Kansas University announced Tuesday that two faculty members have won grants through the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Programs for 2003-2004.
Brent Metz, lecturer and assistant director of the KU Center of Latin American Studies, and Hagith Sivan, associate professor of history, won the awards.
Metz will research influences of contemporary identity politics in Central America. He will work several months during 2003 and 2004 in the tri-border region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, researching the varying character of the Ch'orti' Maya ethnic revitalization movement. Ch'orti' (pronounced chore-TEE) is one of about 30 Mayan languages that have nearly disappeared.
Some indigenous peoples in the former Ch'orti'-speaking region are using the language as a source of unity and activism, while others use racial and cultural discrimination or the recuperation of stolen lands as a source of unity. Metz will use his research to introduce his Latin American studies students to the complexities of contemporary indigenous identity politics and to publish studies on indigenous identity and rights.
Sivan will research the ancient roots of the present-day Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Sivan will spend the 2003-04 academic year in Israel to integrate recent archaeological data from the Caesarea Martima site, the ancient Roman capital of Palestine, with literary-historical texts from the fourth through seventh centuries. Sivan plans to examine modes of coexistence and conflict resolution in a multi-cultured and complex landscape. Sivan is working on a book to be titled "Conflicts and Concord: A History of Palestine in Late Antiquity."