Dr. Brent E. Metz

Associate Professor
Associate Chair, Curriculum Coordinator -- Dept of Anthropology
Primary office:

Research Areas: Indigeneity, indigenous reformulation, culture and power, collective memory, ethnographic representation, masculinity; Ch’orti’ Maya, Mesoamerica, Latin America

My primary research focus since 1990 has been the changing quality of life and the politics of identity among impoverished Ch'orti'-Maya subsistence farmers in eastern Guatemala and western Honduras, and mestizos in the former Ch’orti’-speaking area of northwestern El Salvador. I am currently writing a book on the contradictory approaches – deconstructionist vs. activist in particular – to indigenous recognition, for which I use my research in the former Ch’orti’-speaking region as a point of departure. The digital version of the book will include video pop-ups, dozens of maps, photos, and audio recordings. The next phase of my career, which I have already begun with the co-founding and service to the Lawrence Centro Hispano, an applied field school in Honduras, and the co-founding of an Engineers Without Borders professional chapter, involves development in the broadest sense, including identity, consciousness raising, technology, health, and political participation. Besides my Mayan research, I have also undertaken ethnographic research among Mexican-American migrant farmworkers in Michigan, on religious festivals in Seville, Spain, and of agrochemical practices among Costa Rican coffee farmers.

Teaching Interests

  • Latin America
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • Indigenous
  • Development
  • Teaching of anthropology
  • Masculinity
  • Applied field school
  • Service learning
  • Ethnography

Research Interests

  • Indigeneity, development, indigenous reformulation, culture and power, collective memory, ethnographic representation, masculinity
  • Ch&rsquo
  • Orti&rsquo
  • Maya, Mesoamerica, Central America, Mexico, Latin America

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