Chapter 4 Discussion Questions and Suggested Activities
1. What were the roles and the rules to which a model migrant wife in Calakmul was expected to conform? To what extent did Selena’s behavior adhere to this model?
2. What were the family goals migrants and their wives said they hoped to achieve? Why did Calakmuleños value these goals? What were the obstacles to achieving these goals?
What sorts of family goals are you familiar with? Do any of these require travel? What roles are spouses expected to play in achieving those goals? How much flexibility do spouses have in carrying out these roles?
1. Create a list of all the items you would want in your own kitchen. Then, use an internet search to create a kitchen budget. How much would it cost to furnish your own kitchen? How long do you think it would take to build the necessary savings to purchase such a kitchen?
2. Explore the graphics on this website, the Observatory of Economic Complexity. Use the information to characterize the trade relationships that the United States and Mexico have with the world and with each other. Some questions you might ask include: What items does the United States most commonly export (name five), and to what extent are those goods exported to Mexico? What items does the United States most commonly import and to what extent are those goods imported from Mexico? Contrast the answers to these questions by placing Mexico at the center of the analysis.
3. How important are remittances to Mexico and other countries? There a few ways to answer this question. Use this website to identify how much money is moving between Mexico and the United States in the form of remittances. Notice how people also send remittances from Mexico to the United States! Use this website to contrast the importance of remittances to Mexico’s national economy with the country’s oil production and other sources of income.
4. The Mexican movie Espiral or Spiral tells the tale of migration from the perspective of women in a town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. So many men have migrated from this fictional community, the movie opens with scene of an Easter play in which the only person available to play Jesus is a young woman. See how migration affects a young man and woman and their possible marriage. [Available through YouTube streaming and for DVD purchase.]