Course number and section by dfhercbml


									                                  UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY
                                            LAST 301
                                  Communication and Culture
                                  Field Study in Latin America
                                   Summer 2007 Mexico Trip
                                Lectures and essay discussions
                       Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Friday sessions
                      -class times assigned to each group of 9 students
                                           9-11:00 am
                                         Puebla, Mexico

Instructor:      Sharisse D. McCafferty
                 Espanol Training Centre
                 LIC: BERTHA GOMEZ
                 Address: 27 SUR 111 LA PAZ
Office Location: City / Province: Puebla
                 Postal Code 72160
                 Country: Mexico
                 Phone: ++ 52 222 230 3243
Office Phone:    403-618-9694
Web Page:
Office Hours:    Tuesday and Thursday 1-3

Additional Information
Local phone numbers, emergency contacts, and addresses will be provided upon arrival in
Puebla, Mexico. Students will be assigned to one of two groups.

Course Description
This course is the forum for experiential learning in a Latin American setting for students who
wish to develop their cross cultural skills and enhance their intercultural awareness. It is a
reflective learning course, designed to provide a framework for the student's empirical learning
experience during the field school in Latin America. In biweekly tutorial sessions students will
deconstruct and analyze their encounters with Mexican culture. The goals of the course are to
provide a forum for the sharing of cross-cultural experiences among the students, and an
analytical and critical basis from which the students can interpret these experiences. International
travel gives students the opportunity to reflect on themselves by monitoring their responses to
new situations. Our stereotypes and prejudices are embedded in these reactions, and so in them
lay the opportunity for us to learn about ourselves. By asking ourselves some tough questions,
we can move from an attitude of exclusion to one of inclusion, and become better global citizens
along the way. Some call this “cultural literacy”. Students will be expected to live with a Mexican
family, to take an active part in discussions during the class sessions, and to participate in all
events and field trips organized by the field school.

Objectives of the Course
Provide the students with first-hand experience in a Latin American culture.
Develop intercultural awareness and “cultural literacy” through reflection on and discussion of

Introduce the students to Latin America and provide a useful framework for their future travels to
the region.
Allow the students to put into practice some of the skills and knowledge they have acquired in
other Latin American Studies courses from the formal Calgary learning environment.

Textbooks and Readings:
Pre-session readings will be provided in advance of departure.
Handouts: How to Write Your Journal, Research/Essay Questions.
Assignments and Evaluation
Participation in the group debriefing sessions (including first on-campus session prior to
departure)                                                                 40%
Quiz on presession readings                                                10%
Field journal (handed in weekly)                                           40%
Final reflective question                                                  10%

It is the student's responsibility to keep a copy of each submitted assignment.
Note: Please hand in your essays directly to your tutor or instructor if possible.
There will be no drop box while in Mexico.

Registrar-scheduled Final Examination: No
Final reflective question is due on the last day of class in Puebla, Mexico.
Journals will be handed in the last day of class in Puebla, Mexico and returned before you board
the plane for Calgary.

Policy for Late Assignments
Assignments submitted after the deadline may be penalized with the loss of a grade (e.g.: A- to
B+) for each day late.

Writing Skills Statement
Faculty policy directs that all written assignments (including, although to a lesser extent, written
exam responses) will be assessed at least partly on writing skills. For details see Writing skills include not only surface correctness (grammar,
punctuation, sentence structure, etc) but also general clarity and organization.
If you need help with your writing, you may visit the following website for more details:

Grading System
The following grading system is used in the Faculty of Communication and Culture:
A+ (96-100); A (92-95); A- (86-91); B+ (81-85); B (77-80); B- (71-76);
C+ (65-70); C (62-64); C- (59-61); D+ (55-58); D (50-54); F (0-49

Using any source whatsoever without clearly documenting it is a serious academic offense.
Consequences include failure on the assignment, failure in the course and possibly suspension or
expulsion from the university.

You must document not only direct quotations but also paraphrases and ideas where they appear
in your text. A reference list at the end is insufficient by itself. Readers must be able to tell exactly
where your words and ideas end and other people’s words and ideas begin. This includes
assignments submitted in non-traditional formats such as Web pages or visual media, and
material taken from such sources.

Please consult your instructor or the Writing Centre (SS 106, if you have any
questions regarding how to document sources.

Students with Disabilities
If you are a student with a disability who may require academic accommodation, it is your
responsibility to register with the Disability Resource Centre (220-8237) and discuss your needs
with your instructor no later than fourteen (14) days after the start of the course.

Students' Union
For details about the current Students' Union contacts for the Faculty of Communication and
Culture see
No Safe-walk available in Mexico: Orientation will include strategies for your personal safety
while in Mexico. Please use a buddy system.
Whenever you perform research with human participants (i.e. surveys, interviews, observation) as
part of your university studies, you are responsible for following university research ethics
guidelines. Your instructor must review and approve of your research plans and supervise your
research. For more information about your research ethics responsibilities, see the U of C
Research Ethics “Information for Applicants,” sections 3.0 to 9.0, inclusive:


                             Latin American Studies 301
                               Field Study in Mexico
                                    Summer 2007

                        Professor: Sharisse D. McCafferty

Each student will prepare six essays during the weeks of trip to Mexico and will lead 6
discussion groups during the 4 weeks in Puebla. During the 10 day trip students should
be collecting data and preparing at least 2 essays as classes begin immediately on the
return to Puebla. Topics may be chosen from the following list or a student may speak
with the instructor if they have other areas of interest that they wish to write about.
Descriptions and questions listed below are for starting the observations but students do
not need to answer every question. Each student may include anything that they may
have noticed even though it is not listed below.

    1. MARKET
       Students will go to the market to observe and interact with merchants and
       vendors. Please include a description of the vendor (gender, age range, stature,
       etc.), products for sale and the range of prices. There will also be vendors that
       wander around the city selling their wares; you make include these merchants in
       your observations, too. Both commercial and hand-rafted items are available
       (herbs/medicines, jewellery, clothing, textiles, leather and wooden goods, plastics,
       food, baskets, hammocks, pottery, etc.). If possible, engage in a conversation
       with the merchant and include their reactions to you. Bargaining and purchasing
       a small item is recommended but not required. A comparison of two vendors is
       suggested. Record any humorous anecdotes.
    2. VENDORS
       While sitting in the Zocalo/central plaza or walking the streets of most areas of
       Mexico you are considered fair game for the wandering merchants. Take
       advantage of this and observe: What are they selling? Is it hand crafted or are
       they selling wares for someone else? Look around. Is there a Jefe or boss
       standing to the side and waiting for their cut of the money? Many of the children
       sell onyx animals and chewing gum/chicle. Where are their parents? Who are
   they taking the money to after a sale? You may want to look at the section on
   markets to get more ideas.
   Observe regional, modern, and ethnic dress. Include gender, age, status, and
   occupational differences. Are the costumes home made or purchased in a store?
   What type of fibre was used to make the clothing? How do the modern clothes
   and styles compare with what you see in Canada? You may also want to include
   adornments/jewellery. What are they wearing and why? Are specific age groups
   wearing different types of decorative wear? What about men, women, teens,
   children? Who wears aprons and why?

   What groups have you seen? What are they doing? How are they dressed?
   The Trique are an indigenous group from coastal Oaxaca who travel to many
   parts of Mexico, including Puebla. They weave on backstrap looms and sell their
   hand-woven textiles. Suggested observations may include:
   Observe the men, women, and children. What is their interaction with the
   purchasers? Who is doing the bargaining? What language are the different
   genders speaking to each other and to their customers? What are the children
   doing? Are there any clothing differences within the family unit? Describe the
   weaving process and the tools they are using. What are they weaving? What type
   of fibre is being used in the weaving? Are the items being produced considered
   true native art?
   Many areas of Mexico have a multi-ethnic population including Europeans,
   Asians, and North Americans living in and around the city. In your essay, discuss
   the various non-Mexican groups you see. What is their role? How do they treat
   other ethnic and indigenous groups? The best place to observe this topic is in the
   Zocalo or central plaza while sitting at a sidewalk café for drinks or lunch.
   Are there any statues or memorials commemorating non-Mexicans in history? If
   so, describe and discuss.
   How are the aged/senior citizens treated? Who is accompanying these people?
   Are they involved in an occupation? What age range would you put them in?
   Do they have the same assistive devices that senior citizens have in Canada? Are
   men and women being treated in a similar fashion?
   How are the physically and mentally challenged people treated? Is their special
   parking and access? Do they have someone accompanying them? Are they
   involved in an occupation? What is their role within the family and community?
   Every city in Mexico has churches. They can be small and humble to magnificent
   structures. Visit several churches and observe the differences. Attend a service, a
   funeral, wedding, baptism, or a religious festival. While living with your Host
   Family you may be asked to attend services and festivals. This is a perfect time
   for a whole range of observations and loads and loads of fun. You will never
   forget this experience. Just remember to tell your professors that you will be
   attending a special function or festival.
   Are they Catholic, Protestant, or some other denomination? What saints are they
   affiliated with and do these saints have a pre-Conquest anticedent?
   This topic can include toddlers, school age children, and teenagers.
   Compare and contrast the differences in the treatment of various ages and
   genders. Are their ethnic and social level differences? Please give an age range
   and gender for the children you are observing. Discuss clothing, activities they
   are engaged in, and treatment by parents, siblings, and extended family members.
   Are the children/teens you are observing engaged in an occupation? What about
   child labour laws?

    Compare and contrast how different Mexican babies are dressed, carried, fed,
    spoken to and treated in each area we visit. How do these differences compare
    with North American customs? What equipment are people using to transport
    children? Are their laws requiring specific equipment in motor vehicles?
    Observe the roles of people in their occupations, in daily life, in churches,
    festivals, and within your Host Family. What is the role of extended family
    members within your Host Family? Describe clothing, activities, age range,
    occupations, special talents, and the treatment of a variety of individuals by
    people within and outside of their family unit. What other genders have you
    observed? How are they treated? Many of the previous and following essay
    suggestions include gender roles. Look through those questions for more
    observation topics.
    Communication partners in various cultures have established unwritten rules.
    Observe people talking and describe what you see and what you intuit. Discuss
    physical distance, touching, gestures, greetings, vocal intensity, language and
    slang. Is there a difference between genders and age groups?
    Look at maps of various cities. What is the rationale for the layout of the city and
    the grid system? Is this layout influenced by the Spanish or indigenous groups?
    Compare and contrast Puebla’s lay out to Cholula’s city plan. You may want to
    climb a hill, pyramid, or get to a higher vantage point to make some of your
    observations. Talk to your Host Family about their cities’ plan – past and future.
    Make a drawing of the physical space of your Host Family’s house and compare it
    to other houses you might visit. Are there spaces that are maintained for just
    visitors? Are there family altars or spaces set aside for special mementos of
    festivals and ceremonies? If your Host Family is Catholic, what saints do they
    hang on the wall? Describe different rooms of the house and their purpose. Are
    the families nuclear or extended? Discuss the use of roof space?
    Is there a family pet and what is their relationship to the household space?
    Political, social, and human rights protests are common in Mexico. Please do not
    attend any political demonstrations even with your Host Family. Discuss political
    posters and slogans that you see in graffiti or handouts around the different cities.
    How many political parties are there in Mexico and how do their goals differ?
    What are the most popular political parties and are their slogans playing to
    specific social, gender or ethnic cleavages?
    Educational priorities are varied in Mexico. You should discuss educational
    practices with your Host Family. You might want to get permission to visit a
    school. Your essay should include a discussion of literacy rates, private and
    public education, tuition and uniforms, school calendar (days and months in
    session). Are rural and urban schools the same? Are indigenous groups treated
    equally and is their language maintained in the schools? Is there free public
    education? Are there preschools and who takes advantage of early education?

    Discuss dating practices with your Host Family. What are the stated expectations
    of the parents for their children? Can you figure out what the true practice is?
    Are public displays of affection accepted? There is a distinct difference in dating
    practices in Mexico and it varies widely between rural and urban centres and from
    area to area. The Zocalos or central park areas play a role in courtship. What is
    it? What ages do boys and girls begin to date? Are they accompanied by anyone?
    Is dating done in groups or as couples? Are there gender, social status, and
    cultural differences? Do the indigenous groups follow the same social rules?
    This is a wide-open topic but I have listed a few suggestions that delineate your
    goals with this essay. Your Host Family may be able to provide you with
    information on migrations within and out of Mexico. Is there a rural to urban
    migration? Why and by whom? Does the Host Family have members living in
    other countries? What groups have migrated into Mexico? What is their current
    role? Where did they come from? When and why did they come to Mexico?
    How many Mexicans leave Mexico each year and why? You may want to talk to
    the the people your host family employs as servants and ask where they are from
    and why they came to the city?
    Discuss the impact of technology on Mexican society. For example, cell phones
    and computers. Does this contribute to globalization? What effect does
    technology have on traditional culture? What role did NAFTA play? Do you see
    technology being Modernization or North Americanization?
    Use observations of your Host Family and other families you meet to help you
    discuss this topic. Is it a nuclear or extended family? Who lives in the house and
    what is their relationship with the nuclear family? What is the gender and age
    ratio within the household? What is the division of labour among family
    members? Who is working outside the home? Are there servants and what is
    their role? How are they treated, are they incorporated or excluded from the
    family? Do they belong to a specific ethnic group? Discuss ritual practice as
    observed in the family. Who participates, what are their jobs, are there monetary
    and time commitments? Does the family participate in a “cargo/mayor domia”
    system to support the local church? What are their obligations and who is
    To what extent do Mexicans understand and appreciate their cultural heritage?
    Give specific examples from individuals you have spoken with. Are they
    Mestizo, Mulatto, or Criollo? What group do they affiliate themselves with?
    Do they understand the Mexican flag symbolism? Are there traditional arts
    displayed within the household? Are there archaeological relics displayed. How
    and where?
    Compare and contrast two archaeological sites you visited in Mexico. What is the
    function of monumental architecture? Are both ritual and domestic contexts
    represented? What is the role of tourism at these sites and how are these sites
    being affected by tourism?

    Describe the educational content of museums in Mexico. Is the past being
    presented as an exotic foreign place? Is it related to the modern cultural context?
    Describe the reaction of museum visitors. Is their reaction similar to foreign
    visitors? What is the layout of the museum and how does it compare to museums
    you have visited in other parts of the world?
    Discuss various modes of transportation that you experienced on your trip to
    Mexico. What about driving rules and road courtesy? Who is utilizing the
    various types of transportation? What is the range of vehicles on the road?
    Discuss rural and urban transportation. Are there pollution controls for vehicles?
    Advertising signs are everywhere just as in North America. How do the slogans
    and illustrations differ? Are western ideals being promoted? Are the people
    illustrated in bulletin boards reflective of the population and how they live?
    What about TV commercials?
    You will experience a broad range of foods and food preparation on your trip and
    with your Host Family. You may discuss food preparation, food consumption,
    gender and age differences, and the actual food. Are there special foods for
    special holidays or seasons? What have you tried that is different and what was
    your reaction to it? How do the standard foods you eat at home compare with
    Mexican cuisine? Food from the Puebla region can be simple to spectacular so
    you have many experiences to discuss in your essay. You may want to get a
    recipe or two. Restaurants have a variety of foods from regional specialties to
    comida corrida/fast food or blue-plate specials. Discuss layouts and décor of
    restaurants, the type of food being served, and the employees of the restaurant.
    Compare and contrast restaurants within and between the Mexican states you
    have visited. How frequently do people eat out in restaurants?
    Discuss your observations of the general treatment of animals in Mexico. If your
    Host Family has a pet you may wish to discuss this topic with them. North
    American ideals of animal treatment are often at odds with animal care in other
    parts of the world. Be careful that you do not offend the people you are speaking
    with. You may wish to visit a pet store or a veterinarian. How do people feel
    about neutering animals? What do people feed their animals? What is the life
    expectancy for pets? Are their leash laws? Where are the pets kept?
    Hopefully, you won’t get any personal experience in a hospital or clinic. Instead
    you might want to ask about the medical system, hospital policies, fees charged,
    and the role of the Pharmacist in daily treatment. Where do medical practioners
    obtain their degrees. Are there public and private hospitals and what is the
    difference in the patient’s care? Who care for patients in the public hospital? Is
    there public and private insurance? What is the role of midwives, curers, and
    Mexico is a popular tourist destination both inland and beach areas. How are
    different gangs and drug cartels using tourism as a weapon against the state?
    What is the effect of tourism on the Mexican economy? How does tourism affect
    ecological and archaeological structures? Is tourism wanted, by whom, and for
    what reasons?
    All over Mexico you will see construction of modern buildings, replacement of
    buildings damaged by earthquakes, etc. What kind of buildings are being
    constructed, what materials are being used, what is the purpose of the buildings,
    and do they fit in with the landscape? Are environmental considerations being
    observed? What role does archaeology play in the construction and remodelling
    of buildings? What type of equipment is being used? Is there more people-power
    or machine power?
    Does Mexico have Health Clubs? Who is using them? What social and ethnic
    group has established them?
    What is the purpose of public baths? Who visits them and why? What is a
    temezcal? Why do people use these?
    Discuss your conceptions before visiting Mexico and what you learned after you
    have lived and travelled in Mexico. Were your assumptions right or wrong?
    Discuss your thoughts. Be specific and give several examples.
    Mexico has a variety of climatic zones. Water is plentiful in some areas and must
    be carefully conserved in others. What have you observed about the way water is
    used and restricted within Puebla and what are your Host Family’s rules about
    water? Does Mexico have water purification systems?
    Many homes in North America have smoke and fire detectors. Does your Host
    Family utilize any of these tools? What are the precautions taken for pedestrians
    and children around dangerous areas or constructions sites? What is the
    earthquake alert system and how does it work? Discuss areas that you have been
    in that seem to be a safety hazard. What should be done about it from a Mexican
    viewpoint? Again, please be polite if you discuss this with your Host Family.
    There is always more than one way to do things.
    Mexico is strongly influenced by nationalist tendencies. Identify whether
    Mexicans relate more to civic or ethnic nationalism. How often do you see the
    Virgin of Guadalupe and what is her role in the symbolism of Mexico. The
    Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of the Americas and empress of Mexico.
    What can you identify as important factors in Mexican nationalism? Give
    examples and discuss their relationship to nationalism.
    You will observe many types of religious and public festivals during your visit to
    Mexico. Discuss what festival you attended or observed. What was the purpose?
    Who attended it? What was the division of labour? Were there specific social,
    gender, or age rules for participation? Discuss food, decorations, and dress. Are
    there specific ceremonies at certain ages?
    Mexico is teeming with movement and everyone seems to be going someplace or
    working at some thing. Even the dogs seem to have a purpose and somewhere
    they must be. What is the unemployment rate? What is the minimum wage? Do
    workers have unions or other organizations that they belong to? Is there a
    minimum age for employment? Is there unemployment assistance? How do
    people find jobs? Are there equal rights for all ethnic groups, ages, and
    challenges? Compare the minimum wage for a general labourer to prices at the
    movie theatre, stores, food, and a cup of Starbuck’s coffee.
    All over Mexico you will observe people begging, playing musical instruments,
    and sleeping in doorways. What is the estimated age group of these individuals,
    what is their gender, how are they dressed, do they belong to specific ethnic
    groups, are they passive or aggressive?
    Although Canadians are very health conscious and smoking is on the decline in
    public places in North America, you will find that smoke is everywhere in
    Mexico. Is there a pre-Conquest antecedent for this? If so, what is it and how
    does it affect contemporary Mexico?
    Drinking and liquor consumption are commonplace in Canada with liquor stores
    available in nearly every strip mall. How does this compare to Mexico? How do
    Mexicans view drinking and liquor? Is there a pre-Conquest antecedent for ritual
    drinking? Who is drinking and where?
    When visitors travel to Mexico one of the things that amazes them is the blaze of
    colour. Observe the outside of houses, front doors, decorative painting in your
    Host’s family’s home. What colours are they using and combining? Why?

                            Latin American Studies 301
                              Field Study in Mexico
                                   Summer 2007

                        Professor: Sharisse D. McCafferty

Each student will be required to maintain a journal in which his/her thoughts, feelings,
and perceptions of Mexico will be recorded on a daily basis. Please be sure to include
entries on your “culture shock” at least three times. Feel free to illustrate your journal
with drawings, pictures, postcards, flowers, etc. Make it yours personally. I would
encourage you to leave space to add photos to be added later. In your journal you will be
commenting on each site we visit and the people you have met, your travel companions,
and your adventures

Type of Journal:
Please use an Essay Notebook (Mead composition). If they are all the same size they are
easier for me to collect and transport.

Why do I have to keep a journal?

Journal writing captures our thoughts and feelings on paper. It helps us reflect on how we
think, create, learn, understand and interpret what we are seeing and experiencing. When
we can see what we're thinking, we can work with our thoughts in new ways and promote
self-growth. We break through our habitual patterns to discover our innate wisdom and
cultural biases. And when we do this, our lives transform and our world expands outside
of ourselves.

Journals don’t interrupt you with tangential questions, and you don’t have to
worry about being a burden on a travel mate. They are available to you at
any time of the day or night – you don’t have to make an appointment!

Journaling on this trip helps by:

    Recording joys, curiosity, and excitement
    Releasing frustration and negative emotions of fear and anger associated with
     traveling to new places and experiencing new environments. It helps you grasp
     valuable insights, clear out emotional blocks and moves you forward
    Sparking your inner creativity
    Discovering ways of self-empowerment and realization.
    Aiding in self-exploration. This will be the log or chart of your voyage of
     cultural discovery and self exploration. It will help you see the bigger world
     picture and not being so concerned with yourself and your culture

Tips for successful journal writing are listed below.

           1. In the front of your journal write down your Host Family’s names and
               their relationship to each other, their address and phone numbers. Keep a
               second copy of this information with you at all times in another location.
               Also, write down the location of your professors and their phone number.
           2. Add a small calendar to the front of your journal. It is easy to lose track of
               the date when you are traveling.
           3. Be consistent and plan to write at a specific time each day.
           4. Be complete – write in full sentences that fully share your thoughts or
               feelings, no matter if they are positive or negative. Name and describe the
               places you visit. You will forget the names later. This will also help with
               your photo log when you return home. You might want to make note of
               the number of pictures you took in each place.
           5. Vary your entries. Be creative to avoid boring yourself.
           6. Be organized – keep your writing materials together, date each entry
           7. Ask yourself questions – what would you like to remember, what would
               you like to tell others about when you return home? What impressed or
               depressed you? What were you shocked or surprised about? Would you
               like to return to this place? What do you miss the most or least?
           8. Use “story starter” lines to get you going if you have “writer’s block”
                    In the church there was….
                    In the market I saw….
                    I was so happy/angry/frustrated when….
                    I treasure the fact that…..
                    Today I heard…..
           9. Use some of the questions from the LAST 301 class to help you write
               about the environment you are living in and to stimulate your thoughts.
           10. Personalize your journal – journal writing can be fun when you decorate
               the journal. Feel free to attach documents, make maps when describing a
               location, copy down statistics that you learn about, add new vocabulary
               words, make charts and graphs.
           11. Keep a journal of your emotions and feelings, it is a great stress
               reliever and it will be a clear reminder of how you felt when you re-
               read your journal. Clearly stating your confusion helps you to make
               good future decisions and helps you learn to laugh at yourself later. It can
               be enormously helpful to express strong emotion, within a safe
               context.Rate your emotional state on a numerical scale (1-5).
12. If you are writing about the family you are living with, make sure that the
    journal stays away from their hands. You may not want them reading
    what you are writing. Many Mexicans that do not speak English can read

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