“Mesoamerican Cultures and their Histories:
Spotlight on Oaxaca!”

July 6 to August 1, 2014

Oaxaca, Mexico


“Backstreets of Oaxaca,”
a pastel by Pearl Lau, NEH Summer Scholar, 2010.

  • We have received more than 300 applications for this summer’s institute.  Thank you so much for your interest!  We are reading the applications very carefully. On March 31st we will notify all applicants, whether they are in the top 30, on a wait list, or did not make either of those cuts.  Sadly, about 270 will be in the latter group.  It is such a difficult process, anticipating disappointing so many applicants.  We only hope that we will be able to do this in 2015 and beyond, and more of you will get the opportunity to be with us.  We’ll keep you posted.
  • We have won funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for this Summer Institute for School Teachers (K-12), which will take place in Oaxaca, Mexico, from July 6 to August 1, 2014.
  • This is a great fellowship opportunity for teachers across the U.S. who wish to increase Mesoamerican content in their courses, delve into indigenous cultures and their histories from readings, lectures, and experiential learning through excursions in southern Mexico.
  • You may be interested to read comments from former participants.
  • Spanish-language ability is not a requirement for applying to this Institute.
  • Application deadline:  March 4, 2014.
  • How will we make our selections?  We like diversity.  Our group of participants for Summer 2010 was quite diverse.  We had eleven teachers who teach grades up through 8; one who ranged from K to 12; and 17 who taught 9th grade through 12th.  We had three graduate students (something new at that time and encouraged by NEH), two of whom were teaching and the other planned to be a teacher.  We had six coming to Oaxaca from jobs in California, four from Illinois, three from New York, two from Georgia, two from Idaho, one each from Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Most NEH Summer Scholars were teaching Social Studies, Spanish, ESL/ESOL, Art, and Language Arts/Literature. We had one Biology teacher — who particularly connected with our unit on ethnobotany!
  • Wish to write a strong application essay?  Take a look first at our detailed plans for Oaxaca for 2014, please read our Dear Colleague Letter (subject to NEH approval for 2014) and then see our Syllabus and Calendar (undergoing revision for 2014).  Tell us how you would connect with specific themes we are addressing in the Institute.  For the password to required readings, please write Stephanie Wood [swood AT uoregon DOT edu]. The readings will be tweaked between now and Spring 2014.
  • Concerned about safety issues? Here’s an interesting, recent article on travel in Mexico, weighting perceived realities vs. the media hype. For more of this type of reading, see:
  • As you anticipate a visit to Oaxaca, check out this wonderful arts calendar (in Spanish), El Jolgorio Cultural de Oaxaca, or Margie Barclay’s Oaxaca Calendar (in English), or TripAdvisor’s 54 things to do in Oaxaca.
  • In anticipation of getting to know the Institute Director, Stephanie Wood, take a look at a streaming interview with her about the indigenous-language dictionary she is building with colleagues in Zacatecas, Mexico. Or, take a look at this film clip where she is speaking about some stone carvings in Monte Albán, Oaxaca.  Here is her online c.v.
  • We invite you to visit this website frequently as we will be adding or modifying content regularly. The website will be one of the primary means for notifying you of our application deadlines, the content of the institute, ideas about housing, and the host of other details that will accompany our adventure in Oaxaca.  You will need to keep a watch on the course calendar and the associated reading assignments for each session.
  • After the finalists have been chosen and accepted, we will begin building a who’s who page for all who are willing to share short bios and photos, so we can get to know one another as soon as possible.  And we will ask for your email addresses.
  • Please also look for — and “like”–  our page on Facebook, where we can post photos and exchange messages:  “NEH Oaxaca 2014: Mesoamerican Cultures and their Histories
  • For more art work by Pearl Lau (which you are free to incorporate into your lessons if you wish, as long as you credit her, go to:

To contact us now, please email: Stephanie Wood [swood AT uoregon DOT edu].

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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