Dr. Howell and CSULB students
during an excursionto Ixtlán de Juárez in the Sierra Juárez,
|Report||J. Howell's Oaxaca Page|
The field school
is based in the provincial capital, Oaxaca de Juárez.
Field excursions to outlying villages and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec last from 4 hours to 3 days.
Lectures on methodology, local history, ethnic and gender relations, politics, religion, economics begin as soon as students arrive. Students learn and apply four primary methods, (systematic observation and recording of one's surroundings in journals and field notes, physical and social maps to record notes, developing and conducting surveys and formal interviews).
Dr. Howell works with students to analyze and interpret data collected for demographic (ethnicity, age, sex) and economic (education, employment, income level) factors) patterns. Graded assignments including a final reflective paper and fieldnotes are required at the end of the course.
Because social interactions between relatives are at the heart of ethnographic inquiry, students interact with Oaxacan families throughout their stay. They participate in educational tours of local cultural and historic sites to better understand the complexities of Mexican culture and Oaxacan identity. Visits to craft-producing and agricultural villages provide an opportunity to see the impacts of globalization in Oaxaca.
In light of annual migration of thousands of Oaxqueños to California annually, students spend one day at a Zapotec-speaking junior high school, where they help with English lessons and answer students' questions about life in the United States. This final activity allows students to participate in the local custom of guelaguetza (reciprocal exchange) to acknowledge Oaxaca’s hospitality.
Enrollment in this advanced skills course is by instructor permission only. Students should have at least an overall “B” (3.0) minimum GPA, junior status, and demonstrate a commitment active participation in this course. All interested students must meet with Dr. Howell personally to discuss their background in anthropology and career goals. Those selected for the program must sign a conduct code agreement. Spanish proficiency is recommended by not required.
Recruitment will continue throughout the Spring 2005 semester. Mandatory pre-travel orientation meetings will be held in early May.
Lectures are held on an outdoor terrace with a view of the Guelaguetza stadium.
Everyday sites around the provincial capital:
tours of the Ethnobotanical Garden at the Centro
Cultural del ex-convento de Santo Domingo de Guzmán
MONTE ALBAN, MITLA and YAGUL: Pre-Columbian Oaxaca
Religion and Politics
ORDÁZ: Rhytms of Rural Life
Ixtán de Juarez:
Past and Present
We spent 3
days living with a family in Asuncion Ixtaltepec, in the district of Juchitán.
To deal with the heat and humidity, students
heat, students also learned first hand about legendary Tehuana textiles:
more information, please refer to J. Howell's Web site athttp://www.csulb.edu/~jhowell/oaxaca/
For photos of students enjoying Oaxaca, please follow this link. http://www.csulb.edu/~jhowell/randomshots.html