Laura Bathurst, Ph.D.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and Spanish (May 1997)
Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley
McNair Project: Tarascans and the Fourth World (1996)
Mentor: Harald E. L. Prins, Ph.D.
The struggle of indigenous groups for their existence within the confines of a dominant state is the result of centuries of colonialism. Native groups functioning as pockets within nations (also known as the Fourth World) have adopted diverse strategies which allow them to retain a distinct cultural identity. The Tarascans of Michoacan, Mexico, are one example of the complex cultural dynamic inherent in a struggle for cultural survival amid invaders.