Sunday, June 3, 2012

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During our three weeks in Pesquiera with the Xukuru I have left this blog open for my students to express their feelings, impressions, ideas, and perceptions of life with the Xukuru and of their excursions into city life in North Eastern Brazil. As readers will see, at times students have a difficult time understanding cultural differences, often as minute as ways of walking on streets, physical contact with others in public, the level of noise and movement in city centers, and the placement of a variety of shops, public venders, propaganda trucks loudly calling attention to their businesses and goods they seek to sell. No matter how much students are given to read, the number of exams or essays they write, nothing impacts them more than the actual experience of face-to-face contact with those who live differently than they do.
Notions of culture, what it is, what it does, what it means are contested by current anthropologists across all sub-fields. What is not contested is that whatever culture is, it exists, and it is all inclusive. This trip has brought my students face-to-face with themselves, the ways in which they perceive their experiences and surroundings, and the reality that what we know and understand is largely a constructed "truth." The good news is that we can and must always be reconstructing what we think we know in order to open and expand our selves to take in and give back to the world at large. It is my hope that fellow colleagues, students of anthropology, friends of my students, and others will write their comments, thoughts, suggestions, and insights about my students comments. We hope that some of you will take the time to write and share with us your thoughts about our experiences posted on this blog.
Dr. Mikulak

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WDAZ TV Xukuru Research Synopsis