Intercultural Translation in Education: the case of Iknal at the Maya Intercultural University of Quintana Roo, Mexico


The purpose of my summer research was to understand the processes of translation whereby the Maya Intercultural University of Quintana Roo (UIMQROO) proposed a hybrid tutoring system through the reconceptualization of the Yucatec Maya concept of iknal. The first part of my summer research included visits and interviews with national governmental representatives from the General Coordination for Intercultural and Bilingual Education (CGEIB) and the National Association for Intuitions of Higher Education (ANUIES) in Mexico City. These interviews were designed to understand the uniqueness of the processes set up by UIMQROO as well as to comprehend the international and national contexts of educational policies regarding the replication of tutoring programs in Mexico. The second part was composed of a three-week visit to the university with the purpose of conducting semi-structured interviews with students, professors, and administrative personnel about their understandings and experiences of the tutoring program called iknal. Moreover, I conducted participant observations of the university immersion program and the first two weeks of classes of the school year 2016-2017. Through this experience, I began to understand how iknal transcends the conventional notion of tutoring by cultivating proximity relations among participants in and outside the university. Looking at the Maya philosophical ground of iknal allows questioning an understanding of tutoring based solely on the student-professor relationship and watching the system of relational dispositions between students, professors, staff, and community members in the co-production of knowledge. I will use the findings of the Tinker Field Research Travel experience to write my dissertation proposal to be evaluated by my committee members during Fall 2016. 

Gabriela Borge
Publication date: 
August 27, 2016
Publication type: 
Student Research