In Elusive Unity, Armstrong-Fumero examines early twentieth-century peasant politics and twenty-first-century indigenous politics in the rural Oriente region of Yucatán.
The rural inhabitants of this region have had some of their most important dealings with their nation’s government as self-identified “peasants” and “Maya.” Using ethnography, oral history, and archival research, Armstrong-Fumero shows how the same body of narrative tropes has defined the local experience of twentieth-century agrarianism and twenty-first-century multiculturalism.
Through these recycled narratives, contemporary multicultural politics have also inherited some ambiguities that were built into its agrarian predecessor. Specifically, local experiences of peasant and indigenous politics are shaped by tensions between the vernacular language of identity and the intense factionalism that often defines the social organization of rural communities. This significant contribution will be of interest to historians, anthropologists, and political scientists studying Latin America and the Maya.
Fosters a holistic understanding of the roles of Maya heroic figures as cornerstones of cultural identity and political resistance and power.
In the sixteenth century, Q’eqchi’ Maya leader Aj Poop B’atz’ changed the course of Q’eqchi’ history by welcoming Spanish invaders to his community in peace to protect his people from almost certain violence. Today, he is revered as a powerful symbol of Q’eqchi’ identity. Aj Poop B’atz’ is only one of many indigenous heroes who has been recognized by Maya in Mexico and Guatemala throughout centuries of subjugation, oppression, and state-sponsored violence.
Faces of Resistance: Maya Heroes, Power, and Identity explores the importance of heroes through the analyses of heroic figures, some controversial and alternative, from the Maya area. Contributors examine stories of hero figures as a primary way through which Maya preserve public memory, fortify their identities, and legitimize their place in their country’s historical and political landscape. Leading anthropologists, linguists, historians, and others incorporate ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archival material into their chapters, resulting in a uniquely interdisciplinary book for scholars as well as students.
The essays offer the first critical survey of the broad significance of these figures and their stories and the ways that they have been appropriated by national governments to impose repressive political agendas. Related themes include the role of heroic figures in the Maya resurgence movement in Guatemala, contemporary Maya concepts of “hero,” and why some assert that all contemporary Maya are heroes.
Often considered the father of anthropological studies in Mexico, Manuel Gamio originally published Forjando Patria in 1916. This groundbreaking manifesto for a national anthropology of Mexico summarizes the key issues in the development of anthropology as an academic discipline and the establishment of an active field of cultural politics in Mexico. Written during the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution, the book has now been translated into English for the first time.
Armstrong-Fumero's translation allows readers to develop a more nuanced understanding of this foundational work, which is often misrepresented in contemporary critical analyses. As much about national identity as anthropology, this text gives Anglophone readers access to a particular set of topics that have been mentioned extensively in secondary literature but are rarely discussed with a sense of their original context. Forjando Patria also reveals the many textual ambiguities that can lend themselves to different interpretations.
The book highlights the history and development of Mexican anthropology and archaeology at a time when scholars in the United States are increasingly recognizing the importance of cross-cultural collaboration with their Mexican colleagues. It will be of interest to anthropologists and archaeologists studying the region, as well as those involved in the history of the discipline.
Legacies of Space and Intangible Heritage is an interdisciplinary exploration of the intersections between the study and management of physical sites and the reproduction of intangible cultural legacies. The volume provides nine case studies that explore different ways in which place is mediated by social, political, and ecological processes that have deep historical roots and that continue to affect the politics of heritage management.
Spaces of human habitation are both historical records of the past and key elements in reproducing the knowledge and values that define lives in the present. Practices, knowledge, and skills that communities recognize as part of their culture—and that a range of legal statutes define as protected intangible heritages—are threatened by increased migration, the displacement of indigenous peoples, and limits on access to culturally or historically significant sites. This volume addresses how different physical environments contribute to the reproduction of cultural forms even in the wake of these processes of displacement and change. Case studies from North and South America reveal a pattern of abandonment and reestablishment of settlements and show how collective memory drives people back to culturally meaningful sites.
This tendency for communities to return to the sites that shaped their collective histories, along with the growing importance granted to intangible heritage, challenges archaeologists and other heritage workers to find new ways of incorporating the cultural legacies that link societies to place into the work of research and stewardship. By examining the politics of cultural continuity through the lenses of archaeology and ethnohistory, Legacies of Space and Intangible Heritage demonstrates this complex relationship between a people’s heritage and the landscape that affects the making of "place."
Contributors: Rani Alexander, Hannah Becker, Minette Church, Bonnie Clark, Chip Colwell, Winifred Creamer, Emiliana Cruz, T. J. Ferguson, Julio Hoil Gutierrez, Jonathan Haas, Saul Hedquist, Maren Hopkins, Stuart B. Koyiyumptewa, Christine Kray, Henry Marcelo Castillo, Anna Roosevelt, Jason Yaeger, Keiko Yoneda