LAS 324L • ETHNOGRAPHY OF THE MAYA
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course introduces students to the anthropological study of Maya people in Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Necessarily selective, the course focuses on certain parts of the Maya region, emphasizing selected themes and problems. It is composed of three roughly equal modules, the first introducing the history and extent of the region (from the classic through the colonial period), the second focusing on rebellion in the region, and movements aimed at self-definition of Maya people by Maya people (with a focus on Chiapas and the Pan Mayan movement), and the third zeroing in on the ethnography of Yucatan. The Yucatan is one of the best studied parts of the Maya region, and will provide a case study through which to critically explore the models, methods and practices of ethnography. In the latter part of the semester, we will examine in detail aspects of contemporary Yucatecan ethnography, based on research over the past two decades by myself and others. In this phase, our focus will be the classic ethnographies of Redfield and Villa Rojas, the legacy of misunderstanding and objectification, and aspects of contemporary shamanic practice.