News Archive

Professor Blogs From Maya World

John Abell is spending his summer participating in National Summer Institute on

6/26/2006 8:59:25 AM


JUNE 26, 2006

LYNCHBURG — A Randolph-Macon Woman’s College professor is spending his summer studying the Maya Worlds, thanks to an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

John Abell, an economics professor, was one of 24 faculty selected from community and four-year colleges and universities throughout the United States to participate in a national Summer Institute on "Maya Worlds: on-site in Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize." The faculty members will have the opportunity to study Maya culture in the field with 15 internationally-known scholars and writers from a variety of humanities and social science disciplines.

"I’ve been traveling to Mexico and Central America for nearly two decades and I’ve never been to any of the Mayan archaeological sites," Abell said. "Most of my trips have had an economic, social, or political theme, and trips to ancient places like Tikal, Copan, or Palenque have never been on the agenda."

He hopes to add a component to his Economics of Latin America course that examines the indigenous cultures that were in this hemisphere upon first contact with the European conquistadors.

Please visit Abell’s blog on the experience here:

The six-week Institute will begin in the city of Villahermosa, Mexico, near the ancient Olmec heartland, with seminars by anthropologist Karl Taube and a field visit to El Parque Museo de la Venta with archaeologist Rebecca González Lauck. The group then moves on to Chiapas, to the spectacular classic Maya sites of Palenque, Bonampak and Yaxchilan, guided by archaeolopgists Julie Miller and Alfonso Morales. In the Chiapan colonial capital of San Cristóbal de las Casas, seminars with Chiapas historian Jan de Vos and anthropologist Gary Gossen will be held, with visits to the towns of Chamula and Zinacantán and meetings with the local Maya theatre groups Sna Itz'bajam and FOMMA, hosted by Bob and Miriam Laughlin.

The group will spend three days with site archaeologist Peter Harrison at Uaxactun and Tikal in Guatemala, and then travel to Belize for visits to the Panti Maya Medicine Trail and to archaeological sites in the Belize Valley led by K. Anne Pyburn. For three days, the group will be based in Maya towns in the San Antonio district for an experience of local culture, and to attend seminars held by historian Matthew Restall.

From Belize, the faculty members will travel by boat and overland to Guatemala, for site visits to Quiriguá and Copán, Honduras led, respectively, by David Sedat and William Fash. For the final segment of the Institute, they will return to Guatemala, based in the colonial capital of Antigua, Guatemala for seminars with anthropologist Victor Montejo and field trips to the contemporary Maya towns of San Antonio, Aguas Calientes, Tecpán, Chichicastenango with anthropologists Federico Fahsen and Carol Hendrickson. The trip will end in Guatemala City with seminars by historian George Lovell and roundtables with contemporary Guatemalan Maya writers.

| |

CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations