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the mira project

multimedia interdisciplinary research in anthropology...
in spanish, mira means to watch or to look.

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A unique and exciting opportunity to critically explore and experience tourism development projects and their implications as they relate to issues of identity, development, cultural hegemony, urban development, migration, and multimedia ethnographic documentation within the context of cultural production. Student participants gain intensive, on-site fieldwork training in ethnography and cultural anthropology and develop new skills in interdisciplinary research methodologies as they relate to cultural studies and art making.

Students gain hands-on training in the ethnographic methods of cultural anthropology in order to develop their own individual research project within a larger program of focused research. Students will have the opportunity to explore topics and mediums of interest in the first person while working in small groups in an environment of cultural immersion. The overall program and project culminates in a multi-authored, multi-media ethnographic document that is designed and developed for academic dissemination.

  • The culture of Spring Break and the complex life on the ‘Mayan Riviera’
  • Attraction and interactions between Mexicans, Yucatecans, Mayans, Europeans, Canadians, and US North Americans
  • Economic, social and cultural development
  • Class relationships between different cultural groups in a cosmopolitan setting
  • Forms of hybridity, transculturation and cultural fusion in relation to identity
  • Cultures of consumption and commodification of cultural belongings and identities
  • The production and consumption of the Mexican/Mayan/Yucatecan imaginary

Playa del Carmen has been selected specifically as a point of departure for this project because of its extreme social, cultural political and economic complexity as a part of the ‘Mayan Riviera’/‘Mundo Maya’/Mexican-European-US tourism machine. Playa del Carmen is particularly well suited location for this project in part because of its proximity to Florida but also because of its specific characteristics as a pivotal part of the Mexican tourist industry.