observation, attendance at cultural events, lectures on selected topics, and excursions to museums and major archaeological sites dating from the earliest days of the Olmec/Maya transition to the contact-era capitals that were toppled by the Spanish conquistadors. Interethnic relations between the Maya and their non-indigenous Ladino neighbors will be a special focus of the program. Course instruction will be in English, but in order to facilitate our rapid immersion in the local culture students will also receive two weeks of individualized, one-on-one tutoring in Spanish at the Escuela de Espanol Juan Sisay. Readings in history, ethnography, and archaeology directly related to the communities we visit will be closely integrated with discussions of anthropological theory and effective research practices. Regularly scheduled classroom meetings will alternate with weekend field trips to local indigenous communities throughout the region, including Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango, as well as presentations by local Maya cultural leaders and visits to sites of cultural interest in the town and its surrounding villages. Students will gain practical experience in a variety of ethnographic research techniques as well as the ethical dimension of anthropological fieldwork while exploring historical continuities and transformations in Mayan culture and religious practice, especially in response to international tourism and economic globalization.

Setting Description:
Students will be living in home-stays with Mayan and Ladino families in Quetzaltenango for the better part of five weeks, which will include private rooms, shared baths, three meals each day, purified drinking water, and opportunities for direct engagement with the domestic life of the host families. Quetzaltenango is a large yet comfortably scaled city with a majority indigenous population, a regional hub permitting access to many small indigenous communities and regional sites of interest. The program will also include several one- to four-night excursions to other locations of particular interest, about eleven nights in all. During these excursions we will be staying in hotels and students should expect to purchase meals in restaurants or from vendors in the local open air markets. Principal points of interest will likely include the communities of Antigua, Zunil, Lake Atitlán, Chichicastenango, Tecpán, and Momostenango and the archaeological sites of Copan, Utatlán, Iximché, and
$2,250 (includes airfare) The program fee is $2,250 and includes the following: Roundtrip airfare between Washington, D.C. and Guatemala City Accommodations All meals while living with Guatemalan families Study visits and excursions to museums and archaeological sites All ground transportation in Guatemala On-site Program Director support Pre-departure orientation International Student Identification Card VCU administrative fees Application deposit The following are not included in the program

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