Becoming Creole explores how people become who they are through their relationships with the natural world, and it shows how those relationships are also always embedded in processes of racialization that create blackness, brownness, and whiteness. Taking the reader into the lived experience of Afro-Caribbean people who call the watery lowlands of Belize home, Melissa A. Johnson traces Belizean Creole peoples’ relationships with the plants, animals, water, and soils around them, and analyzes how these relationships intersect with transnational racial assemblages. She provides a sustained analysis of how processes of racialization are always present in the entanglements between people and the non-human worlds in which they live.
In the continuing U.S. debate over illegal immigration, a human face has rarely been shown. The topic has been presented as a monolithic abstraction, a creation of statistics, political rhetoric, and fear. This collection of letters between undocumented immigrants in California and their families back home reveals the other side of the story. Published for the first time in paperback, Between the Lines reveals the often poignant human drama currently being played out along the U.S.-Mexico border. The letters, presented in Spanish and English, express powerful feelings of hope, uncertainty, and fear among the undocumented travelers as they arrive in the United States and seek work, social support and legal status. The letters from their families in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador return feelings of hope, love, and support. Translator/editor Siems provides a powerful and lyrical introductory essay that sets the stage for the letters that follow.
During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders. Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.
Beyond Repair? explores Mayan women’s agency in the search for redress for harm suffered during the genocidal violence perpetrated by the Guatemalan state in the early 1980s at the height of the thirty-six-year armed conflict. The book draws on eight years of feminist participatory action research conducted with fifty-four Q’eqchi’, Kaqchikel, Chuj, and Mam women who are seeking truth, justice, and reparation for the violence they experienced during the war, and the women’s rights activists, lawyers, psychologists, Mayan rights activists, and researchers who have accompanied them as intermediaries for over a decade. Alison Crosby and M. Brinton Lykes use the concept of “protagonism” to deconstruct dominant psychological discursive constructions of women as “victims,” “survivors,” “selves,” “individuals,” and/or “subjects.” They argue that at different moments Mayan women have been actively engaged as protagonists in constructivist and discursive performances through which they have narrated new, mobile meanings of “Mayan woman,” repositioning themselves at the interstices of multiple communities and in their pursuit of redress for harm suffered.
Many of the earliest Africans to arrive in the Americas came to Central America with Spanish colonists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and people of African descent constituted the majority of nonindigenous populations in the region long thereafter. Yet in the development of national identities and historical consciousness, Central American nations have often countenanced widespread practices of social, political, and regional exclusion of blacks. The postcolonial development of mestizo or mixed-race ideologies of national identity have systematically downplayed African ancestry and social and political involvement in favor of Spanish and Indian heritage and contributions. In addition, a powerful sense of place and belonging has led many peoples of African descent in Central America to identify themselves as something other than African American, reinforcing the tendency of local and foreign scholars to see Central America as peripheral to the African diaspora in the Americas. The essays in this collection begin to recover the forgotten and downplayed histories of blacks in Central America, demonstrating the centrality of African Americans to the region’s history from the earliest colonial times to the present. They reveal how modern nationalist attempts to define mixed-race majorities as “Indo-Hispanic,” or as anything but African American, clash with the historical record of the first region of the Americas in which African Americans not only gained the right to vote but repeatedly held high office, including the presidency, following independence from Spain in 1821.
Contributors. Rina Cáceres Gómez, Lowell Gudmundson, Ronald Harpelle, Juliet Hooker, Catherine Komisaruk, Russell Lohse, Paul Lokken, Mauricio Meléndez Obando, Karl H. Offen, Lara Putnam, Justin Wolfe
Over the latter half of the twentieth century, the Guatemalan state slaughtered more than two hundred thousand of its citizens. In the wake of this violence, a vibrant pan-Mayan movement has emerged, one that is challenging Ladino (non-indigenous) notions of citizenship and national identity. In The Blood of Guatemala Greg Grandin locates the origins of this ethnic resurgence within the social processes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century state formation rather than in the ruins of the national project of recent decades. Focusing on Mayan elites in the community of Quetzaltenango, Grandin shows how their efforts to maintain authority over the indigenous population and secure political power in relation to non-Indians played a crucial role in the formation of the Guatemalan nation. To explore the close connection between nationalism, state power, ethnic identity, and political violence, Grandin draws on sources as diverse as photographs, public rituals, oral testimony, literature, and a collection of previously untapped documents written during the nineteenth century. He explains how the cultural anxiety brought about by Guatemala’s transition to coffee capitalism during this period led Mayan patriarchs to develop understandings of race and nation that were contrary to Ladino notions of assimilation and progress. This alternative national vision, however, could not take hold in a country plagued by class and ethnic divisions. In the years prior to the 1954 coup, class conflict became impossible to contain as the elites violently opposed land claims made by indigenous peasants. This “history of power” reconsiders the way scholars understand the history of Guatemala and will be relevant to those studying nation building and indigenous communities across Latin America.
During the last 20 years new techniques in osteology have yielded findings on Maya diet and health that challenge the ecological model of collapse. This volume, which includes an index bibliography of the first 150 years of Maya osteology, brings together for the first time a broad spectrum of bioarchaeologists and reveals remarkable data on Maya genetic relationship, demographic, and diseases.
Contributors: Carl Armstrong, Jane E. Buikstra , Diane Z. Chase
Mark N. Cohen , Della Collins Cook, Marie Elaine Danforth, Andres del Angel
Robert E. Ferrell, John P. Gerry, Karen D. Gettelman, Lorena M. Havill, Keith P. Jacobi, Harold W. Krueger, Nora M. Lopez Olivares, Lourdes Marquez, Virginia K. Massey, D. Andrew Merriwether, Kathleen O'Connor, K. Anne Pyburn, David M. Reed, Frank P. Saul, Julie Mather Saul, D. Gentry Steele, Rebecca Storey, Diane M. Warren, David Webster, Christine D. White, Stephen L. Whittington, Lori E. Wright
The construction, maintenance, and defense of the Panama Canal brought Panamanians, U.S. soldiers and civilians, West Indians, Asians, and Latin Americans into close, even intimate, contact. In this lively and provocative social history, Michael E. Donoghue positions the Panama Canal Zone as an imperial borderland where U.S. power, culture, and ideology were projected and contested. Highlighting race as both an overt and underlying force that shaped life in and beyond the Zone, Donoghue details how local traditions and colonial policies interacted and frequently clashed. Panamanians responded to U.S. occupation with proclamations, protests, and everyday forms of resistance and acquiescence. Although U.S. "Zonians" and military personnel stigmatized Panamanians as racial inferiors, they also sought them out for service labor, contraband, sexual pleasure, and marriage. The Canal Zone, he concludes, reproduced classic colonial hierarchies of race, national identity, and gender, establishing a model for other U.S. bases and imperial outposts around the globe.