Latin American Studies The Contemporary Maya
by
Paul Eiss
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0049

Introduction

Any consideration of the subject of the “contemporary Maya” must begin by recognizing that the people grouped under that rubric are remarkably diverse, including speakers of various Maya languages, from several countries of origin (Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize), and characterized by different ways of life, occupations, and religions. While some within that group self-identify as ethnically or culturally “Mayan,” many others do not label themselves as such, identifying themselves more strongly by locality, language, nationality, class, or other ethnic categories—even, in some cases, specifically rejecting the notion that they are “Mayan” or “indigenous.” Notwithstanding such cautions, though, “contemporary Maya” is a useful term as a political and social descriptor. In political terms, the term evokes late 20th- and early 21st-century experiences and movements that not only provide a basis of comparison of distinct Maya-speaking groups but have also led to an increasing sense of Mayanness as a meaningful form of cultural and political identity. In social terms, “contemporary Maya” also serves as a marker for the ways in which throughout the Maya region, and in a far-flung Mayan diaspora, Maya-speaking and Maya-descended populations confront challenges—economic, social, political, and cultural—generally associated with globalization. This bibliography attends to the wide scope of differences that fall within the term “contemporary Maya” by highlighting the regional and linguistic differences between contemporary Maya-speaking or Maya-descended groups. Historical background is emphasized as well, both as a corrective to any tendency to posit an essential “traditional Maya” society and as a necessary element in understanding experiences and movements that have emerged over time and reflected explicit engagements with history as well as responses to contemporary conditions. On this basis, we shall consider examples of scholarship pertaining to several aspects of contemporary Mayan experience: for example, politics, work, ethnicity and gender, religion, language, and heritage; also covered are social movements such as the pan-Mayan movement in Guatemala and Mexican Zapatismo, as well as the movements of large numbers of contemporary Maya as migrants both within and beyond their countries of origin. In addition there are studies on global debates over human rights and the role of NGOs to transnational political organizing by, or in connection to, the Maya. Finally, we shall consider the testimonial literature authored by Maya speakers and its importance for literary studies.

Historical Background

There is an extensive body of historical scholarship on the entire Maya area in all historical periods. Social and political historians have provided important regional studies of the transformations of state and society from the independence period forward, with particular emphasis on the implications of civil war and liberalism in the early and mid-19th century, the rise of export-oriented agricultural production and the consolidation of oligarchical capitalist states in the late 19th century, and social mobilizations, revolutionary and reform movements, and state repression in the 20th century. Ethnohistorians and anthropologically informed historians have explored the implications of such large-scale processes for Mayan populations at the community level, emphasizing transformations in ethnic relations, communal organization, and the particular strategies and quandaries of indigenous workers and indigenous community leaders and elites.

Guatemala

In the wake of the civil war and state-sponsored repression of Mayan populations, historians of Guatemala have dedicated particular attention to the makings of Guatemala’s particularly stark regime of state and ladino (non-Mayan) economic, racial, and political domination over indigenous populations. At the same time, most recent historical studies do not portray Mayan populations as passive victims of domination but emphasize the complex ways in which indigenous workers and community leaders actively responded to, or contended with, the difficult situations they faced. Scholars have explored the implications of the rise of the coffee export economy, state consolidation, and the appropriation of indigenous lands and labor (including various forms indigenous forced labor, from debt peonage to vagrancy laws) from the late 19th century (particularly following the 1871 rise to power of Justo Rufino Barrios) through the regime of Jorge Ubico in the 1930s. McCreery 1994 does so in a broad historical study of agrarian relations in rural Guatemala, while Reeves 2006 focuses on state formation, labor, and ethnic relations and conflicts in southwestern Guatemala; Carmack 1995 and Grandin 2000 provide regional studies of Momostenango and Quetzaltenango, respectively. Handy 1994 explores rural indigenous mobilizations and land and labor reforms during the administrations of Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz from 1945–1954, during the so-called ten years of spring. Grandin 2004 and Wilkinson 2004 have explored the implications of the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Arbenz and installation of US-backed military regimes from 1954 forward—including the extensive targeting of indigenous communities and activists under the rubric of anti-Communism campaigns. Lovell 2000 provides a general introduction to contemporary Guatemala.

  • Carmack, Robert. Rebels of Highland Guatemala: The Quiché Mayas of Momostenango. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

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    Long durée ethnohistory of Momostenango, a K’iche’ region from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Focuses on the changing relations between indigenous communities and the state, including discussion of modes of production, land, kinship, Maya-ladino relations, and power relations.

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    • Grandin, Greg. The Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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      Important historical study of K’iche’ communities in the vicinity of Quetzaltenango from independence through the early 20th century. Emphasizes the effects of the rise of coffee production for export and on the contradictory position of indigenous elites as they sought to both profit from the expansion of commercial capitalism and act as mediators between their communities and landowners and government officials.

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      • Grandin, Greg. The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War. Updated ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

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        Study of the implications of expanded United States involvement in Guatemala from the 1950s through the 1970s, with a focus on the struggles of rural indigenous (especially Q’eqchi) and ladino political organizers of the Guatemalan Worker’s Party (PGT) and their experiences of state repression.

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        • Handy, Jim. Revolution in the Countryside: Rural Conflict and Agrarian Reform in Guatemala, 1944–1954. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

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          Study of agrarian reform programs and rural conflicts involving subsistence-based indigenous communities, landowners, military officers, and government officials during the Guatemalan Revolution of 1944–1954.

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          • Lovell, W. George. A Beauty that Hurts: Life and Death in Guatemala. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.

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            A brief and readable introduction to contemporary Guatemala: includes historical background, as well as discussion of the civil war, indigenous movements, violence, and descriptions of contemporary Maya life.

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            • McCreery, David. Rural Guatemala, 1760–1940. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.

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              Historical study of the transformation of rural Guatemala and the effect of export-oriented production on indigenous landholding and the commodification of labor; emphasizes the continuing importance of extra-economic forms of coercion through the mid-20th century.

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              • Reeves, René. Ladinos with Ladinos, Indians with Indians: Land, Labor and Regional Ethnic Conflict in the Making of Guatemala. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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                A study of state formation and labor in rural communities in southwestern Guatemala in the 19th century. Focuses on the indigenous and ladino laborers and their relations with each other, landowners, and state officials.

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                • Wilkinson, Daniel. Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala, American Encounters/Global Interactions. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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                  Study of the aftermath and implications of the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz through the early 1980s, focused on the use of state-sponsored terrorism to target insurgents and the communities that supported them in coffee-producing areas of western Guatemala. Based largely on interviews.

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                  Yucatán

                  The historiography on Yucatán considers the history of Mayan ethnicity and social identity (see Gabbert 2004) as well as the implications of the Yucatán Caste War for ethnic relations and the situation of Yucatec Maya speakers both in eastern rebel areas (see Sullivan 1991 and Dumond 1997; for the rest of the peninsula see Rugeley 2009). Wells 1985 and Joseph 1988 discuss the rise of the late-19th-century monocultural production of henequen on haciendas for purchase by international cordage companies, as well as the drastic implications for northwestern Mayan communities that lost access to communal lands and were forced into hacienda labor via debt peonage during the Porfiriato. As Joseph 1988 has discussed, however, the Mexican Revolution, and especially revolutionary leaders who had emerged in Yucatan by 1915, introduced radical labor and land reforms that ended debt peonage and began a process of challenge to the domination of the henequen haciendas, culminating in land reforms decreed by President Lázaro Cárdenas in the late 1930s. For a history of these agrarian reforms, see Fallaw 2001.

                  • Dumond, Don E. The Machete and the Cross: Campesino Rebellion in Yucatan. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.

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                    Lengthy study of the Caste War and resulting violence and rebellions in eastern Yucatán, from 1847–1903.

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                    • Fallaw, Ben. Cárdenas Compromised: The Failure of Reform in Postrevolutionary Yucatán. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.

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                      An important social and political history of agrarian and other reforms under the regime of President Lázaro Cárdenas in the 1930s, with particular focus on the ejido system of collective agriculture instituted on henequen haciendas.

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                      • Gabbert, Wolfgang. Becoming Maya: Ethnicity and Social Inequality in Yucatán since 1500. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2004.

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                        Far-ranging survey of the complex and changing ways in which Maya speakers self-identified and were identified or categorized by others, from 1500 to the present. Principally based on a thorough reading of the historiography, as well as some archival research, it emphasizes the dominance of socioeconomic, juridical, or place-based—rather than racial—forms of identification. Informative discussions of language and regional dress.

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                        • Joseph, G. M. Revolution from Without: Yucatan, Mexico, and the United States, 1880–1924. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1988.

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                          A classic historical study of the political economy of henequen monoculture and its impact on Yucatec populations of northwestern Yucatán. Includes discussion of indigenous debt peonage on henequen haciendas, as well as an extended analysis of land, labor, educational, and other reforms aimed at indigenous workers and rural communities during the period of the Mexican Revolution and in its immediate aftermath.

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                          • Rugeley, Terry. Rebellion Now and Forever: Mayas, Hispanics and Caste War Violence in Yucatan, 1800–1880. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.

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                            A wide-ranging study of the implications of the Yucatán Caste War and associated forms of political violence for Yucatecan society throughout the peninsula and for processes of state formation, social relations and ethnicity, and the transformation of hacienda society.

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                            • Sullivan, Paul R. Unfinished Conversations: Mayas and Foreigners between Two Wars. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

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                              An insightful and beautifully written ethnohistorical study of the relations between the Maya of Quintana Roo (descendants of Caste War rebels) and foreigners from Mexico and the United States. Chiefly focuses on the complex relationships and negotiations between anthropologists, archeologists, and the Maya in the 1930s. The study is enriched by the author’s ethnographic work on millenarian prophecy among contemporary inhabitants of the region.

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                              • Wells, Allen. Yucatan’s Gilded Age: Haciendas, Henequen and International Harvester, 1860–1915. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1985.

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                                Traces the rise of the henequen hacienda economy and especially of indigenous debt peonage during the Porfiriato in northwestern Yucatán. Considers the role of the US company International Harvester, and other cordage companies, in the consolidation of henequen monoculture.

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                                Chiapas

                                Like historians of Yucatán and Guatemala, historians of Chiapas have provided a detailed regional background to social and political circumstances of Mayan populations in the region, and especially to the entrenched power of regional landowning elites and the marginalization and exploitation of highland Maya groups. Benjamin 1996 traces the consolidation of coffee agriculture and regional landowning elites in the 19th and early 20th centuries, while Collier 2005 explores social and political developments of the mid- to late-20th century that contributed to the Zapatista rebellion; more focused studies of state formation (see Lewis 2005) and of land tenure and conflicts (see Bobrow-Strain 2007) provide highly nuanced understandings of ethnic relations and the making and unmaking of regimes of political domination.

                                • Benjamin, Thomas. A Rich Land, a Poor People: Politics and Society in Modern Chiapas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.

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                                  A detailed regional, political, and social history of Chiapas from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Focuses on the rise of regional landowning and commercial elites and their largely successful attempts to maintain power and control over land and indigenous labor during and after the Mexican Revolution and several modernizing regimes.

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                                  • Bobrow-Strain, Aaron. Intimate Enemies: Landowners, Power, and Violence in Chiapas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

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                                    Deeply researched archival and ethnographic study of landowners and land tenure in northeast Chiapas in the decades leading up to the Zapatista movement and in the rebellion’s aftermath. Tracks challenges to landowners in the years leading up to the rebellion and their stark loss of power thereafter.

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                                    • Collier, George Allen, and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas. Oakland, CA: Food First, 2005.

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                                      Useful historical background to the Zapatista movement, focusing on the dynamics of agrarian reform, evangelization, oil and agricultural development, and the emergence of rural social, political, and guerrilla movements in the decades leading up to the Zapatista rebellion.

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                                      • Lewis, Stephen E. The Ambivalent Revolution: Forging State and Nation in Chiapas, 1910–1945. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

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                                        A close study of social reforms and state formation in Chiapas and the 1930s, especially focusing on the federal Ministry of Public Education (SEP), its efforts at establishing schools in highland Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities, and the effects of such programs in training a future generation of local indigenous powerbrokers and bosses.

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                                        Belize

                                        There is relatively less historical research on the recent history of Belize’s Mayan populations, comprising the descendants of Yucatec refugees from the Caste War and Mopan and Q’eqchi’ from Guatemala, who also migrated to Belize in the 19th century. But one important exception is Wainwright 2008.

                                        • Wainwright, Joel. Decolonizing Development: Colonial Power and the Maya. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008.

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                                          Joins the methods of geography, history, and cultural studies, in a study of rural Mayan communities (Mopan and Q’eqchi’) of southern Belize. Explores the continuities between colonial patterns of political and economic exploitation and development policies. Traces efforts by Mayan communities to mount legal and political defenses of communal forests from logging concessions, in part through documenting their communities and histories in The Maya Atlas (see The Maya Atlas).

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                                          Anthologies

                                          Due to extensive scholarly interest in the contemporary Maya among anthropologists, historians, political scientists, literary scholars, and others, a wide variety of scholarly anthologies have been published. As far as anthologies dealing with the entire Maya region, Monaghan and Edmonson 2000 is the most useful and comprehensive. Several other anthologies are comparative in nature, bringing together scholarship on Guatemala, Chiapas, and Yucatán. Most are marked by a clear thematic focus, whether on issues of representation and history (see Watanabe and Fischer 2004), state formation and material culture (see Eiss 2008), human rights (see Pitarch Ramón, et al. 2008), and other topics.

                                          • Eiss, Paul K., ed. “Constructing the Maya: Ethnicity, State Formation and Material Culture in Yucatán, Chiapas, and Guatemala.” Ethnohistory 55.4 (2008).

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                                            Six anthropologists and historians provide historical and cultural studies of Maya identity and cultural politics in the context of state formation. Emphasizes the importance of material culture as well. Includes fine synthetic commentary and introduction by John Watanabe, contextualizing the essays in relation to the ethnographic literature.

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                                            • Monaghan, John, and Barbara Edmonson. Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians. Vol. 6, Ethnology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.

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                                              The most important and comprehensive resource for the entire Maya region. Synthetic chapters discuss the Maya in the context of general discussions of the anthropological literature of indigenous Mesoamerican social organization and community, religion, and political organizing and mobilization post-1960. Regionally focused essays include fine studies by leading scholars of the Maya of Chiapas, Yucatán, and Guatemala since the 1960s.

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                                              • Pitarch Ramón, Pedro, Shannon Speed, and Xochitl Leyva Solano. Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Cultural Contentions, and Moral Engagements. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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                                                A fine comparative and theoretically informed collection of essays focused on human rights issues in Guatemala and Chiapas. Collection emphasizes the intersection of local with national and transnational or global conceptions of human rights. Also features an emphasis on understandings of human rights specific to Mayan populations, as well as to the national government, the Catholic Church, and NGOs.

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                                                • Watanabe, John M., and Edward F. Fischer, eds. Pluralizing Ethnography: Comparison and Representation in Maya Cultures, Histories, and Identities. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, 2004.

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                                                  Eight Maya specialists assess the contrasting historical circumstances and emerging cultural futures of Maya in Mexico and Guatemala (with greatest emphasis on Chiapas, and highland Guatemala). Emphases on the politics of language, political discourse, transnationalism and the effects of globalization, and the politics of ethnographic representation.

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                                                  Guatemala

                                                  Several excellent anthropological and historical anthologies focused on Guatemala explore the history of relations between the state and Guatemalan Mayan populations (see Smith and Moors 1990) as well as the manifestations and significance of violence during the civil war (see Carmack 1988) and in its wake (see Little and Smith 2009 and O’Neill and Thomas 2011). Fischer and Brown 1996 provides a fine collection of essays focused on aspects of Maya cultural activism, while the essays in Loucky and Moors 2000 consider aspects of the Guatemalan Mayan “diaspora”—typically composed of refugees from the political violence—in various locations.

                                                  • Carmack, Robert M. Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.

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                                                    An important and classic collection of essays by scholars of Guatemala documenting the campaign of state terror and genocide carried out by the Guatemalan military in and against indigenous communities. Emphasizes local studies and personal experiences and accounts; includes discussion of situation of refugees both internal to Guatemala and in refugee camps in Mexico.

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                                                    • Fischer, Edward F., and R. McKenna Brown. Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

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                                                      Fourteen essays on the pan-Mayan movement in Guatemala, cultural politics, politics of language, Mayan intellectuals, and Mayanist appeals to or appropriations of Mayan history, culture, dress, and pre-Hispanic glyphs. Includes several essays by Mayan authors who are both scholars and active in the movement: for example, Demetrio Cojti Cuxil, Raxche’ (Demetrio Rodríguez Guaján), and Enrique Sam Colop.

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                                                      • Little, Walter E., and Timothy J. Smith. Mayas in Postwar Guatemala: Harvest of Violence Revisited. Contemporary American Indian Studies. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009.

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                                                        Inspired by Carmack’s earlier volume, this recent collection of ethnographic scholarship revisits Mayan experiences of and reactions to violence and internal conflict in the wake of the 1996 peace accords. Essays highlight the diversity of experiences in different communities in daily life and at work, and includes discussion of religious life in the context of the Maya spirituality movement.

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                                                        • Loucky, James, and Marilyn M. Moors, eds. The Maya Diaspora: Guatemalan Roots, New American Lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.

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                                                          Excellent and comprehensive collection of essays surveying various aspects of the diaspora (migration and displacement) of various Mayan populations from Guatemala.

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                                                          • O’Neill, Kevin Lewis, and Kedron Thomas. Securing the City: Neoliberalism, Space, and Insecurity in Postwar Guatemala. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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                                                            A collection of essays on urban Guatemala focusing on neoliberalism, the politics of security, violence, and urban space. Includes chapters on Maya retail vendors, street vendors, and structural violence in rural communities.

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                                                            • Smith, Carol A., and Marilyn M. Moors, eds. Guatemalan Indians and the State, 1540 to 1988. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.

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                                                              A classic, comprehensive set of essays by historians and anthropologists tracing the relationship between indigenous populations and the state in Guatemala from the 16th century forward (albeit with a primary focus on the 19th and 20th centuries). Explores changing configurations of community, class, ethnicity, politics, and indigenous resistance. Effective synthetic and contextualizing introductory essays.

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                                                              Yucatán

                                                              In contrast to the anthologies focused on Guatemala, several dedicated to Yucatán focus on the distinctive aspects of Yucatec Mayan identity (see Castañeda and Fallaw 2004) and the social and cultural implications of modernity and globalization (see Terry 2010 and Baklanoff and Moseley 2008), including the place of consumption practices in local and regional identity (see Ayora Díaz, et al. 2007).

                                                              • Ayora Díaz, Steffan Igor, and Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas. Globalización y consumo de la cultura en Yucatán. Mérida: Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas, 2007.

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                                                                A collection of essays by anthropologists and historians considering the effect of globalization on consumption practices in Yucatán. Includes a discussion of consumption in the context of festive and religious practice in Mayan communities.

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                                                                • Baklanoff, Eric N., and Edward H. Moseley. Yucatán in an Era of Globalization. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.

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                                                                  Collection of essays by historians and anthropologists surveying the implications of globalization in Yucatán. Includes essays on important economic shifts, maquiladoras (for instance, textile mills) established in rural communities in the former henequen zone, and recent social changes in predominantly Mayan communities in the vicinity of Cancún, including the effects of migration and tourism.

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                                                                  • Castañeda, Quetzil, and Ben Fallaw, eds. Special Issue: The Maya Identity of Yucatan, 1500–1935: Re-Thinking Ethnicity, History and Anthropology. Journal of Latin American Anthropology 9.1 (Spring 2004).

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                                                                    A collection of essays by anthropologists on Mayan identity (and the lack of explicit self-identification as Mayas) from the 16th century to the present. Includes analyses of the Maya under colonial rule, the Yucatán Caste War, and indigenous education in the revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods, as well as several commentaries.

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                                                                    • Terry, Edward Davis. Peripheral Visions: Politics, Society, and the Challenges of Modernity in Yucatan. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2010.

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                                                                      Collection of essays by historians exploring struggles over modernization in Yucatán from the 19th through the late 20th century; includes essays on labor and land reforms aimed at indigenous workers and communities, as well as an examination of the decline of henequen and the collective ejido system.

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                                                                      Chiapas

                                                                      In the wake of the Zapatista rebellion, several anthologies of studies authored by anthropologists, historians, and others have been published that focus on Mayan populations of the region. Womack 1999 provides an excellent selection of primary sources as a backdrop to Zapatismo, while several collections, including Marcos and Ponce de León 2001, collect documents, writings, testimonies, and communiqués of the Zapatistas themselves. Rus, et al. 2003 provides a fine comparative set of essays on the regional manifestations and effects of Zapatismo. Several authors have considered the issues of women’s rights and human rights in indigenous communities in the context of Zapatismo and its aftermath; Hernández Castillo 1998 and Speed, et al. 2006 explore women’s rights, experiences, and political struggles, while Pitarch Ramón, et al. 2008 provides a fine collection of essays that take a general and comparative approach to human rights in Guatemala and Chiapas.

                                                                      • Hernández Castillo, Rosalva Aída, ed. La otra palabra: Mujeres y violencia en Chiapas, antes y después de Acteal. Mexico City: Centro de Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 1998.

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                                                                        A collection of essays dealing with the effects of political violence on Maya women in Chiapas, focused largely on the 1997 Acteal massacre (in which forty-five political refugees, most of them women and children, were killed) and its aftermath. Includes essays on the violence, as well as testimony from the women affected from before and after the massacre.

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                                                                        • Marcos, and Juana Ponce de León. Our Word Is Our Weapon: Selected Writings. New York: Seven Stories, 2001.

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                                                                          Extensive collection of documents from the Zapatistas, in English translation. Includes a wide variety of statements to and from indigenous participants in the movement. Also offers documents and testimony (notably from Subcomandante Marcos) that explicitly connect the movement to experiences and conversations in indigenous communities and indigenous philosophy and traditions of storytelling, among other things.

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                                                                          • Pitarch Ramón, Pedro, Shannon Speed, and Xochitl Leyva Solano. Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Cultural Contentions, and Moral Engagements. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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                                                                            A fine comparative and theoretically informed collection of essays focused on human rights issues in Guatemala and Chiapas. Collection emphasizes the intersection of local with national and transnational or global conceptions of human rights. Also features an emphasis on understandings of human rights specific to Mayan populations, as well as to the national government, the Catholic Church, and NGOs.

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                                                                            • Rus, Jan, Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, and Shannan L. Mattiace, eds. Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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                                                                              Anthology of essays by US and Mexican scholars evaluating the different regional histories of political struggles and organizations in indigenous communities in Chiapas, before, during, and in the wake of the Zapatista movement. Very substantial collection with fine, deeply researched case studies.

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                                                                              • Speed, Shannon, Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, and Lynn Stephen, eds. Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

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                                                                                Anthology of essays by Mexican and US scholars relating to women’s issues and feminist political struggles in the context of indigenous participation in the Zapatista movement. Includes essays on women’s rights, strategies, and activism, as well documents and speeches relevant to the place of women in the EZLN and Zapatista positions on women’s issues.

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                                                                                • Womack, John. Rebellion in Chiapas: An Historical Reader. New York: New Press, 1999.

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                                                                                  A collection of primary-source documents from the 16th through late 20th centuries. Sources include documents relating to the following: Bartolomé de las Casas and colonial revolts, 19th-century uprisings, the Mexican Revolution, lumber camps and coffee plantations, and more recent documents relating to evangelization, liberation theology, peasant movements, and the Zapatista movement. Includes a historical introduction by the editor.

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                                                                                  Labor and Livelihood

                                                                                  While there is a long tradition of ethnographic work focused on the place of subsistence agriculture in Mayan communities, recent studies of contemporary Maya explore the complex ways in which labor and local economies have changed with the insertion of indigenous populations into national and global networks of commodity production and consumption, under the conditions characteristic of contemporary globalization.

                                                                                  Guatemala

                                                                                  The most extensive studies of work among contemporary Mayan populations have been conducted in Guatemala. Nash 1958, a study of industrialization in one highland town, is in some ways a forerunner of studies of contemporary labor conditions, as are historical studies of coffee agriculture in Guatemala. More recently, though, many studies have explored multiple emergent forms of work: from women’s textile production (see Elders 2000), to broccoli production for export (see Fischer and Benson 2006), to fair-trade coffee production (see Lyon 2010), to tailor shops and maquilas (see Goldin 2009), handicraft production, and factory and tourist sector work (see Little 2005), to the activities of an emergent class of Mayan entrepreneurs (see DeHart 2010). One major area of scholarship has explored the impact of the spread of Protestantism on work ideologies in Mayan communities. While Annis 1988 finds support for Weber’s classic theorization of the close relationship between the Protestant ethic and the entrenchment of capitalist ideology in highland communities, an exhaustive comparative study of the issue by Goldin 2009 finds no such connection.

                                                                                  • Annis, Sheldon. God and Production in a Mayan Town. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988.

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                                                                                    Study by a cultural geographer of the impact of the spread of evangelical Protestantism on a highland town. Argues for a version of Max Weber’s thesis on the Protestant work ethic: i.e., that conversion to Protestantism and acquisition of a Protestant ethic is encouraged by a shift from a traditional and subsistence-oriented Catholic social and cultural order to one penetrated by social relations of capitalist production (here in the context of weaving).

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                                                                                    • DeHart, Monica C. Ethnic Entrepreneurs: Identity and Development Politics in Latin America. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                      Explores the interlapping networks among indigenous community activism, NGOs, and capitalist entrepreneurial culture. Focuses on rural communities and development in highland Guatemala and also on US Latinos. Features a case study of one Mayan organization’s role encouraging a shift from maize agriculture to the production of cosmetics for export and marketing through Walmart. Relates these developments to changes in Mayan ethnic identity.

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                                                                                      • Elders, Tracy Bachrach. Silent Looms: Women and Production in a Guatemalan Town. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.

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                                                                                        Ethnographic study of the effects of capitalist and commercial development on the lives of female weavers of San Pedro Sacatepéquez. Based on fieldwork from the 1970s through the 1990s. Focuses on changing conditions of production, proletarianization, and entrepreneurial activity by women.

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                                                                                        • Fischer, Edward F., and Peter Benson. Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                          A study of the effects of globalization in Tecpan, Guatemala, focused largely on the transition from subsistence agriculture to increasing involvement of indigenous workers in the production of broccoli for export. Includes brief discussion of the consumption side of the commodity chain in the United States, as well as analysis of political conflicts and violence in the wake of neoliberal reforms.

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                                                                                          • Goldin, Liliana R. Global Maya: Work and Ideology in Rural Guatemala. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009.

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                                                                                            Deeply researched comparative study of work and ideology in four highland communities engaged in a variety of occupations, from tailor shops to maquilas. Considers religion in relation to work ideology as well, finding little evidence that the spread of Protestantism has led to a work ethic fostering capitalist development; rather, it has led to roughly equivalent participation in capitalist labor relations and ideology across the religious spectrum.

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                                                                                            • Little, Walter, ed. Special Issue: Maya Livelihoods in Guatemala’s Global Economy. Latin American Perspectives 32.5 (September 2005).

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                                                                                              Journal issue dedicated to globalization and Maya workers in Guatemala. Separate essays discuss handicraft vendors, export agriculture workers, and factory workers. Includes several synthetic and interpretive essays.

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                                                                                              • Lyon, Sarah. Coffee and Community: Maya Farmers and Fair-Trade Markets. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2010.

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                                                                                                An ethnographic study of an organic coffee cooperative in Guatemala and the producers, importers, roasters, and consumers involved in the fair trade network. Explores the possibilities and limits of collective action in the context of the fair trade movement.

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                                                                                                • Nash, Manning. Machine Age Maya: The Industrialization of a Guatemala Community. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958.

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                                                                                                  Ethnographic study of the highland K’iche’ community of Cantel, focusing on the implications of the establishment of an industrial textile mill in the late 19th century. Explores implications of industrial work for social and family life. Also argues for a successful adaptation of the mill to the norms and values of peasant society and the relative stability of traditional culture and social relations despite industrialization.

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                                                                                                  Yucatán and Belize

                                                                                                  While the literature from Yucatán and Belize is not as developed around the subject of work, studies such as Re Cruz 1996 and Wilk 1997 provide suggestive explorations of the impact of commercial expansion, wage labor, and labor migration on communities traditionally based on subsistence agriculture.

                                                                                                  • Re Cruz, Alicia. The Two Milpas of Chan Kom: A Study of Socioeconomic and Political Transformations in a Maya Community. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                    An ethnographic study of Chan Kom (of Redfieldian fame) focusing on the implications of contemporary economic developments—especially migration to Cancún for work and the resulting socioeconomic and ideological strategies adopted by inhabitants.

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                                                                                                    • Wilk, Richard R. Household Ecology: Economic Change and Domestic Life among the Kekchi Maya in Belize. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                      Ethnography of Kekchi Maya in southern Belize, which explores the implications of the encroachment of an expanding wage labor and cash economy on subsistence-based communities. Close and empirically rich study of households and domestic life, which also places contemporary family and subsistence strategies in historical context.

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                                                                                                      Politics and the State

                                                                                                      Earlier ethnographic studies often presented Mayan populations as living in “closed corporate communities” defined in part through their isolation from national and regional political structures. The last decades of anthropological and historical scholarship, however, have emphasized the complicated, extensive, and changing relationships of Mayan populations in Guatemala, Chiapas, and Yucatán with national and state governments.

                                                                                                      Guatemala

                                                                                                      In the literature on contemporary Guatemala, most ethnographic studies have focused on the state-sponsored violence of the civil war and its aftermath. While Stoll 1993 focuses on Ixil towns caught between the guerrillas and the government, Montejo 1999 and Manz 2005 provide extensive accounts of state-sponsored violence against indigenous communities and of the social effects of terror in particular communities. Sanford 2003 shows the process of documenting and reconstructing state violence in the context of the postwar peace process. Nelson 1999 and Nelson 2009 have explored the national cultural politics of Mayanness and race, ethnic relations, and the significance of state violence, in the years before and after the 1996 peace accords.

                                                                                                      • Manz, Beatriz. Paradise in Ashes: A Guatemalan Journey of Courage, Terror and Hope. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                        Account of the experiences of inhabitants of Santa María Tzejá, during and in the wake of a brutal campaign of military repression and atrocities. Includes discussion of the relations of inhabitants both with guerrillas and the Guatemalan Army, of the experiences of residents in exile in refugee camps in Mexico, and efforts toward the return and resettlement of the community.

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                                                                                                        • Montejo, Victor. Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                          An ethnographic study of the state-sponsored campaign of violence against indigenous communities, and Mayan social, cultural, and political responses to it. This account is distinguished by its author’s background—as a Maya from Jacaltenango, Guatemala, who experienced the violence firsthand and became a political refugee before eventually receiving doctoral training in the United States in anthropology.

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                                                                                                          • Nelson, Diane M. A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                            A study of Maya cultural activism in Guatemala from 1985 to 1998, especially focused on the years leading up to the 1992 quincentenary of the Spanish conquest. Explores struggles over Mayan identity and the relationship between Mayan intellectuals and activist scholars. Includes discussion of government and ladino attempts to control and marginalize both women and indigenous populations, whether through overt violence or jokes.

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                                                                                                            • Nelson, Diane M. Reckoning: The Ends of War in Guatemala. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                              Ethnographic exploration of cultural politics in Guatemala in the wake of the peace accords. Discusses interactions between Mayan communities, state agencies, NGOs, and activists, both Maya and ladino. Focuses on the postwar struggle to reckon with the experience and trauma of genocide. Includes discussions of mass graves, reparations, as well as films and carnivals, among other topics.

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                                                                                                              • Sanford, Victoria. Buried Secrets: Truth and Human Rights in Guatemala. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

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                                                                                                                A book about truth-telling and justice. Studies accounts of survivors and exhumations in the process of detailing human rights atrocities committed under military rule and social effects of terror and Guatemalan military’s scorched-earth policies. Combined with forensic evidence, there is a careful reconstruction of phases of state violence. Emphasizes the importance of retrieving memories and physical remains in the peace process.

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                                                                                                                • Stoll, David. Between Two Armies in the Ixil Towns of Guatemala. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                  A study of several Ixil towns in northern Guatemala. Stresses that indigenous populations did not side with right- or left-wing forces, but rather were caught between the contending violence of army and guerrillas. Contention between local political factions, in which different ladino elites allied with Ixil elders, exacerbated the violence. Discusses local support for the civil-military patrols, as well as evangelical Protestantism.

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                                                                                                                  Yucatán and Chiapas

                                                                                                                  Cancian 1994 explores the decline of communal autonomy and destabilization of political order in the highlands of Chiapas. Other anthropological and historical studies (Hernández Castillo 2001 and Stephen 2002) have explored the changing political relationships that eventually shaped the emergence of the Zapatista rebellion. Both the literature on Chiapas and especially studies of Yucatán, such as Eiss 2010, also study the incorporative political mechanisms through which state agencies such as official peasant unions and agricultural collectives (i.e., ejidos) established a framework for the control or subordination of indigenous working populations and, as Mattiace 2009 argues, diminished the appeal and effectiveness of political mobilization along ethnic lines. Castillo Cocom 2005 discusses the manipulation of Mayan identity politics by partisan political operatives of the PRI and the PAN.

                                                                                                                  • Cancian, Frank. The Decline of Community in Zinacantán: Economy, Public Life and Social Stratification, 1960–1987. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                    Anthropological description of three decades of change leading to the breakdown of the closed corporate peasant community and ensuing destabilization of social organization and political order in the highland Tzotzil pueblo of Zinacantán. Describes the effects of the community’s increasing incorporation into wider economic systems and relationships, including the effects of the 1982 economic crisis, development projects, and the increasing class division and factionalism associated with these projects.

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                                                                                                                    • Castillo Cocom, Juan A. “It Was Simply Their Word: Maya PRInces in YucaPAN and the Politics of Respect.” Critique of Anthropology 25.2 (2005): 131–155.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/0308275X05052016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      An ethnographic discussion of the politics of Yucatec Mayan identity in relation to the manipulation of Mayanness by local Maya of the PRI and the PAN; author is a Yucatec Maya and anthropologist.

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                                                                                                                      • Eiss, Paul K. In the Name of El Pueblo: Place, Community, and the Politics of History in Yucatán, Latin America Otherwise. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                        An anthropological and historical study of changing politics of land, labor, community, and historical memory among Maya-speaking communities in western Yucatán. Focuses on the emergence and transformation concept of “el pueblo.” Includes ethnographic chapters on recent labor conflicts in egg and poultry facilities, on religion, and over partisan politics and cultural production (poetry, theater, etc.).

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                                                                                                                        • Hernández Castillo, Rosalva Aída. Histories and Stories from Chiapas: Border Identities in Southern Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                          Late 19th- through 20th-century history of the Mam people, with focus on official government policies toward the Mam and representations of them, work on coffee plantations, and especially identity and self conception, also with examination of dance groups, cooperatives, and women’s organizations. Examines the rise and impact of the Zapatista movement among the Mam. Features author’s interactions with the Mam and accounts of “border crossings,” illuminating the changing nature of Mam identity.

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                                                                                                                          • Mattiace, Shannan. “Ethnic Mobilization among the Maya of Yucatán Today.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 4.2 (2009): 137–169.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/17442220902920085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            A political, historical, and cultural analysis of the relative lack of mobilization along ethnic lines among the Yucatec Maya, in comparison with indigenous populations in Chiapas and Guatemala. Emphasizes the control of peasant organizations by a corporatist political regime and limited independent organizational networks for training and mobilization of activists. Includes discussion of regional, mestizo identity.

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                                                                                                                            • Stephen, Lynn. Zapata Lives! Histories and Cultural Politics in Southern Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                              Comparative, ethnographically informed anthropological analysis of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Includes an examination of relations between indigenous communities and the state, official, and popular forms of nationalism and different experiences of the ejido system, land reform, and other state policies in both areas.

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                                                                                                                              Social Movements

                                                                                                                              The emergence of several social movements with profound local consequences as well as far-reaching (even global) resonance, has led to a very rich literature on contemporary social and political movements in Mayan regions. Most notable have been anthropological and political studies of the Pan-Mayan movement (see Pan-Mayan Movement) in Guatemala and the Zapatista movement (see The Zapatista Movement) in Chiapas.

                                                                                                                              Pan-Mayan Movement

                                                                                                                              Consolidated in the 1980s even before the peace accords and intensifying thereafter, the pan-Mayan movement in Guatemala is a broad-based social, cultural, and political movement aimed at fostering and reclaiming Mayan history and culture, asserting far-reaching cultural and political rights, and promoting Mayan political and cultural organizations across the geographic and linguistic differences of diverse Mayan populations. An abundant ethnographic literature considers contemporary expressions of the pan-Mayan movement: these movements have included regional studies such as Wilson 1995 and Fischer 2002 and studies of indigenous intellectuals and leaders (see Warren 1998 and Montejo 2005). For a fine collection of essays covering various aspects of the movement see Fischer and Brown 1996. Konefal 2010 explores the movement’s origins and emergence from the 1960s forward.

                                                                                                                              • Fischer, Edward F. Cultural Logics and Global Economies: Maya Identity in Thought and Practice. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                A multi-sited ethnography of the Maya movement, based upon fieldwork in Kaqchikel communities in Tecpan and Patzun, as well as interviews with movement leaders. Explores how Mayanists engage in strategic essentialism in ways that engage with and critique global economic developments but through a long-standing and distinctively Mayan cultural logic, as through Mayan conceptions of soul and self.

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                                                                                                                                • Fischer, Edward F., and R. McKenna Brown. Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                  Fourteen essays on the pan-Mayan movement in Guatemala, cultural politics, politics of language, Mayan intellectuals, and Mayanist appeals to or appropriations of Mayan history, culture, dress and pre-Hispanic glyphs. Includes several essays by Mayan authors who are scholars active in the movement: Demetrio Cojti Cuxil, Raxche’ (Demetrio Rodríguez Guaján), and Enrique Sam Colop, among others.

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                                                                                                                                  • Konefal, Betsy. For Every Indio Who Falls: A History of Maya Activism in Guatemala, 1960–1990. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                    A study of Maya cultural and political activism before and during the state repression of indigenous communities during the Guatemalan civil war. Dedicates particular attention to Mayan cultural activities, as for instance in pageants for community queens and overtly political and insurgent mobilization during the civil war.

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                                                                                                                                    • Montejo, Victor. Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Identity, Representation, and Leadership. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                      A thoroughgoing ethnographic analysis of Mayan “resistance leadership,” sensitive to the diversity in the Mayan movement and to class differences between middle-class and poor Mayas, and both sympathetic to the pan-Mayan activism and critical of some tendencies in the movement, including examples of xenophobia and corruption. Argues for the importance of collaboration with non-indigenous populations in Guatemala.

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                                                                                                                                      • Warren, Kay B. Indigenous Movements and Their Critics: Pan-Maya Activism in Guatemala. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                        Important early study of the pan-Mayan movement, focusing on connections between Maya activists and intellectuals, foreign scholars, and NGOs, as well as on the Mayanist recourse to linguistic training and historical research to counter official racism and advance a Mayan nationalist agenda. Also explores the reaction to and backlash against Mayanist activists and intellectuals by ladino activists and others, who have sometimes accused the Mayanists of reverse racism, ethnic essentialism, and more.

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                                                                                                                                        • Wilson, Richard. Maya Resurgence in Guatemala: Q’eqchi’ Experiences. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                          Ethnography of the Q’eqchi’ of eastern Guatemala that includes discussion of the nature and effects of systematic state military repression (in alliance with local landowners) of the intensification of ethnic identification in the wake of the undermining of communal and religious forms of identification. Also covers the appropriation of Mayan religious concepts by diverse agents, from the Guatemalan Army, to Catholic Action activists, to pan-Mayan nationalists.

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                                                                                                                                          The Zapatista Movement

                                                                                                                                          In the wake of the public emergence of the Zapatista movement in January 1994, an abundant scholarly literature has assessed the movement’s origins, goals, and strategies (for general surveys see Collier and Quaratiello 2005 and Harvey 1998). Quite a few regional studies have examined the movement in local contexts: Bobrow-Strain 2007 explores Zapatismo and land tenure in northeastern Chiapas; Mattiace 2003 analyzes eastern Tojolabal communities; Barmeyer 2009 considers the relations between indigenous communities and activists and NGOs; and Rus, et al. 2003 provides a fine comparative collection of regional studies. Several scholars, such as Nash 2001 and Stephen 2002, have considered the role of distinctively Mayan ways of thinking and organizing in the movement. And Benjamin 2001 covers the politics of historical memory leading up to the rebellion and in its wake.

                                                                                                                                          • Barmeyer, Niels. Developing Zapatista Autonomy: Conflict and NGO Involvement in Rebel Chiapas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                            Examines relationships between indigenous communities and activists, as well as international activists and NGOs, through a comparative discussion of four rebel communities. Explores how internal conflicts have weakened the Zapatista movement in some communities.

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                                                                                                                                            • Benjamin, Thomas. “A Time of Reconquest: The Maya Revolt and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas.” American Historical Review 105.2 (2001): 417–450.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.2307/1571458Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              An analysis of the Zapatista movement that places it in the context of indigenous rights movements of preceding decades. Highlights Maya-centric views of history and the importance of the 1992 quincentenary of the conquest. Also covered is the 1992 demolition of a statue of Chiapas’s conqueror, Diego de Mazariegos, by a group of indigenous activists. Considers religious/political syncretism in the Zapatista movement.

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                                                                                                                                              • Bobrow-Strain, Aaron. Intimate Enemies: Landowners, Power, and Violence in Chiapas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                Deeply researched archival and ethnographic study of landowners and land tenure in northeast Chiapas in the decades leading up to the Zapatista movement and in the rebellion’s aftermath. Tracks challenges to landowners in the years leading up to the rebellion and their stark loss of power thereafter.

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                                                                                                                                                • Collier, George Allen, and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas. Oakland, CA: Food First, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                  Useful historical background of the Zapatista movement. Focuses on the dynamics of agrarian reform, evangelization, oil and agricultural development, and the emergence of rural social, political and guerrilla movements in the decades leading up to the Zapatista rebellion.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Harvey, Neil. The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                    A political science analysis of the Zapatista movement that draws upon both historical and ethnographic literature, tracing the movement back to peasant and indigenous mobilizations from the 1970s forward. Makes the argument that the Zapatista rebellion was primarily centered on questions of social injustices, land, and democracy, rather than a direct response to NAFTA or a manifestation of “postmodern” identity. Includes exploration of the importance of civil society and citizenship claims.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Mattiace, Shannan L. To See with Two Eyes: Peasant Activism & Indian Autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                      Focused on eastern Chiapas, in Tojolabal communities. Explores role of national indigenist and insurgent organizations, with particular emphasis on regimes of regional political autonomy adopted or advanced by indigenous activists. Examines how national reforms in 2001 enacted a substantially weakened version of the San Andrés accords, sidelining models for governmental autonomy developed by indigenous activists.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Nash, June C. Mayan Visions: The Quest for Autonomy in an Age of Globalization. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                        Anthropological study of the Zapatista movement as an example of indigenous social movements that have challenged the direction and impact of forces of neoliberal capitalist globalization. Based in part on ethnographic research in the area of Amatenango. Argues that novelty of movement stems in large part from its basis in Mayan ways of thinking and organizing. Lends attention to gender and feminist issues in the movement.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Rus, Jan, Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, and Shannan L. Mattiace, eds. Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                          Anthology of essays by US and Mexican scholars evaluating the different regional histories of political struggles and organizations in indigenous communities in Chiapas, before, during, and in the wake of the Zapatista movement. Very substantial collection with well-researched case studies.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Stephen, Lynn. Zapata Lives! Histories and Cultural Politics in Southern Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                            Comparative, ethnographically informed anthropological analysis of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Analysis of the Zapatista movements explores struggle over social issues: including gender and women’s participation, popular nationalism, and the fusion of Zapata’s legacy with indigenous conceptions and cosmology (i.e., Votán Zapata, a Tzeltal deity, fused with the figure of revolutionary-era hero Emiliano Zapata).

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                                                                                                                                                            The Maya Atlas

                                                                                                                                                            In Belize, as discussed by Wainwright 2008, Mayan communities have been involved in their own movement for the defense of communal lands, in part through the production of the Maya Atlas (see Toledo Maya Cultural Council and Toledo Alcaldes Association 1997).

                                                                                                                                                            • Toledo Maya Cultural Council and Toledo Alcaldes Association. Maya Atlas: The Struggle to Preserve Maya Land in Southern Belize. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                              A compilation of maps, texts, images, drawings, and interviews collected by representatives of over forty Qe’qchi and Mopan communities of southern Belize.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Wainwright, Joel. Decolonizing Development: Colonial Power and the Maya. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                Includes study of efforts by Mayan communities to mount legal and political defenses of communal forests from logging concessions, in part through documenting their communities and histories in the Maya Atlas.

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                                                                                                                                                                Global Movements

                                                                                                                                                                The prominence of the state violence against indigenous populations in Guatemala, of the pan-Mayan movement, and especially of Zapatismo, has brought the social and political predicament of the Maya and the strategies of Mayan resistance movements to international attention. Recent scholarship has explored the issue of human rights (see Human Rights), the role of NGOs, and transnational Zapatismo (see Transnational Zapatismo).

                                                                                                                                                                Human Rights

                                                                                                                                                                The issue of human rights as a place of encounter between local and global understandings of rights, and of the multiple agendas of indigenous populations and leaders, activists, and NGOs, has been explored in Chiapas by Speed 2008. Pitarch Ramón, et al. 2008 compares human rights issues in Guatemala and Chiapas.

                                                                                                                                                                • Pitarch Ramón, Pedro, Shannon Speed, and Xochitl Leyva Solano. Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics, Cultural Contentions, and Moral Engagements. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Contributors explore the intersection of local with national and transnational or global conceptions of human rights.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Speed, Shannon. Rights in Rebellion: Indigenous Struggle and Human Rights in Chiapas. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Study of the appropriation and use of rights discourse by indigenous activists and especially Zapatista autonomous municipalities, relating both to human rights and rights to political and cultural autonomy. Also explores the relationships between indigenous communities and international activists and NGOs, as well as indigenous use of “global” rights discourse in pursuance of their aims.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Transnational Zapatismo

                                                                                                                                                                    In many cases, scholarship from the fields of media studies and political philosophy has considered such topics as the ingenious and effective use of media by the Zapatistas (Darling 2008, Olesen 2005, and Gilman-Opalsky 2008) and the transnational organizing strategies of Zapatismo far away from Chiapas, in places such as Mexico City, Canada, and the United States (Dellacioppa 2009 and Khasnabish 2008).

                                                                                                                                                                    • Darling, Juanita. Latin America, Media, and Revolution: Communication in Modern Mesoamerica. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1057/9780230612006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Media studies analysis of rebel or revolutionary use of media in three cases: the Nicaraguan Revolution, the El Salvadoran civil war, and the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Dellacioppa, Kara Zugman. This Bridge Called Zapatismo: Building Alternative Political Cultures in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Beyond. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Discussion of urban Zapatismo in Mexico City, as well as transnational urban Zapatismo in Los Angeles, New York City, and elsewhere.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Gilman-Opalsky, Richard. Unbounded Publics: Transgressive Public Spheres, Zapatismo, and Political Theory. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Theoretical discussion of “transgressive public spheres” that considers the implications for social and political philosophy of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Khasnabish, Alex. Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Study of implications of Zapatismo for radical activists in Canada and the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Olesen, Thomas. International Zapatismo: The Construction of Solidarity in the Age of Globalization. New York: Zed, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Study of the international Zapatista solidarity network; considers implications of the Internet for transnational forms of interaction and political mobilization.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Ethnicity

                                                                                                                                                                              The subjects of ethnic identity and racial hierarchies and relations have been central concerns in the scholarly literature on the entire Maya region. Yet there have been different emphases that reflect both regional social and cultural differences and the effects of recent social movements that have, in many cases, placed Mayan identity among their central concerns.

                                                                                                                                                                              Guatemala

                                                                                                                                                                              There is a substantial precedent for studies of ethnic identity and Indian-ladino relations in Guatemala, whether in terms of hierarchies and coded relations of dominance of ladinos over indigenous populations (Warren 1978) or in terms of communally based understandings of ethnic distinctiveness, as in Watanabe 1992. Several ethnographies examine the transformation of ethnic consciousness and identity in the relation to the experience of the civil war, exile, and especially the pan-Mayan movement: these include Wilson 1995 and Kahn 2006 for the Q’eqchi’, Metz 2006 for the Ch’orti, and French 2010 for the Kaqchikel. Hale 2006 has explored ladino self-conceptions and perceptions of the Maya as well.

                                                                                                                                                                              • French, Brigittine M. Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity: Violence, Cultural Rights, and Modernity in Highland Guatemala. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Sociolinguistic study of the relationship between language and ethnic identity in the pan-Mayan movement. Focus on the Kaqchikel Maya and explorations of the role of linguistic ideologies and strategic essentialism in Mayan cultural activism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Hale, Charles R. Más Que Un Indio = More Than an Indian: Racial Ambivalence and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in Guatemala. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Based on ethnographic work in the vicinity of Chimaltenango. Study of middle-class ladino conceptions of themselves and perceptions of the Maya. Focuses on ladino racial ambivalence and neoliberal multiculturalism. An important counterpoint to the general tendency to focus on Mayan self-conceptions and ethnic consciousness.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kahn, Hilary E. Seeing and Being Seen: The Q‘eqchi’ Maya of Livingston, Guatemala, and Beyond. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    A historical ethnography of Q’eqchi’ conceptions of self, focused on local conceptions of power and visibility. Emphasizes inter-ethnic relations (with Garifuna, tourists, etc.) as well as visuality, notably in the context of Q’eqchi’ use of video, and ethnographic film.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Metz, Brent E. Ch’orti’-Maya Survival in Eastern Guatemala: Indigeneity in Transition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Exploration of changing Ch’orti conceptions of ethnic identity in the context of a general ethnography of Ch’orti social and cultural life. Considers the effects of state repression during the civil war and the rise of the Maya movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Warren, Kay B. The Symbolism of Subordination: Indian Identity in a Guatemalan Town, Texas Pan American Series. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Important ethnographic study of the ways Indian-ladino relations, and ethnic hierarchies as well as separations, are coded in religious beliefs and practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Watanabe, John M. Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Deep ethnographic study of a Mam-speaking community in highland Guatemala (Santiago Chimaltenango, or Chimbal), focused on an emergent and dynamic understanding of communal life and the experience of ethnic distinctiveness. Includes analysis of religion, cooperative labor, and the language of community.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Wilson, Richard. Maya Resurgence in Guatemala: Q’eqchi’ Experiences. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Ethnographic study that explores the intensification of ethnic identification in the wake of the undermining of communal and religious forms of identification. Also studies the appropriation of Mayan religious concepts by diverse agents: from the Guatemalan Army, to Catholic Action activists, to pan-Mayan nationalists.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Yucatán and Chiapas

                                                                                                                                                                                            The literature on Yucatán is starkly different from that on Guatemala. In Yucatán, identification with indigeneity by Maya speakers is much more attenuated or equivocal (Castañeda 2004) and tends to be subordinated to other categories of social identification such as class, nationality, and locality. In contrast with Guatemalan ladino identity—which tends to oppose Mayanness—in Yucatán, as scholars such as Hervik 2003 and Loewe 2010 argue, mestizo identity is a form of identification that is open to, and in fact largely associated with, Maya speakers. Studies of ethnic identity in Chiapas include community-based studies such as Gossen 1999 on Tzotzil identity in San Juan Chamula, including studies of the transformation of ethnic and communal identity in the context of Zapatismo (for instance, Hernández Castillo 2001). Several scholars have considered the “neo-indigenism” of the Mexican government as it adopted a limited multiculturalism—in part as an outgrowth of long-standing state policies and discourse (Armstrong-Fumero 2009) and in response to the Zapatista demands. See, for instance, Hernández Castillo, et al. 2004. See Mattiace 2009 on the relative lack of mobilization along ethnic lines among the contemporary Yucatec Maya.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Armstrong-Fumero, Fernando. “A Heritage of Ambiguity: The Historical Substrate of Vernacular Multiculturalism in Yucatán, Mexico.” American Ethnologist 36.2 (2009): 300–316.

                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2009.01136.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussion of ambivalent ways in which such categories as “Maya” and “indigenous” are used in Yucatán, as part of a discourse of multiculturalism that has a long-standing historical precedent in both official indigenist as well as vernacular use. Draws upon a comprehensive survey of the anthropological literature on Yucatán, as well as upon ethnographic research in eastern Yucatán.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Castañeda, Quetzil, “‘We Are Not Indigenous!’: The Maya Identity of Yucatán, an Introduction.” The Journal of Latin American Anthropology 9.1 (Spring 2004): 36–63.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1525/jlca.2004.9.1.36Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Critique of the tendency to assimilate conceptions of identity among Yucatec Maya speakers to a homogeneous framework of “Mayan” or “indigenous” identity. Draws attention to highly distinct formulations, including rejection of the label “indigenous” by people who self-identify as “Maya.” Argues for an understanding of ethnicity and ethnic and Maya identity in terms of the Foucaultian concept of “governmentality”.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gossen, Gary H. Telling Maya Tales: Tzotzil Identities in Modern Mexico. New York: Routledge, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  A collection of ethnographic essays on Tzotzil Maya ethnicity and identity principally based upon ethnographic fieldwork in San Juan Chamula.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hernández Castillo, Rosalva Aída. Histories and Stories from Chiapas: Border Identities in Southern Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Late 19th- through 20th-century history of the Mam people, with focus on official government policies toward the Mam and representations of them, their work on coffee plantations, and especially identity and self conception. Includes examination of dance groups, cooperatives, and women’s organizations. Examines the rise and impact of the Zapatista movement among the Mam. Features author’s interactions with the Mam and accounts of “border crossings” illuminating the changing nature of Mam identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hernández Castillo, Rosalva Aída, Sarela Paz, and María Teresa Sierra Camacho, eds. El Estado y los indígenas en tiempos del PAN: Neoindigenismo, legalidad e identidad. Mexico City: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays by Mexican scholars on the “neo-indigenism” of the government of Mexican president Vicente Fox in the wake of the Zapatista movement. Emphasizes the connections between neoliberal governmental decentralization policies and indigenous struggles for autonomy and juridical and political recognition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hervik, Peter. Mayan People within and Beyond Boundaries: Social Categories and Lived Identity in Yucatán. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Study of ethnicity in Yucatán and representations of the Maya, both by foreigners and by Maya speakers themselves. Based on fieldwork in the town of Oxkutzcab. Argues for the importance of understanding mestizo identity, with that term being one of self-definition in Yucatán for Yucatec Maya speakers: this is in contrast to external constructions and understandings of them as Maya. Discussion of dress and festivities in Yucatec communities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Loewe, Ronald. Maya or Mestizo? Nationalism, Modernity, and Its Discontents. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          An anthropological study of mestizo identity in Yucatán, based largely on the author’s fieldwork in the town of Maxcanú. Includes historical discussion of national and ethnic identity in Yucatán and ethnographic studies of religion (the gremio system), festivities, and myth.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mattiace, Shannan. “Ethnic Mobilization among the Maya of Yucatán Today.” Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 4.2 (2009): 137–169.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/17442220902920085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            A political, historical, and cultural analysis of the relative lack of mobilization along ethnic lines among the Yucatec Maya, in comparison with indigenous populations in Chiapas and Guatemala. Emphasizes the control of peasant organizations by a corporatist political regime and limited independent organizational networks for training and mobilization of activists. Includes discussion of regional and mestizo identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gender

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Studies of gender in contemporary Mayan populations have focused almost exclusively on women (i.e., rather than considering masculinity, which is an emerging area of study elsewhere). Such topics as domestic life and domestic violence, feminism, changing conceptions of gender, and political activism have been primary concerns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yucatán and Belize

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Following Elmendorf 1976, a study of women’s experience in Chan Kom, anthropologists of Yucatán have dedicated considerable attention to the changing roles of experiences of women in the context of modernization and globalization. Kintz and Emmett 1998 considers changing gender roles and forms of political participation, and Greene 2008 considers changing conceptions of gender and selective performances of tradition and modernity in a Yucatecan town. For an ethnographic study of domestic violence in a Belizean Mopan community see McClusky 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Elmendorf, Mary. Nine Mayan Women: A Village Faces Change. Rochester, VT: Schenkman, 1976.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Classic 1976 ethnographic study of the changing roles of women in Chan Kom.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greene, Alison. “Huipiles to Spandex: Styling Modernity and Refashioning Gender in the Global Economy of Yucatan.” PhD diss., University of North Carolina, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Study of changing gender identity and practices in one Yucatecan town. Includes discussion of changes in economy and work: and there is especially good discussion on the way women engage in consumption practices and their choice of dress as a means to express and perform their identifications with “tradition” or “modernity.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kintz, Ellen, and Ayala Emmett, eds. “Globalization and Local Cultures: Mayan Women Negotiate Transformations.” Special issue: Sex Roles 39.7–8 (October 1998).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Collection of articles focusing on Yucatán and Chiapas and examining the politics of sex and gender in the context of globalization and related economic changes. Emphasizes politics, women’s solidarity, and domestic life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • McClusky, Laura J. Here, Our Culture Is Hard: Stories of Domestic Violence from a Mayan Community in Belize. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ethnographic study of domestic violence in a Mopan Mayan community in Belize. Situates violence against women in social and cultural context. A strongly narrative-based account.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Guatemala and Chiapas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is a rich ethnographic literature on women’s experiences in highland Guatemala and Chiapas, ranging from studies of weaving, cloth, and Kaqchikel ethnic identity (Hendrickson 1995) and Kaqchikel historical memory (Carey 2006), to explorations of Mayan women’s experiences and feminism especially in the context of the Zapatista movement (Speed, et al. 2006 and Eber and Kovic 2003). Walker, et al. 2008 provides a collection of oral historical interviews with women covering various periods, including the Zapatista movement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Carey, David. Engendering Mayan History: Kaqchikel Women as Agents and Conduits of the Past, 1875–1970. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ambitious study of Kaqchikel women’s accounting of the past, through compilation of extensive oral interviews (250 oral histories) as well as archival research. Subjects include general relations, racism, labor, schooling, and wartime experiences.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Eber, Christine Engla, and Christine Marie Kovic, eds. Women in Chiapas: Making History in Times of Struggle and Hope. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anthology focusing on women’s concerns and struggles in contemporary Chiapas. Covers the Zapatista rebellion and armed conflict, as well as religion and feminist organizing. Includes essays by scholars as well as testimonials, prayers, theater plays, and more.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hendrickson, Carol Elaine. Weaving Identities: Construction of Dress and Self in a Highland Guatemala Town. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ethnographic study of traje, or indigenous clothing, in Tecpan. Explores how cloth and dress are critical forms for the expression of community, gender, and ethnic identities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Speed, Shannon, Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo, and Lynn Stephen. Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anthology of essays by Mexican and US scholars relating to women’s issues and feminist political struggles, in the context of indigenous participation in the Zapatista movement. Includes essays on women’s rights, strategies, and activism, as well documents and speeches relevant to the place of women in the EZLN and Zapatista positions on women’s issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Walker, Gayle, Kiki Suarez, and Carol Karasik, eds. Every Woman Is a World: Interviews with Women of Chiapas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A series of oral historical interviews with women of Chiapas—of indigenous, mestiza, and ladino background—accompanied by photographs. Covers important historical events and women’s experiences and recollections of them, including the Zapatista movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Childbirth and Childhood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Midwifery, maternity, maternal health and mortality, and childbirth and childrearing have been topics of special concern under conditions of economic change, changing access to Western medicine, and in the wake of civil war. For instance, Berry 2010 examines the changing meanings of motherhood, pregnancy, birth, and birth-related death among the biomedical personnel and Mayan populations in Guatemala, while Rogoff 2011 provides an in-depth exploration of contemporary midwifery in that same country. Studies of children have emphasized both their centrality in subsistence strategies of families based in rural communities in southern Yucatán (see Kramer 2005), and Offit 2010 provides an ethnographic study of the working lives of street children—both Mayan and ladino—in Guatemala City.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Berry, Nicole. Unsafe Motherhood: Mayan Maternal Mortality and Subjectivity in Post-War Guatemala. New York: Berghahn, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ethnographic study of global policies implemented in Solola, Guatemala, in order to combat maternal mortality. Explores motherhood, pregnancy, birth, and birth-related death from the perspective of medical personnel, women, and midwives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kramer, Karen. Maya Children: Helpers at the Farm. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ethnographic study of a community in southern Yucatán, focused on the role of children’s work in family subsistence strategies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Offit, Thomas A. Conquistadores de la Calle: Child Street Labor in Guatemala City. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ethnographic study of street children in Guatemala City, including Mayan as well as ladino children. Emphasizes importance of children’s income for their families and includes discussion of Mayan ethnicity (whether viewed as advantage or detriment).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rogoff, Barbara. Developing Destinies: A Mayan Midwife and Town. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A psychological and anthropological study of a Mayan midwife in Guatemala, emphasizing the adaptation of traditional techniques of midwifery, healing, and childrearing to the changing conditions in townspeople’s lives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Religion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Until recently, most studies of religion among the present-day Maya have focused on “traditional” Maya religious practices, especially in the context of the cofradía (confraternity, or religious brotherhood) or gremio (religious league) systems and, in highland Guatemala, of the ajq’ijab, or “daykeepers” (i.e., Mayan spiritual practitioners). Studies of contemporary Maya religion have in some cases continued that focus, although with an emphasis on how such religious practices have changed in the context of the expansion of commercial capitalism (see Eiss 2002), of the civil war (see Carlsen 1997 and Fischer and Hendrickson 2003). One major area of ethnographic study is focused on the expanding presence of evangelical Protestantism in recent years. For highland Guatemala see Carlsen 1997 on Atiteco culture, Watanabe 1992 and Samson 2007 on Mam and Kaqchikel communities, and Goldin 2009 for a comparative analysis of four highland communities. For Chiapas and Yucatán see Ruz 2005 and Goodman 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Carlsen, Robert S. The War for the Heart & Soul of a Highland Maya Town. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An ethnographic study of Santiago Atitlán, focused on long-term continuities and changes in Atiteco culture. Explores traditional cofradía (religious brotherhood) practices, and how whether as Catholics or Protestants they accommodated those creeds to Mayan religious traditions. Explores the cognitive and cultural frameworks through which Santiago Atitlán’s Tz’utujiil speakers adapted to such factors as the civil war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Eiss, Paul K. “Hunting for the Virgin: Meat, Money, and Memory in Tetiz, Yucatan.” Cultural Anthropology 17.3 (August 2002): 291–330.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1525/can.2002.17.3.291Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ethnographic study of the operations of gremios (religious leagues) in western Yucatán: focuses on hunting gremios and how the circulation of meat and money, the maintenance of archives by gremio leaders, and the large public festivities associated with the gremios provide a forum for the elaboration of community identity and the operations of historical memory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fischer, Edward F., and Carol Elaine Hendrickson. Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Global and Local Context. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ethnographic study of Tecpán, which explores how Kaqchikel residents have responded to the economic, social, and cultural challenges of recent years, including the civil war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Goldin, Liliana R. Global Maya: Work and Ideology in Rural Guatemala. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Deeply researched comparative study of work and ideology in four highland communities engaged in a variety of occupations, from tailor shops to maquilas. Considers religion in relation to work ideology as well, finding little evidence that the spread of Protestantism has led to a work ethic fostering capitalist development: instead, there was roughly equivalent participation in capitalist labor relations and ideology across the religious spectrum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Goodman, Felicitas D. Maya Apocalypse: Seventeen Years with the Women of a Yucatan Village. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Based on research conducted over the course of seventeen years, this ethnography charts the rise and development of a Pentacostal congregation in Yucatán. Includes a focus on an apocalyptic crisis in 1970 and its aftermath.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ruz, Mario Humberto, and Carlos Garma Navarro, eds. Protestantismo en Ee Mundo Maya Contemporáneo. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Anthology of regionally focused essays considering the implications of the spread of Protestantism among Mayan populations in Guatemala, Chiapas, and Yucatán.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Samson, C. Mathews. Re-Enchanting the World: Maya Protestantism in the Guatemalan Highlands, Contemporary American Indian Studies. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ethnographic study of Presbyterianism in Mam and Kaqchikel communities. Explores how even though for some conversion to Protestantism implies a rejection of indigenous customs (or costumbre) for others, Maya preserve their claims on distinctive Mayan cultural identity even after joining evangelicals.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Watanabe, John M. Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Deep ethnographic study of a Mam-speaking community in highland Guatemala (Santiago Chimaltenango, or Chimbal), focused on an emergent and dynamic understanding of communal life and the experience of ethnic distinctiveness. Includes analysis of religion, cooperative labor, and the language of community.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Language

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While sociolinguistics has always been a major area of scholarship on the different Maya languages (see, for instance, Hanks 1990), some recent linguistic and anthropological studies have focused on the politics of Maya language use, whether in terms of the place of linguistic ideologies in Mayan cultural revitalization movements in Guatemala (see England 2003 and French 2010) or, as Berkley 1998 and Armstrong-Fumero 2009 argue, in official and popular “vernacular discourse” on Yucatec Maya, as part and parcel of official and popular forms of multiculturalism.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Armstrong-Fumero, Fernando. “Old Jokes and New Multiculturalisms: Continuity and Change in Vernacular Discourse on the Yucatec Maya Language.” American Anthropologist 111.3 (2009): 360–372.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01138.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A discussion of multicultural discourse on Yucatec Maya, both in the form of official state rhetoric about language and in the form of vernacular usage. Contrasts linguistic purism in both official and vernacular forms with the “heteroglossia” characteristic of contemporary Yucatec Maya.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Berkley, Tony. Remembrance and Revitalization: The Archive of Pure Maya. PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Explores Mayan “linguistic purism,” and its role in Yucatec identity through a study of historical sources, as well as ethnographic study of contemporary Maya usage and discourse, especially in primary schools.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • England, Nora C. “In Focus—Language Ideologies, Rights, and Choices: Dilemmas and Paradoxes of Loss, Retention, and Revitalization—Mayan Language Revival and Revitalization Politics: Linguists and Linguistic Ideologies.” American Anthropologist 105.4 (2003): 733–743.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Discussion of Maya linguistic revitalization, and the role of professional linguists in the language revitalization movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • French, Brigittine M. Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity: Violence, Cultural Rights, and Modernity in Highland Guatemala. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sociolinguistic study of the relationship between language and ethnic identity in the pan-Mayan movement. Focus on the Kaqchikel Maya and explorations of the role of linguistic ideologies and strategic essentialism in Mayan cultural activism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hanks, William F. Referential Practice: Language and Lived Space among the Maya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Compendious and deep ethnographic and linguistic study of Yucatec Maya, focusing on forms of deictic reference and social construction of space and selfhood.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tourism and Heritage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tourism has become a major area of study in Mayan areas of Chiapas, Guatemala, and Yucatán, both because of the increasingly important role of tourism in local and global economies and the relationship between tourist economies and activities. Also considered is the close relationship between tourism and the contemporary politics of Mayan heritage, whether focused on “ethnic tourism” (see van den Berghe 1994), craft production (as in Little 2004 and Castañeda 2004), on archeological sites (as explored by Castañeda 1996 and Breglia 2006), or on tourism following the Zapatista rebellion (see Babb 2010).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Babb, Florence E. The Tourism Encounter: Fashioning Latin American Nations and Histories. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Comparative study of tourism in post-revolutionary and post-conflict nations. Includes chapters on Chiapas since the Zapatista uprising, as well as chapters on Peru, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Breglia, Lisa. Monumental Ambivalence: The Politics of Heritage. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Study of the ways rural Maya populations understand and claim cultural heritage of archeological and tourist sites. Focuses on Chichén Itzá as well as Chunchucmil, a lesser-known site in western Yucatán. Examines how the Mexican government and local communities stake competing claims in the name of heritage and patrimony. Examines the division of labor at the sites, which often employ local residents.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Castañeda, Quetzil E. In the Museum of Maya Culture: Touring Chichén Itzá. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Historical ethnography of Chichén Itzá and the nearby town of Pisté, focusing on the relations between anthropologists, tourists, and the Maya. Explores the history of anthropological representations of the Maya from the 1930s forward, the artisanal production and sale of handicrafts to tourists, variant struggles and claims over Chichén, and the representations of “the Maya” by anthropologists, tourists, and residents alike.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Castaeñda, Quetzil E. “Contemporary Art Worlds and Their Productive (in)Stabilities: Art-Writing in the Modern Maya Art World of Chichen Itza: Transcultural Ethnography and Experimental Fieldwork.” American Ethnologist 31.1 (2004): 21.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A study of the “transcultural dynamics of the Chichén art world,” including tourist and souvenir art produced in Pisté and the role of anthropologists and ethnographic practice in cultural exchanges around Maya arts. Includes discussion of an exhibition mounted at Lake Forest College in the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Little, Walter E. Mayas in the Marketplace: Tourism, Globalization, and Cultural Identity. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Multi-sited ethnographic study of artisanal production and sale of arts by Caqchikel to tourists in the markets of Antigua. Explores the role of craft production and encounters with tourists in ethnic identity and especially focuses on the traditional craft market as a gendered space.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • van den Berghe, Pierre L. The Quest for the Other: Ethnic Tourism in San Cristóbal, Mexico. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A descriptive study of “ethnic tourism” in San Cristóbal, Chiapas, based on research conducted in the years immediately prior to the Zapatista rebellion. Takes a generally positive view of the effects of such tourism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Migration

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Given the profoundly dislocating consequences of civil war, state violence, and economic globalization, migration has become one of the defining experiences of the contemporary Maya. In the case of Guatemala, scholars of diverse disciplines have traced how Mayan refugees from the political violence—as well as from economic conditions—have resettled temporarily or permanently in refugee camps and cities in Mexico, Belize, Canada, and the United States (see Loucky and Moors 2000). Fine ethnographic studies examine the experiences of refugee communities in Florida (Burns 1993), Houston (Hagan 1994), North Carolina (Fink and Dunn 2003), Rhode Island (Foxen 2007) and elsewhere. In more recent years (principally from the late 1990s forward) Yucatec Maya speakers have migrated in increasing numbers as well, whether to Cancún (see Castellanos 2010) or Mérida in search of work, or to cities such as San Francisco in the United States (see Cornelius, et al. 2007). The literature on contemporary Maya migration has explored the social networks and strategies of migrants, the difficulties they have faced both in the workplace and in legal terms, and the transformation of Mayan cultural and ethnic identities in response to migration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Burns, Allan F. Maya in Exile: Guatemalans in Florida. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anthropological study of the experiences of Kanjobal Mayan refugees from political violence in Guatemala who have resettled in Indiantown, Florida. Discusses work and ethnic identity, adaptation to life in the United States, and the challenges of dealing with social workers and officials.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Castellanos, M. Bianet. A Return to Servitude: Maya Migration and the Tourist Trade in Cancún. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An ethnography of migration of Yucatec Mayan residents of pueblos in eastern Yucatán to Cancún. Explores working life of migrants, especially women, as well as the implications of tourism and neoliberal development schemes. Includes historical background, focusing on agrarian reform and indigenous education.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cornelius, Wayne, David S. Fitzgerald, and Pedro Lewin Fisher, eds. Mayan Journeys: The New Migration from Yucatan to the United States. La Jolla, CA: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UCSD, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A study produced by a bi-national research team that carried out survey and field research as well as interviews to provide a comprehensive study of an emerging trend toward transnational migration by Yucatecans. Focuses largely on Yucatec Maya migrants from the community of Tunkás. Explores a variety of topics, including ethnicity, religion, health, and political participation, as well as the general patterns of movement and migration.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fink, Leon, and Alvis E. Dunn. The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Labor history of Mayan political and economic refugees from Guatemala resettled in Morganton, North Carolina. Focuses on work on large chicken farms and on labor struggles, strikes, and union organizing. Based largely upon oral history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Foxen, Patricia. In Search of Providence: Transnational Mayan Identities. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Multi-sited ethnographic study of the migration of K’iche’ Maya from Guatemala to Providence, Rhode Island. Includes discussion of the decline of traditional agriculture, the effects of the civil war, religion, and pan-Mayan ideologies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hagan, Jacqueline María. Deciding to be Legal: A Maya Community in Houston. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ethnographic study of how Maya immigrants from the northwestern Guatemalan Department of Totonicapán contended with life in Houston. Focuses on their active engagement with the process of legalization through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Explores transnational social networks, the different experiences of women while crossing the border, and how these women adjusted to life, work, and legalization in Houston.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Loucky, James, and Marilyn M. Moors, eds. The Maya Diaspora: Guatemalan Roots, New American Lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive collection of essays exploring the experience of migrants, refugees, and resettled communities in Chiapas, Belize, Canada, and cities throughout the United States. Includes general essays on patterns of migration, as well as short testimonies of Mayan migrants.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Testimonial Literature

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An abundant testimonial literature exists for the contemporary Maya—particularly in relation to the experiences of civil war and violence in Guatemala, and in relation to the Zapatista movement and its repression in Chiapas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Guatemala

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While the most well-known Mayan testimonials are the autobiographical accounts of K’iche’ activist (and Nobel Peace Prize winner) Rigoberta Menchú (see Menchú 2009 and Menchú and Wright 1998), there is a very rich testimonial literature, both in Spanish and in English translation—as well as in various Mayan languages—relating to the experience of Mayan populations in Guatemala. While most of these narratives are focused on the violence of the civil war (for instance Montejo 1987), some also address everyday life, oral history (see Bizarro Ujpan 2001 and Carey 2001), the views of women across the political and social spectrum in Guatemala (Hooks 1993), and the experiences of political refugees as migrants (see Loucky and Moors 2000).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bizarro Ujpán, Ignacio. Joseño: Another Mayan Voice Speaks from Guatemala. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Diary of an anonymous author, a Tz’utujil man living near Lake Atitlán, covering a period from 1987 to 1998. Discusses everyday town life, religion, political conflicts, and episodes of violence. The fourth of a series of diaries by Bizarro Ujpán and edited by James Sexton, published over a three-decade period. Earlier volumes cover events from the 1970s and 1980s.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Carey, David. Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives: Xkib’ij Kan Qate’ Qatata’. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Extensive presentation of oral historical interviews with Kaqchikel men and women on a variety of topics, including land, labor, education, ethnic relations, the military and violence, and political history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hooks, Margaret. Guatemalan Women Speak. Washington, DC: Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A collection of testimonials by politically active Guatemalan women, including indigenous women (as well as women from other social and ethnic groups). Includes an introduction by Rigoberta Menchú.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Loucky, James, and Marilyn M. Moors, eds. The Maya Diaspora: Guatemalan Roots, New American Lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Includes some short testimonies of Guatemalan Mayan migrants to Mexico and the United States.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Menchú, Rigoberta. I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. New York: Verso, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Originally published in Spanish in 1983 and in English in 1987, this renowned autobiographical account remains the most important indigenous testimonial from Guatemala. Discusses community life, labor, gender roles, and religion, as well as migration to Guatemala City. Focuses on the violence of the civil war, on the guerrilla movement, and on the brutal murder of Menchú’s father and other family members.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Menchú, Rigoberta, and Ann Wright. Crossing Borders: An Autobiography. New York: Verso, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A sequel to I, Rigoberta, chronicling Menchú’s twelve years of involvement at the United Nations and elsewhere as a global advocate for native peoples in Guatemala, among other countries. Discusses her experiences of exile and return and political activism on multiple fronts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Montejo, Víctor. Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The author’s personal account of military repression of a village where he lived in 1982. Includes discussion of counterinsurgency campaigns, formation of civil defense patrols by the military, and the author’s detention, interrogation, and torture by the military.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chiapas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Testimonial literature from Chiapas has been especially notable in relation to the experiences of women, chiefly in the context of the Zapatista movement and related repression. These include the general anthologies Eber and Kovic 2003 and Walker, et al. 2008, as well as a collection focused on the Acteal massacre and its aftermath (Hernández Castillo 1998).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Eber, Christine Engla, and Christine Marie Kovic, eds. Women in Chiapas: Making History in Times of Struggle and Hope. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anthology focused on women’s concerns and struggles in contemporary Chiapas. Includes testimonials, prayers, plays, and more.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Hernández Castillo, Rosalva Aída, ed. La otra palabra: Mujeres y violencia en Chiapas, antes y después de Acteal. Tlalplan, Mexico: Centro de Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Includes testimony from the women affected by the 1997 Acteal massacre (in which forty-five political refugees, most of them women and children, were killed), from before and after the massacre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Walker, Gayle, Kiki Suarez, and Carol Karasik, eds. Every Woman Is a World: Interviews with Women of Chiapas. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A series of oral historical interviews with Chiapas women from indigenous, mestiza, and ladino backgrounds, accompanied by photographs. Covers important historical events and women’s experiences and recollections of these events, including the Zapatista movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Literary and Performance Studies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Inspired both by the contemporary social movements that have emerged in Guatemala and Chiapas (whether guerrilla, neo-Maya, or Zapatista), and especially by the abundant testimonial literature by Mayan authors, scholars of literary studies have dedicated increasing attention to the contemporary Maya. A series of studies (for instance, Arias and Stoll 2001 and Beverley 2004) have focused on the controversy surrounding Menchú testimonial and the challenge to it by Stoll 2008. Beyond questions of truth and narrative in testimonial literature, literary studies have explored the implications of the Mayan literature for questions of subalternity (Beverley 1999), representation (Gollnick 2008), and the decentering of national and Western canonical literatures and narratives (Arias 2007 and Escalante 2009). Rabasa 2010 uses an exploration of Zapatismo and the Acteal massacre as a context for discussing the implications of epistemic conflict between Western and subaltern frameworks. Recently, contemporary Mayan theater and performance have attracted scholarly attention as well; for a comparative study of Mayan theater in Yucatán, Chiapas, and Tabasco, see Underiner 2004.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Arias, Arturo. Taking Their Word: Literature and the Signs of Central America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Study of Central American literature that stresses the importance of testimonials such as Menchú’s, as well as new Maya literature that has tended to decenter and challenge Spanish-language literature in Latin America.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Arias, Arturo, and David Stoll. The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A collection of essays by literary scholars, anthropologists, historians, and others commenting on the Stoll-Menchú controversy and its implications in Guatemala, in investigation of human rights abuses committed during the civil war, for the “culture wars” in the United States, and for the long-term colonial politics surrounding indigenous Maya populations from the conquest forward.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Beverley, John. Subalternity and Representation: Arguments in Cultural Theory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A general discussion of the critical project of subalternity authored by a founder of the Latin American Subaltern Studies Group. One chapter focuses on Rigoberta Menchú’s testimonial account as part of a wider engagement with issues of Latin American narratives within the context of ethical and political commitments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Beverley, John. Testimonio: On the Politics of Truth. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays delving into the politics of truth in relation to canonical Latin American testimonials. Includes in-depth discussion of I, Rigoberta as well as of the controversy surrounding it. Stresses importance of testimonial and witnessing in relation to surrounding political struggles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Escalante, Emilio del Valle. Maya Nationalisms and Postcolonial Challenges in Guatemala: Coloniality, Modernity, and Identity Politics. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Literary study K’iche’ that explores the cultural and political implications of the Maya movement, especially focusing on the challenges contemporary Mayan narratives pose to conventional hegemonic narrative framings of history, modernity, and national identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gollnick, Brian. Reinventing the Lacandón: Subaltern Representations in the Rain Forest of Chiapas. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Literary study of representations of the Lacandón forest and the Lacandón Maya. Explores questions of subalternity in postcolonial and anticolonial writings and visual media. Includes extended discussion of the Zapatista movement and its implications.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rabasa, José. Without History: Subaltern Studies, the Zapatista Insurgency, and the Specter of History. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A discussion of the importance of understanding history from indigenous perspectives and in terms of conflicting epistemes between Western and subaltern frameworks. Focuses largely on the implications of the Zapatista insurgency and the Acteal massacre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Stoll, David. Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Originally published in 1998, Stoll’s highly controversial account challenges the accuracy of I, Rigoberta as a way to raise questions about presumed Mayan support for the guerrillas and uncritical international support or sympathy for leftist insurgents. Stoll alleges Menchú altered and simplified her testimonial in order to support appeals by the guerrillas for international support.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Underiner, Tamara. Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death Defying Acts. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Comparative study of Mayan theater in southern Mexico (Chiapas, Yucatán, and Tabasco). Explores theater in the context of globalization and through attempts to claim or reclaim Mayan identity and heritage. Considers theater as an intercultural place of confrontation and negotiation among indigenous and nonindigenous actors and entities.

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