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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Trip - Part 2

The whole reason I even thought to come down here, at least to the Yucatan (I have plans in my head for a Pan-American Highway trip but that would go down the West Coast of Mexico.  Though I am also really interested in SE Asia, particularly the coast road in Vietnam that seems to put the PCH to shame.  Hey, why not both?), is on of my professors, Miguel Aguilera.  He is an anthropologist who has been working in the Mexico and Central America for over a decade (he speaks Spanish and Mayan).  He is primarily a socio-cultural anthropologist but has done archaeology as well, call the mix ethnohistory.  

He has a hut where he works in a small village in the state of Quintana Roo.  A year or so ago he inivted me to come down to check things out.  I had not up until this time and figured this summer was as good as any, why not?  

More than a vacation though, this trip has academic relevance to me.  With a focus on transdisciplinary research methods my research interests focus around understanding what it means to be “black” for people in the Circum-Caribbean.  In my studies I have seen the political nature of power and how this operates though discursive processes to create and reproduce race, gender, and other classifications that are not ontologically existent but none the less are salient in everyday life.  

I am interested in how such classifications operate as a societal construct generated by competing powers each trying to define present political situations and how individual agents work to manipulate this system in various ways within relational historical and contextual settings.  I will focus particularly on the consequences of these processes and structures in the contemporary society with the use of an ethnographic methodology. 

This ethnographic methodology is not something you learn in class but something you have to practice though experience.  One of the biggest challenges I will have is writing.  I will be using this time to record a more private record of my trip in the hopes of devloping my skills.  I wish to also expriement a little with different styles and forms ranging from the more traditional and descriptive Turner and Prichard to more experiemental narratives like those of Taussig.  I do not think I will ever be able to capture things in the way Taussig does with words but his writting is an inspriation to me.  

Yes, I could do this all at home, but it is not as fun as being here!

Aside from all of that I am really just here to spend some time with a good friend.

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