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What does travel do? Alberto Aveleyra talks for PEN

By Lucina Kathmann

What is travel? What do we think it does for us? What have people throughout the ages thought it was? We spend a lot of time and money dreaming of it, making plans, traveling. We even pay cheerfully for our children to travel. Why?

“The Anthropology of Travel”
Tue, Feb 4, 6pm
Bellas Artes
100 pesos
152-0614 or

A newcomer to the PEN Winter Series lecture circuit, Alberto Aveleyra will talk about “The Anthropology of Travel.” Aveleyra, a young anthropologist-mexicanist and tour guide who has been talking about specifically Mexican topics Wednesdays in the Sala Quetzal, will talk about this universal question on Tuesday, February 4, at 6pm in Bellas Artes using source material which spans many centuries and cultures.

Born in Mexico City or, as he frequently says, Tenochtitlán, Aveleyra started his studies in international relations at the UNAM but soon moved to anthropology and philosophy. Upon graduating, looking for opportunities in the larger world in a field almost entirely dominated by academia, he began to work in theoretical aspects of tourism though the United Nations’ world tourist organization. This theoretically- minded institution uses frontier elements of social science such as chaos theory and systems theory in the interest of tourism, destination management, marketing etc. Aveleyra finished a master’s degree in Europe with this organization and then spent a year in Chiapas through the same UN institution, working on a model for sustainable tourism there.

In 2004 he began an “anthropological experiment” called Artesanos del Tiempo, a research institute, an NGO and a business all at once, an effort to put his theoretical and practical work together. Artesanos uses archeology and anthropology to help reconcile Latin America with its diverse roots. In 2005 it organized a conference on Heritage and Tourism in San Miguel de Allende, the town that Aveleyra calls home whenever he is not called away to someplace else.

San Miguel PEN is one of about 150 centers of PEN International, the largest worldwide association of writers, dedicated to the promotion of literature and freedom of expression everywhere. The 100-peso donation at the PEN winter lecture series funds San Miguel PEN’s interventions all year long, all over the world—and your ticket entitles you to a free glass of wine or other beverage if you dine next door at Vivoli after the show. The talks are back in Bellas Artes, where they have taken place for over 30 years, except for the recent three years when the building was closed for renovations.

For more information, or 152-0614.


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