Anthropology professor awarded grant to explore Oaxaca
RELEASED: June 14, 2007
DANVILLE, KY—Phyllis Passariello, professor of anthropology, is one of 24 participants tapped for a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute to be held in Mexico in July. The topic is Oaxaca: Crossroads of a Continent.
The NEH Summer Institute grant competition requires submitting an extensive essay, resume and two references.
The participants in the Summer Institute spend a month in serious study, reading several books, articles and monographs on various aspects of Oaxaca (pre-historic, archaeological, historic, economic, artistic, as well as anthropological). A number of well-known experts in various fields will direct different parts of the Institute."We'll meet every weekday for what is framed as rigorous, formal discussion and study on pre-assigned topics; and then on most of the weekends we leave Oaxaca City for study-trips to various locales," she says. Some of those locales include the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban, the Mixtec ruins of Mitlan, as well as Juchitan on the Oaxaca Coast (center of the noteworthy "Tehuana" culture), which is largely woman-centered in both the private and public spheres.
"We also travel to a number of 'craft' villages in the mountains outside Oaxaca City as well as to various on-going communities well-known for indigenous 'curandero' (religo- medical) practitioners (such as the very famous late Maria Sabina), including their use of medicinal plants," she says. "The point of the Institute is to gain a holistic understanding of the importance and significance of Oaxaca 'then and now' in the history and development of this part of the Americas."
Passariello, who has been teaching at the College since 1988, began Centre's anthropology and sociology program. She earned a B.A. with high honors from Barnard College at Columbia University. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining the Centre faculty, she taught at several branches of the University of Maine and at Bowdoin College and worked in museums in Maine, Connecticut and California.
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