Victor Garcia, director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute (MARTI), presented “Continuing the Ángel Palerm Tradition: Ethnographic Field Schools, Ethnography, and Latino Student Recruitment and Retention” at the 110th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, held in Montreal, QC, Canada, November 16–20, 2011
The paper addresses an innovative ethnographic field school, Casa Ángel Palerm, established in one of the largest Latino communities in the country in Dallas, Texas, to recruit and retain Latino students at the university. Casa Ángel Palerm was funded from 1999–2004 by the U.S. Department of Education’s FIPSE Program and made a significant contribution to transferring successfully Latino students in the Dallas County Community College District to universities in and around the Dallas area. Specifically, the paper describes the field school and the pedagogy employed in teaching ethnography to Latino students and in familiarizing them with educational issues in their community. It also discusses the intellectual tradition behind the field school, the Ángel Palerm School of Anthropology in Mexico, which emphasizes in situ research using a field school rooted in community to train students and solve community problems.
The use of ethnographic field schools, ethnography, and cultural studies to increase the number of Latino students at the university has been published in articles by Garcia and his colleagues, as listed on the MARTI website. A related book manuscript, New Challenges for Community Colleges: Retention and the Transfer of Latino Students to the University, by Garcia and Bobby C. Alexander, a colleague at the University of Texas at Dallas, is under publication consideration by the Edwin Mellen Press and in its final phase of external review.