Welcome to Wake Forest in Chiapas! This blog has been created for family, friends, and anyone who is interested to follow the daily adventures of a group of 13 students, 2 professors, and 1 program assistant as we explore the region of Chiapas, Mexico.  This trip is no vacation, but rather an Anthropology and Entrepreneurship class named “Free Trade, Fair Trade: Independent Entrepreneurs in the Global Market”.  This field based seminar compares the barriers to market participation experienced by independent entrepreneurs in the US and developing countries, particularly Mexico. With a goal of assisting certain world communities with Fair Trade marketing, free trade policies will be contrasted with fair trade practices, as social science and business students share their perspectives concerning why so many independent producers have trouble succeeding in a globalizing world.   In the process, we will explore the meaning of the underlying ideology of both American and indigenous culture, the motives and forms of entrepreneurship and micro business in each, and the origins and exploits of corporatocracy.

Seminar goals

  • provide students of business and economics with an anthropological understanding of economics and economic behavior grounded in cultural and social organization
  • provide social science students with an understanding of the realities of market economics
  • to gain a better understanding of the motivations that drive collective, family and individual entrepreneurship in Chiapas
  • examine the avenues that exist to help open up markets to independent and collective entrepreneurs, paying special attention to cultural barriers to participation that may exist
  • use our analysis and field consultation  to help certain communities establish markets for their products, including demystifying the process of Fair Trade certification for producers
  • set up the mechanism by which projects can continue after the course is taught

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