M.A.R.I. supports graduate students and scholars researching Middle American people and cultures past and present. Below is a list of some recent funding recipients and their research interests.
David S. Anderson, 2001-present
|Anderson's work focuses on the Preclassic Maya site of Xtobo, in Northwest Yucatan. Despite the siteís early occupation and peripheral location it includes many of the hallmarks of complex Maya archaeological sites, including: a pyramid-flanked plaza, elite residential complexes, triadic-group architecture, ballcourt architecture, and sacbes. Perhaps most unexpectedly, the site appears to be the central focus of a regional ballcourt tradition, involving more than 20 other ballcourts, probably as early as the Middle Preclassic. Mapping at Xtobo has revealed a dense residential settlement covering almost a square kilometer.|
Cult of Maria Lionza
Wade R. Glen, 2004-Present
|The purpose of my dissertation research is to investigate how a religion known as the Cult of Maria Lionza (CML) serves as an ethnomedical practice for coping with stress, folk illness, and socioeconomic problems in Caracas, Venezuela. Central questions are why and under what circumstances individuals utilize traditional or ethnomedicine instead of modern (Western) biomedicine in an environment of medical pluralism. Ethnomedicine may be used as a synonym for traditional or folk medicine and includes both religious ritual healing and herbs or plant medicines. Life-changing events such as biomedical or mental illness, death of a loved one or family member, financial difficulty, unemployment, marital problems, and family problems may cause severe anxiety or stress leading to illness. Social problems, particularly poverty, violence, and abandonment are clearly linked to the incidence of folk, psychosomatic, and mental illness, and illness has been considered an idiom for the expression of protest and socio-political commentary. The primary focus of this project is the supernatural aspect of folk-illness and a study of how religiosity and gender affect illness behavior and illness treatment choice. I hypothesize that the decision to use CML treatment of illness will be based on individual beliefs in the supernatural, personal experiences with illness, how individuals perceive the nature of a specific illness event, and how individuals determine the cause of the illness event (particularly whether they believe witchcraft or some supernatural agent was involved). In short, people will use CML as a source of ethnomedical treatment when they believe that they need spiritual aid.|
Marcello A. Canuto 2008-Present
|This project has been conducting multi-disciplinary field research in the western portion of the Maya Biosphere Reserve of northern Guatemala since 2008 near the Classic Maya city known as La Corona.|