Professor One of 24 Fellows Chosen for NEH Summer Institute on Mayan Culture

photo of Maya palace

An Eastern Kentucky University professor is one of 24 Fellows chosen for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute.

Dr. Kelli Carmean, professor of archaeology and chair of EKU’s Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, will participate in “Revisioning the Maya: New Directions in Scholarship and Teaching On-Site in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.” The five-week event, which involves extensive travels in three Central American countries, is sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association.

Carmean said her interest in the Institute is four-fold, involving two curricular and two scholarly goals.

“My curricular goals entail improving my classroom instruction at EKU, and to set the groundwork to teach in (and/or direct) the Kentucky Institute for International Studies study abroad site in Mérida, Yucatán,” said Carmean, who recently learned she will teach in Merida in the summer of 2012. “My scholarly interests entail helping write a final monograph for the Sayil Archaeological Project, and to write a public-oriented historical fiction novel to reach a lay audience that has been unduly influenced by problematic popular works such as “Apocalypto.”

The 24 fellows, selected from community colleges and four-year colleges and universities nationwide, will study Maya culture in the field with 12 internationally renowned scholars from a variety of humanities and social sciences disciplines. The Institute will focus especially on the pre-Columbian period and address the latest discoveries and scholarship in that regard, but also spotlight current and ongoing scholarship on colonial and contemporary Maya societies in the contexts of continuity and change.

As EKU’s 2010 Roark Distinguished Lecturer, Carmean presented a public program entitled “Digging the Past: Archaeological Investigations at an Indian Village in Madison County.” She is also the author of “Creekside: An Archaeological Novel,” a historical fiction work set in central Kentucky that pits developers against an archaeologist and her students racing against time to protect the past.

Published on April 04, 2011