The village of Ek’Balam is located approximately 300 meters from the ceremonial center of the archaeological zone by the same name. The ruins at Ek’Balam are some of the most impressive pre-Columbian stuccoes found in the Maya World. In 1994, the archaeological zone opened to the public, and since then this village of around 350 residents has experienced numerous changes. While residents have always had ties to the regional economy, the opening of the archaeological zone represented their first extended engagement with the tourism industry. A major agent of change in Ek’Balam is a community-based tourism project, funded primarily by an agency of the Mexican government. In 2001, they began searching Mexico for good locations to implement community-based development projects. Ek’Balam became their pilot project, and since then proyectos (projects) have come and gone as quickly and as often as tourists.

I began my research in this village in 2004, and since then have gathered large amounts of data on a variety of topics. My dissertation research focused on questions of economic sustainability and on how this group of people negotiates and maneuvers through a web of social programs, tourists, and the like to live their daily lives.


The following links outline my broader interests and research plan: