Contact, Colonialism, & Ritual, Mexico: Oaxaca Linguistic Anthro & Historical Arch – Institute for Field Research

This listing expired on November 1, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Oaxaca City, MX

Season: June 14, 2020 to July 11, 2020

Application Deadline: April 3, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

California State University Los Angeles, Connecticut College, UCLA, Institute for Field Research

Project Director:
Dr. Aaron Sonnenschein, Dr. John M.D. Pohl, and Dr. Danny Zborover

Project Description:

The role of the Pacific Ocean is taking on increasing importance in Pre-Columbian, Colonial, and Contemporary studies of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Our project focuses on a key region within this vast system— the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca and its adjacent Pacific Coast— one of the most ethnically and linguistically complex and biologically diverse regions in the world. For over two millennia Oaxacan Indigenous cultures constructed here monumental sites; ruled over vast city-states; invented complex writing systems and iconography; and crafted among the finest artistic traditions in the world, some of which are still perpetuated to this day. The clash of the Indigenous and the European worlds in the 16th century created unique cultures; the legacy of which underlies the modern nation of Mexico. By traveling from the bustling Oaxaca City through the valleys, mountains, and down to the Pacific Coast, students will be introduced to a dynamic arena where long-term colonial interests were negotiated between Indigenous and European powers such as the Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Aztecs, Pochutecs, Chontal, Huaves, Spanish and, even English, Dutch, and French Pirates! Students will conduct interactive exercises in ceremonial centers and off-the-beaten track archaeological sites and museums, learn to decipher and employ Indigenous pictorial documents and European maps, experience urban and rural lifestyles in various geographical zones, visit sacred sites where rituals are still being performed today, conduct basic language documentation and investigate local language revitalization projects, and actively participate in local festivities. Finally, through the study of long-term colonial processes in southern Mexico, students will gain a better understanding of this fascinating modern nation-state and its direct impact on contemporary debates.

Please note that in compliance with Mexican policies, this field school does not involve an active participation in an archaeological excavation. All data resulting from this project are historical, ethnographic, and linguistic in nature, intended to be integrated with published and observed archaeological records.

Period(s) of Occupation: Ethnography, Linguistic Anthropology, Historical Archaeology

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Participants are required to stay for the full duration of the field school.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No experience required.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Students will be staying in hotels, local inns, and with host families while traveling through the different regions of Oaxaca and the Pacific Coast. All students will be sharing a room based on room size and availability. In Huamelula, students will be sleeping on inflatable beds and/or hammocks. Oaxacan food is a wonderful blend of Indigenous and European cuisines, and dining is a cultural experience in itself. Breakfasts and dinners are usually taken in local restaurants and diners, and light lunches in the field mostly consist of sandwiches. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain, and vegetarians might find options fairly limited. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided by the program 6 days a week. Students are responsible for their meals on free days each weekend.

Academic Credit:
8 Semester Credits credits offered by Connecticut College. Tuition is $4,640.

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Research

2999 Overland Ave. #103

Los Angeles



United States

Phone: 8778394374

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