After the Bombs
Arturo Arias Northwestern University Press, 1990 Library of Congress PQ7499.2.A73D4713 1990
After the Bombs is a coming of age story that holds a mirror up to the modern history of Guatemala—a funhouse mirror of richly inventive and farcical black comedy which provides a better description of life in that country than any history book ever could. It opens with the bombing of Guatemala City in 1954 when the hero, Max, is a small child. In a swiftly moving narrative, Max journeys toward adulthood, searching for his identity, for his father, and along the way, for the real Guatemala and the possibility of a society founded on human decency, after the bombs.
Cultural preservation, linguistic revitalization, intellectual heritage, and environmental sustainability became central to Indigenous movements in Mexico and Central America after 1992. While the emergence of these issues triggered important conversations, none to date have examined the role that new media has played in accomplishing their objectives.
Indigenous Interfaces provides the first thorough examination of indigeneity at the interface of cyberspace. Correspondingly, it examines the impact of new media on the struggles for self-determination that Indigenous peoples undergo in Mexico and Central America. The volume’s contributors highlight the fresh approaches that Mesoamerica’s Indigenous peoples have given to new media—from YouTubing Maya rock music to hashtagging in Zapotec. Together, they argue that these cyberspatial activities both maintain tradition and ensure its continuity. Without considering the implications of new technologies, Indigenous Interfaces argues, twenty-first-century indigeneity in Mexico and Central America cannot be successfully documented, evaluated, and comprehended.
Indigenous Interfaces rejects the myth that indigeneity and information technology are incompatible through its compelling analysis of the relationships between Indigenous peoples and new media. The volume illustrates how Indigenous peoples are selectively and strategically choosing to interface with cybertechnology, highlights Indigenous interpretations of new media, and brings to center Indigenous communities who are resetting modes of communication and redirecting the flow of information. It convincingly argues that interfacing with traditional technologies simultaneously with new media gives Indigenous peoples an edge on the claim to autonomous and sovereign ways of being Indigenous in the twenty-first century.
Debra A. Castillo
Gloria Elizabeth Chacón
Adam W. Coon
Tajëëw Díaz Robles
Alicia Ivonne Estrada
Jennifer Gómez Menjívar
Sue P. Haglund
Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
Paul Joseph López Oro
Rita M. Palacios
Central Americans are one of the largest Latino population groups in the United States. Yet, Arturo Arias argues, the cultural production of Central Americans remains little known to North Americans.
In Taking Their Word, Arias complicates notions of the cultural production of Central America, from Mexico in the North to Panama in the South. He charts the literature of Central America’s liberation struggles of the 1970s and 1980s, its transformation after peace treaties were signed, the emergence of a new Maya literature that decenters Latin American literature written in Spanish, and the rise and fall of testimonio. Arias demonstrates that Central America and its literature are marked by an indigenousness that has never before been fully theorized or critically grasped. Never one to avoid controversy, Arias proffers his views of how the immigration of Central Americans to North America has changed the cultural topography of both zones.
With this groundbreaking work, Arias establishes the importance of Central American literature and provides a frame for future studies of the region’s culture.
Arturo Arias is director of Latin American studies at the University of Redlands. He is the author of six novels in Spanish and editor of The Rigoberta Menchú Controversy (Minnesota, 2001).
Time Commences in Xibalbá
Luis de Lión; Translated by Nathan C. Henne University of Arizona Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ7499.2.L53T513 2012 | Dewey Decimal 863.64
Time Commences in Xibalbá tells the story of a violent village crisis in Guatemala sparked by the return of a prodigal son, Pascual. He had been raised tough by a poor, single mother in the village before going off with the military. When Pascual comes back, he is changed—both scarred and “enlightened” by his experiences. To his eyes, the village has remained frozen in time. After experiencing alternative cultures in the wider world, he finds that he is both comforted and disgusted by the village’s lingering “indigenous” characteristics.
De Lión manages to tell this volatile story by blending several modes, moods, and voices so that the novel never falls into the expected narrative line. It wrenches the reader’s sense of time and identity by refusing the conventions of voice and character to depict a new, multi-layered periphery. This novel demands that we leave preconceptions about indigenous culture at the front cover and be ready to come out the other side not only with a completely different understanding of indigeneity in Latin America, but also with a much wider understanding of how supposedly peripheral peoples actually impact the modern world.
The first translation into English of this thought-provoking novel includes a conluding essay by the translator suggesting that a helpful approach for the reader might be to see the work as enacting the never-quite-there poetics of translation underlying Guatemala’s indigenous heart. An afterword by Arturo Arias, the leading thinker on Indigenous modernities in Guatemala, offers important approaches to interpreting this challenging novel by showing how Guatemala’s colonial legacy cannot escape its racial overtones and sexual undertones as the nation-state struggles to find a suitable place in the modern world.