Evon Z. Vogt, Fieldwork among the Maya: The Harvard Chiapas Project (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994).
There is a moment in Evon Vogt’s Fieldwork Among the Maya: Reflections on the Harvard Chiapas Project when Paul Lazersfeld—the sociologist famous for his methodological rigor—passes a stack of books sitting on Vogt’s desk on the Chukchee of northeastern Siberia and remarks: “My God, you anthropologists know a lot. You don’t know how you found it all out, but you certainly know a lot” (47). How Vogt knows what he knows—and more generally, the methods through which anthropologists come to know other cultures—is the motivating question in this “autobiography of his fieldwork.” Fieldwork Among the Maya traces the impact of Vogt’s participation in multiple interdisciplinary, collaborative ethnographic projects— including W. Lloyd Warner’s study of social stratification in the Midwest and Clyde Kluckhohn’s investigation of values in five cultures in Ramah, New Mexico—on the development and operation of the Harvard Chiapas Project. Written fifteen years after the “official” conclusion of the project, Vogt’s memoir traverses, in a personal and intimate fashion, over forty years of tumultuous transformation in anthropology.Continue reading