Gender was a fluid potential, not a fixed category, before the Spaniards came to Mesoamerica. Childhood training and ritual shaped, but did not set, adult gender, which could encompass third genders and alternative sexualities as well as "male" and "female." At the height of the Classic period, Maya rulers presented themselves as embodying the entire range of gender possibilities, from male through female, by wearing blended costumes and playing male and female roles in state ceremonies.
This landmark book offers the first comprehensive description and analysis of gender and power relations in prehispanic Mesoamerica from the Formative Period Olmec world (ca. 1500-500 BC) through the Postclassic Maya and Aztec societies of the sixteenth century AD. Using approaches from contemporary gender theory, Rosemary Joyce explores how Mesoamericans created human images to represent idealized notions of what it meant to be male and female and to depict proper gender roles. She then juxtaposes these images with archaeological evidence from burials, house sites, and body ornaments, which reveals that real gender roles were more fluid and variable than the stereotyped images suggest.
In 1979, toward the end of the Cold War era, Nicaragua's Sandinista movement emerged on the world stage claiming to represent a new form of socialism. Gendered Scenarios of Revolution is a historical ethnography of Sandinista state formation from the perspective of El Tule-a peasant village that was itself thrust onto a national and international stage as a "model" Sandinista community. This book follows the villagers´ story as they joined the Sandinista movement, performed revolution before a world audience, and grappled with the lessons of this experience in the neoliberal aftermath.
Employing an approach that combines political economy and cultural analysis, Montoya argues that the Sandinistas collapsed gender contradictions into class ones, and that as the Contra War exacerbated political and economic crises in the country, the Sandinistas increasingly ruled by mandate as vanguard party instead of creating the participatory democracy that they professed to work toward. In El Tule this meant that even though the Sandinistas created new roles and possibilities for women and men, over time they upheld pre-revolutionary patriarchal social structures. Yet in showing how the revolution created opportunities for Tuleños to assert their agency and advance their interests, even against the Sandinistas´ own interests, this book offers a reinterpretation of the revolution´s supposed failure.
Examining this community’s experience in the Sandinista and post-Sandinista periods offers perspective on both processes of revolutionary transformation and their legacies in the neoliberal era. Gendered Scenarios of Revolution will engage graduate and undergraduate students and scholars in anthropology, sociology, history, and women’s and gender studies, and appeal to anyone interested in modern revolution and its aftermath.
Analyzes the German role in Central American domestic and international relations
Using previously untapped resources including private collections, the records of cultural institutions, and federal and state government archives, Schoonover analyzes the German role in Central American domestic and international relations.Of the four countries most active in independent Central America-Britain, the United States, France, and Germany- historians know the least about the full extent of the involvement of the Germans.
German colonial expansion was based on its position as an industrialized state seeking economic well-being and security in a growing world market. German leaders were quick to recognize that ties to the cheap labor of overseas countries could compensate for some of the costs and burdens of conceding material and social privileges to their domestic labor force. The Central American societies possessed limited resource bases; smaller and poorly educated populations; and less capital, communications, and technological development than Germany. They saw the borrowing of development as a key to their social, economic, and political progress. Wary Central American leaders also saw the influx of German industrialists as assurance against excessive U.S. presence in their political economies and cultures.
Although the simplistic bargain to trade economic development for cheap labor appeared to succeed in the short term, complex issues of German domestic unemployment and social disorder filtered to Central American countries and added to their own burdens. By 1929, Germany had recovered most of its pre-World War I economic position.
In recent years, sustainable development has emerged as a central goal of the World Bank and grassroots activists alike. In Grassroots Struggles for Sustainability in Central America, Lynn R. Horton explores the implications of this new, often contested discourse and related policies for Central America's rural and indigenous poor. Drawing on the testimony of leaders and residents of three communities in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, Horton explores grassroots assumptions, values, and practices of sustainable development and, in particular, the ways in which they overlap with or challenge international financial institutions' discourse of sustainability.
With a comparative, empirical approach, Horton also analyzes dominant practices linked to sustainable development - neoliberal reforms, project interventions, and environmental protection. She reveals how these practices support or undermine economic, cultural, and political opportunities for the rural and indigenous poor and impact these communities' advancement of their own visions of sustainability. Finally, the author explores processes of empowerment that enable communities to articulate and put into practice local visions of sustainability, which contribute toward broader social and structural transformations.
Grassroots Struggles for Sustainability in Central America will interest sociologists, anthropologists, and others who study the theory and practice of sustainable development.
In The Great Maya Droughts in Cultural Context, contributors reject the popularized link between societal collapse and drought in Maya civilization, arguing that a series of periodic “collapses,” including the infamous Terminal Classic collapse (AD 750–1050), were not caused solely by climate change–related droughts but by a combination of other social, political, and environmental factors. New and senior scholars of archaeology and environmental science explore the timing and intensity of droughts and provide a nuanced understanding of socio-ecological dynamics, with specific reference to what makes communities resilient or vulnerable when faced with environmental change.Contributors recognize the existence of four droughts that correlate with periods of demographic and political decline and identify a variety of concurrent political and social issues. They argue that these primary underlying factors were exacerbated by drought conditions and ultimately led to societal transitions that were by no means uniform across various sites and subregions. They also deconstruct the concept of “collapse” itself—although the line of Maya kings ended with the Terminal Classic collapse, the Maya people and their civilization survived.
The Great Maya Droughts in Cultural Context offers new insights into the complicated series of events that impacted the decline of Maya civilization. This significant contribution to our increasingly comprehensive understanding of ancient Maya culture will be of interest to students and scholars of archaeology, anthropology, geography, and environmental studies.
In this creative ethnography Les W. Field challenges a post-Sandinista national conception of identity, one that threatens to constrict the future of subaltern Nicaraguans. Drawing on the works and words of artisans and artisanas, Indians, and mestizos, Field critiques the national ideology of ethnic homogeneity and analyzes the new forms of social movement that have distinguished late-twentieth-century Nicaragua. As a framework for these analytic discussions, Field uses the colonial-era play El Güegüence o Macho Ratón and the literature relating to it. Elite appropriations of El Güegüence construe it as an allegory of mestizo national identity in which mestizaje is defined as the production of a national majority of ethnically bounded non-Indians in active collaboration with the state. By contrast, Field interprets the play as a parable of cultural history and not a declaration of cultural identity, a scatological reflection on power and the state, and an evocation of collective loss and humor broadly associated with the national experience of disempowered social groups. By engaging with those most intimately involved in the performance of the play—and by including essays by some of these artisans—Field shows how El Güegüence tells a story about the passing of time, the absurdity of authority, and the contradictions of coping with inheritances of the past. Refusing essentialist notions of what it means to be Indian or artisan, Field explains the reemergence of politicized indigenous identity in western Nicaragua and relates this to the longer history of artisan political organization. Parting ways with many scholars who associate the notion of mestizaje with identity loss and hegemony, Field emphasizes its creative, productive, and insightful meanings. With an emphasis on the particular struggles of women artisans, he explores the reasons why forms of collective identity have posed various kinds of predicaments for this marginalized class of western Nicaraguans. This book will appeal to readers beyond the field of Latin American anthropology, including students and scholars of literature, intellectual history, women’s studies, and the politics of ethnicity.
Guatemala was first published in 1940. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This reader brings together more than 200 texts and images in a broad introduction to Guatemala's history, culture, and politics. In choosing the selections, the editors sought to avoid representing the country only in terms of its long experience of conflict, racism, and violence. And so, while offering many perspectives on that violence, this anthology portrays Guatemala as a real place where people experience joys and sorrows that cannot be reduced to the contretemps of resistance and repression. It includes not only the opinions of politicians, activists, and scholars, but also poems, songs, plays, jokes, novels, short stories, recipes, art, and photographs that capture the diversity of everyday life in Guatemala. The editors introduce all of the selections, from the first piece, an excerpt from the Popol Vuh, a mid-sixteenth-century text believed to be the single most important source documenting pre-Hispanic Maya culture, through the final selections, which explore contemporary Guatemala in relation to neoliberalism, multiculturalism, and the dynamics of migration to the United States and of immigrant life. Many pieces were originally published in Spanish, and most of those appear in English for the first time.
Violence in Central America, especially when directed against Indian populations, is not a new phenomenon. Yet few studies of the region have focused specifi cally on the relationship between Indians and the state, a relationship that may hold the key to understanding these conflicts. In this volume, noted historians and anthropologists pool their considerable expertise to analyze the situation in Guatemala, working from the premise that the Indian/state relationship is the single most important determinant of Guatemala’s distinctive history and social order. In chapters by such respected scholars as Robert Cormack, Ralph Lee Woodward, Christopher Lutz, Richard Adams, and Arturo Arias, the history of Indian activism in Guatemala unfolds. The authors reveal that the insistence of Guatemalan Indians on maintaining their distinctive cultural practices and traditions in the face of state attempts to eradicate them appears to have fostered the development of an increasingly oppressive state.
This historical insight into the forces that shaped modern Guatemala provides a context for understanding the extraordinary level of violence that enveloped the Indians of the western highlands in the 1980s, the continued massive assault on traditional religious and secular culture, the movement from a militarized state to a militarized civil society, and the major transformations taking place in Guatemala’s traditional export-oriented economy. In this sense, Guatemalan Indians and the State, 1540 to 1988 provides a revisionist social history of Guatemala.
Brand warfare is real. Guerrilla Marketing details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.
Full of rich, unforgettable ethnographic stories, Guerrilla Marketing is a stunning and troubling analysis of the mediation of global conflict.
Carnivores such as pumas, jaguars, and ocelots have roamed the neotropical forests of Central America for millennia. Enshrined in the myths of the ancient Maya, they still inspire awe in the region’s current inhabitants, as well as in the ecotourists and researchers who come to experience Central America’s diverse and increasingly endangered natural environment. This book is one of the first field guides dedicated to the carnivores of Central America. It describes the four indigenous families—wild cats, raccoons and their relatives, skunks and their relatives, and wild canids—and their individual species that live in the region. The authors introduce each species by recounting a first-person encounter with it, followed by concise explanations of its taxonomy, scientific name, English and Spanish common names, habitat, natural history, and conservation status. Range maps show the animal’s past and current distribution, while Claudia Nocke’s black-and-white drawings portray it visually. The concluding chapter looks to the carnivores’ future, including threats posed by habitat destruction and other human activities, and describes some current conservation programs. Designed for citizens of and visitors to Central America, as well as specialists, this book offers an excellent introduction to a group of fascinating, threatened, and still imperfectly understood animals.