Course: Applying Anthropology To Nature and Heritage Conservation
Ethnographic Field School-Natural Res Conserv-Guatemala
NC State University announces the Fourteenth Annual
Ethnographic Field School, Summer 2007
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
May 18 – July 8, 2007
Applying Anthropology To Nature and Heritage Conservation
field school website: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~twallace
Objectives: Students learn how to do ethnographic fieldwork, design a
research project, carry out independent research and study the effects of
tourism and change on the local environment and communities. During the
seven week program students live with local, Maya families in the Lake
Atitlán area of the Western Highlands, a region with an ancient and rich
cultural heritage. The effects of globalization and tourism growth are
having an significant impact on their way of life. In this fourth summer of
research in Guatemala we will focus on the political, economic and
environmental impacts of tourism, religion and globalization on the
indigenous Mayan communities around Lake Atitlán. Students will study how
these Tzutujil and Kaqchikel Maya are adapting to changing demographics, the
effects of the global economic slowdown on the export of coffee and
traditional textiles, as well as on the continuing presence of more and more
tourists and foreign residents. The program is designed for 10-12
undergraduate and/or graduate anthropology majors or minors or students in
related fields wishing to learn applied ethnographic field methods. Students
will be encouraged to develop an applied component to their research
projects that will complement the 2002-2005 applied research efforts. Some
of the participants will be Guatemalan undergraduate anthropology students.
The program is also affiliated with the Universidad del Valle-Guatemala City
(UVG) and the Universidad del Valle-Altiplano (Solola).
The Research Site
Lake Atitlan is one of the most majestic and scenic spots in all of Latin
America. Ringed by dormant volcanoes and about a mile in elevation, Lake
Atitlan was formed out of an ancient volcanic basin. Dotting the shores of
the Lake are about a dozen small villages inhabited by the contemporary
descendants of the ancient Maya. Panajachel (pop. 9000) is the largest town
and will be the headquarters for the program. The view of the lake from
Panajachel is magnificent, and its attractive sunsets and views daily lure
many tourists, which in turn has transformed the town into a tourist Mecca
with small hotels, delightful restaurants and plentiful souvenir stores.
Yet, the town and the other communities in the region have retained much of
their traditional Mayan heritage. Each student is free to choose any topic
for his or her independent ethnographic research project, but environment
and tourism inevitably will play at least some role in nearly all potential
topics. Guatemala has the largest indigenous population in Mexico and
Central America. There are approximately 23 different languages spoken in
Guatemala and three of them are spoken around lake Atitlan (Kaqchikel,
Tzutujil and Quiche). Despite conquests and civil wars, the Mayans have
survived for nearly two millennia. Lake Atitlan is one of the best places in
the country to learn about this amazingly durable and vibrant culture.
Six Course Credits (graduate or undergraduate):
Prerequisites are two courses in anthropology, one of which must be in
Cultural Anthropology. No previous experience in ethnographic fieldwork
required. Priority will be given to students who have completed at least two
semesters of Spanish.
ANT 419 Ethnographic Field Methods. (3 cr.) This is a field methods course
that emphasizes practical training in ethnographic fieldwork and ethics.
Applied research methods such as focus groups and rapid assessment
procedures will also be demonstrated. Students learn research design,
systematic observation, interviewing, fieldnote-taking, coding, ethics data
analysis and report writing.
ANT 431 Tourism, Change and Anthropology (3 cr.) This course focuses on
tourism and the role of culture as it affects the interactions between hosts
and guests. Students learn through seminar discussions and field work the
problems underlying the achievement of sustainable tourism and maintenance
of cultural traditions.
Graduate students will be enrolled in ANT 610 Independent Study in
Note: English is the language of instruction, but Spanish is an invaluable
tool for a full experience. The focus of all course work is the design,
implementation and write- up of an independent research project with an
Each student will be housed with a local Mayan family in one of ten
communities around Lake Atitlan. Each student will receive room, breakfast,
lunch and dinner and laundry services. Families also will help students
learn Spanish and establish networks in the community.
The cost of the seven-week program is $2995. Other than airfare, the fee
covers all expenses including:
-room, board (three meals/day), laundry
-in-country excursions (Antigua, Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, Patzun,
Tecpan and Iximche among others)
-local transportation costs and transfer fees
-national park entrance fees
-program fees and instruction
-tuition for six credits in anthropology
-full coverage health insurance during stay abroad
-research supplies and free rental of a cellphone.
Airfare from most US cities is approximately $500-600. Students are strongly
encouraged to bring a laptop word processor to the field. Other than a valid
passport, US and Canadian citizens need no other documents to enter
Guatemala for a stay of up to 90 days.
Students from any university or country, regardless of major – graduate,
undergraduate or post-graduate – may apply. Applications may be accessed
through the field school website: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~twallace or through
the NC State University Study Abroad Office website
http://studyabroad.ncsu.edu/ . Please feel free to contact Dr. Tim Wallace,
the program director, for additional information or any type of inquiry
about the program at 919-815-6388 (m) or 919-515-9025 (o). Fax
no:919-515-2610; E-mail: email@example.com. All applications must be
accompanied by a $200 registration fee, applicable to the total program
cost. The registration fee will be refunded to students who are not accepted
for the program. In previous years the program was full by mid-January, so
acceptance is more likely the earlier the application is received. The
applications are submitted online, but if you have any problems, please
contact Deirdre OMalley at the NCSU Study Abroad Office, Box 7344, NC State
University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7344, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-515-2087.
The official deadline is February 9, 2007, but applications received after
that date will be considered if there are spaces still available. A copy of
the application for the brochure is attached.