by Dr. Michael R. Leming
taking this course from April 1- 30, students will be housed at
the Hilltribe Resources and Development Center in a hostel located
in Ban Mai Phattana. The village is located 120 miles from Chiang
Mai. During this time we will interview village leaders (headmen,
pastors, shamen, Sahamit School teachers, and a variety of village
elders). Students attend a number of village events and ceremonies.
We will also visit Hmong and Lisu villages, at least ten Karen villages,
and have the opportunity for short home stays with village people.
Through interviews with tribal leaders and village residents and
the reading of written materials concerning the Sgaw Karen, students
will gain an understanding of the Karen people. The Karen are facing
rapid cultural assimilation due to pressures from the dominant culture
and social institutions of Thailand, and from trends toward global
homogenization shaped by increasing activity of multinational corporations
and the spread of Western culture to previously more isolated peoples
of the world. Students taking this class will live near the Sgaw
Karen village of Tee Mae Ker Lah, situated 120 miles northwest of
Chiang Mai (Thailand's second largest city).
After having taken three courses in Chiang Mai (Thai Language, Thai
Culture and Society, and the Internship Course), students will understand
the larger Thai society that is attempting to assimilate the Karen
people. During the month of April students will take up residency
in the village of Tee Mae Ker Lah, located 120 miles into the foothills
of the Himalayas. During this month students will gather empirical
data on Karen family, religious, political, economic, and educational
institutions. They will also attempt to understand how changes within
the larger Thai society and world have affected the lives of people
in the village.
in the village, students will receive group and individualized instruction
as they write an ethnographic paper on the structure, functions,
and changes that have taken place in one of the following social
institutions: family, religion, or education. In gathering information
for these papers, students will have group access and personal interviews
(assisted by interpreters) with village leaders, pastors, educators,
and the village headman and tribal elders.