This volume offers new calendrical models and methodologies for reading, dating, and interpreting the general significance of the Madrid Codex. The longest of the surviving Maya codices, this manuscript includes texts and images painted by scribes conversant in Maya hieroglyphic writing, a written means of communication practiced by Maya elites from the second to the fifteenth centuries A.D. Some scholars have recently argued that the Madrid Codex originated in the Petén region of Guatemala and postdates European contact. The contributors to this volume challenge that view by demonstrating convincingly that it originated in northern Yucatán and was painted in the Pre-Columbian era. In addition, several contributors reveal provocative connections among the Madrid and Borgia group of codices from Central Mexico.
Contributors include: Harvey M. Bricker, Victoria R. Bricker, John F. Chuchiak IV, Christine L. Hernández, Bryan R. Just, Merideth Paxton, and John Pohl. Additional support for this publication was generously provided by the Eugene M. Kayden Fund at the University of Colorado.
Containing more than one-third of the world's bird species, the neotropical region surpasses all other zoogeographic regions in the diversity of its avian fauna. Though the exploration and cataloging stages of ornithology are now virtually complete, new species and undescribed subspecies of birds are still occasionally discovered. In this manual, Emmet R. Blake has drawn on his experience of forty-eight years in the field and laboratory to prepare a comprehensive, detailed, and authoritative synopsis of the avifauna of tropical America as now known.
In Maya Daykeeping, three divinatory calendars from highland Guatemala - examples of a Mayan literary tradition that includes the Popul Vuh, Annals of the Cakchiquels, and the Titles of the Lords of Totonicapan - dating to 1685, 1722, and 1855, are transcribed in K'iche or Kaqchikel side-by-side with English translations. Calendars such as these continue to be the basis for prognostication, determining everything from the time for planting and harvest to foreshadowing illness and death. Good, bad, and mixed fates can all be found in these examples of the solar calendar and the 260-day divinatory calendar.
The use of such calendars is mentioned in historical and ethnographic works, but very few examples are known to exist. Each of the three calendars transcribed and translated by John M. Weeks, Frauke Sachse, and Christian M. Prager - and housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - is unique in structure and content. Moreover, except for an unpublished study of the 1722 calendar by Rudolf Schuller and Oliver La Farge (1934), these little-known works appear to have escaped the attention of most scholars. Introductory essays contextualize each document in time and space, and a series of appendixes present previously unpublished calendrical notes assembled in the early twentieth century.
Providing considerable information on the divinatory use of calendars in colonial highland Maya society previously unavailable without a visit to the University of Pennsylvania's archives, Maya Daykeeping is an invaluable primary resource for Maya scholars. Mesoamerican Worlds Series
In The Mayan in the Mall, J. T. Way traces the creation of modern Guatemala from the 1920s to the present through a series of national and international development projects. Way shows that, far from being chronically underdeveloped, this nation of stark contrasts—where shopping malls and multinational corporate headquarters coexist with some of the Western Hemisphere's poorest and most violent slums—is the embodiment of globalized capitalism.
Using a wide array of historical and contemporary sources, Way explores the multiple intersections of development and individual life, focusing on the construction of social space through successive waves of land reform, urban planning, and economic policy. His explorations move from Guatemala City's poorest neighborhoods and informal economies (run predominantly by women) to a countryside still recovering from civil war and anti-Mayan genocide, and they encompass such artifacts of development as the modernist Pan-American Highway and the postmodern Grand Tikal Futura, a Mayan-themed shopping mall ringed by gated communities and shantytowns. Capitalist development, Way concludes, has dramatically reshaped the country's physical and social landscapes—engendering poverty, ethnic regionalism, and genocidal violence—and positioned Guatemala as a harbinger of globalization's future.
The Mayflies of North and Central America was first published in 1976. 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.
Mayflies have fascinated man for centuries because of the brief span of their adult lives. These aquatic insects spend most of their lives as nymphs in water, then develop into winged stages and soon die, most species having an adult life of only two or three days. This brevity is implied in the very name of the order, Ephemeroptera.
The mayflies are almost worldwide in distribution, being found everywhere except in Antarctica, the extreme Arctic, and many small oceanic islands. All by three of the twenty families in the world occur in North or Central America, the regions covered in this volume. The book provides a modern, useful, and well-illustrated key to the adults and nymphs. Data on habitats, behavior, and life history are given for each genus. Characteristics of nymphs and adults are given for families, subfamilies, and genera, with brief accounts for extralimital families.
A discussion of methods of collecting and preserving specimens precedes the main portion of the text. The book is generously illustrated with drawings, photographs, and a map.
The role of aquatic insects as indicators of water pollution has received increasing attention, and in this connection this book will be of special interest to those concerned with pollution problems. Mayflies, besides indicating the presence of pollutants, also help remove such substances from the waters, the authors explain.
As a basic reference work, the book is essential for all biological science libraries. Many fly-fishermen are amateur students of mayflies, since the nymphs of larger species are used as bait. With the help of this volume the fisherman can acquire a greater knowledge of aquatic entomology and relate to his sport.
Media Power in Central America
Rick Rockwell and Noreene Janus University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress P95.82.C35R63 2003 | Dewey Decimal 302.2309728
Media Power in Central America is the first book in a generation to explore the media landscape in Central America. It captures the political and cultural interplay between the media and those in power in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. Highlighting the subtle strangulation of opposition media voices in the region, the authors show how the years since the guerrilla wars have not yielded the free media systems that some had expected.
Country by country, the authors deal with the specific conditions of government-sponsored media repression, economic censorship, corruption, and consumer trends that shape the political landscape. Challenging the notion of the media as a democratizing force, Media Power in Central America shows how the media are used to block democratic reforms in the region and outlines the difficulties of playing watchdog to rulers who use the media as a tool of power.
In Memory Traces, art historians and archaeologists come together to examine the nature of sacred space in Mesoamerica. Through five well-known and important centers of political power and artistic invention in Mesoamerica—Tetitla at Teotihuacan, Tula Grande, the Mound of the Building Columns at El Tajín, the House of the Phalli at Chichén Itzá, and Tonina—contributors explore the process of recognizing and defining sacred space, how sacred spaces were viewed and used both physically and symbolically, and what theoretical approaches are most useful for art historians and archaeologists seeking to understand these places.
Memory Traces acknowledges that the creation, use, abandonment, and reuse of sacred space have a strongly recursive relation to collective memory and meanings linked to the places in question and reconciles issues of continuity and discontinuity of memory in ancient Mesoamerican sacred spaces. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Mesoamerican studies and material culture, art historians, architectural historians, and cultural anthropologists.
Contributors: Laura M. Amrhein, Nicholas P. Dunning, Rex Koontz, Cynthia Kristan-Graham, Matthew G. Looper, Travis Nygard, Keith M. Prufer, Matthew H. Robb, Patricia J. Sarro, Kaylee Spencer, Eric Weaver, Linnea Wren
The Mesoamerican Ballgame
Edited by Vernon L. Scarborough and David R. Wilcox University of Arizona Press, 1991 Library of Congress F1219.3.G3M47 1991 | Dewey Decimal 796.30896872
The Precolumbian ballgame, played on a masonry court, has long intrigued scholars because of the magnificence of its archaeological remains. From its lowland Maya origins it spread throughout the Aztec empire, where the game was so popular that sixteen thousand rubber balls were imported annually into Tenochtitlan. It endured for two thousand years, spreading as far as to what is now southern Arizona. This new collection of essays brings together research from field archaeology, mythology, and Maya hieroglyphic studies to illuminate this important yet puzzling aspect of Native American culture. The authors demonstrate that the game was more than a spectator sport; serving social, political, mythological, and cosmological functions, it celebrated both fertility and the afterlife, war and peace, and became an evolving institution functioning in part to resolve conflict within and between groups. The contributors provide complete coverage of the archaeological, sociopolitical, iconographic, and ideological aspects of the game, and offer new information on the distribution of ballcourts, new interpretations of mural art, and newly perceived relations of the game with material in the Popol Vuh. With its scholarly attention to a subject that will fascinate even general readers, The Mesoamerican Ballgame is a major contribution to the study of the mental life and outlook of New World peoples.
This innovative work aims to piece together the cultural biography of Mesoamerica’s precolonial codices. Today, fewer than twenty manuscripts are all that remain of the Mesoamerican book-making tradition. These pictographic and hieroglyphic texts have often been researched according to their content, but such studies have ignored their nature as material objects. By tracing the paths these books have followed over the past five hundred years, Ludo Snijders offers fascinating insights into their production, use and reuse, destruction, rediscovery, and reinvention.
Any overview of prehispanic society in the Americas would identify its obsidian core-blade production as a unique and highly inventive technology. Normally termed prismatic blades, these long, parallel-sided flakes are among the sharpest cutting tools ever produced by humans. Their standardized form permitted interchangeable use, and such blades became the cutting tool of choice throughout Mesoamerica between 600–800 B.C. Because considerable production skill is required, increased demand may have stimulated the appearance of craft specialists who played an integral role in Mesoamerican society. Some investigators have argued that control over obsidian also had a significant effect on the development and organization of chiefdom and state-level societies.
While researchers have long recognized the potential of obsidian studies, recent work has focused primarily on compositional analysis to reconstruct trade and distribution networks. Study of blade production has received much less attention, and many aspects of this highly evolved craft are still lost.
This volume seeks to identify current research questions in Mesoamerican lithic technology and to demonstrate that replication studies coupled with experimental research design are valuable analytical approaches to such questions.
Until now, archaeological and historical studies of Mesoamerican plazas have been scarce compared to studies of the surrounding monumental architecture such as pyramidal temples and palaces. Many scholars have assumed that ancient Mesoamericans invested their labor, wealth, and symbolic value in pyramids and other prominent buildings, viewing plazas as by-products of these buildings. Even when researchers have recognized the potential significance of plazas, they have thought that plazas as vacant spaces could offer few clues about their cultural and political roles. Mesoamerican Plazas challenges both of these assumptions.
The primary question that has motivated the contributors is how Mesoamerican plazas became arenas for the creation and negotiation of social relations and values in a community. The thirteen contributions stress the significance of interplay between power relations and embodied practices set in specific historical and material settings, as outlined by practice theory and performance theory. This approach allows the contributors to explore broader anthropological issues, such as the negotiation of power relations, community making, and the constitution of political authorities.
Overall, the contributions establish that physical interactions among people in communal events were not the outcomes of political machinations held behind the scenes, but were the actual political processes through which people created, negotiated, and subverted social realities. If so, spacious plazas that were arguably designed for interactions among a large number of individuals must have also provided critical arenas for the constitution and transformation of society.
In Mesoamerican Ritual Economy, scholars examine the extent to which economic processes were driven by and integrated with religious ritual in ancient Mesoamerica. The contributors explore how traditional rituals - human blood sacrifice and self-mutilation, "flowery wars" and battling butterfly warriors, sumptuous feasting with chocolate and tamales, and fantastic funerary rites - intertwined with all sectors of the economy. Examining the interplay between well-established religious rites and market forces of raw material acquisition, production, circulation, and consumption, this volume effectively questions the idea that materialism alone motivates the production, exchange, and use of objects.
Exploring the intersection of spirituality and materiality, Mesoamerican Ritual Economy will be of interest to all scholars studying how worldview and belief motivate economic behavior. The authors consider a diverse set of Mesoamerican cultural patterns in order to investigate the ways in which ritual and economic practices influenced each other in the operation of communities, small-scale societies, and state-level polities. Contributors include: Sarah B. Barber, Frances F. Berdan, Karla L. Davis-Salazar, Barbara W. Fash, William L. Fash, Antonia E. Foias, Arthur A. Joyce, Brigitte Kovacevich, Ben A. Nelson, Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría, Katherine A. Spielmann, John M. Watanabe, E. Christian Wells.
With the resignation of General Renee Emilio Ponce in March 1993, the Salvadorian army’s sixty-year domination of El Salvador came to an end. The country’s January 1992 peace accords stripped the military of the power it once enjoyed, placing many areas under civilian rule. Establishing civilian control during the transition to democracy was no easy task, especially for a country that had never experienced even a brief period of democracy in its history.
Phillip J. Williams and Knut Walter argue that prolonged military rule produced powerful obstacles that limited the possibilities for demilitarization in the wake of the peace accords. The failure of the accords to address several key aspects of the military’s political power had important implications for the democratic transition and for future civil-military relations.
Drawing on an impressive array of primary source materials and interviews, this book will be valuable to students, scholars, and policy makers concerned with civil-military relations, democratic transitions, and the peace process in Central America.
In Miniature Messages, Jack Child analyzes Latin American postage stamps, revealing the messages about history, culture, and politics encoded in their design and disseminated throughout the world. While postage stamps are a sanctioned product of official government agencies, Child argues that they accumulate popular cultural value and take on new meanings as they circulate in the public sphere. As he demonstrates in this richly illustrated study, the postage stamp conveys many of the contestations and triumphs of Latin American history.
Child combines history and political science with philatelic research of nearly forty thousand Latin American stamps. He focuses on Argentina and the Southern Cone, highlighting stamps representing the consolidation of the Argentine republic and those produced under its Peronist regime. He compares Chilean stamps issued by the leftist government of Salvador Allende and by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. Considering postage stamps produced under other dictatorial regimes, he examines stamps from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. Child studies how international conflicts have been depicted on the stamps of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and he pays particular attention to the role of South American and British stamps in establishing claims to the Malvinas/Falkland Islands and to Antarctica. He also covers the cultural and political history of stamps in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Grenada, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela and elsewhere. In Miniature Messages, Child finds the political history of modern Latin America in its “tiny posters.”
Modernity at Gunpoint provides the first study of the political and cultural significance of weaponry in the context of major armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America. In this highly original study, Sophie Esch approaches political violence through its most direct but also most symbolic tool: the firearm. In novels, songs, and photos of insurgency, firearms appear as artifacts, tropes, and props, through which artists negotiate conceptions of modernity, citizenship, and militancy. Esch grounds her analysis in important rereadings of canonical texts by Martín Luis Guzman, Nellie Campobello, Omar Cabezas, Gioconda Belli, Sergio Ramirez, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and others. Through the lens of the iconic firearm, Esch relates the story of the peasant insurgencies of the Mexican Revolution, the guerrilla warfare of the Sandinista Revolution, and the ongoing drug-related wars in Mexico and Central America, to highlight the historical, cultural, gendered, and political significance of weapons in this volatile region.
In Myths of Modernity, Elizabeth Dore rethinks Nicaragua’s transition to capitalism. Arguing against the idea that the country’s capitalist transformation was ushered in by the coffee boom that extended from 1870 to 1930, she maintains that coffee growing gave rise to systems of landowning and labor exploitation that impeded rather than promoted capitalist development. Dore places gender at the forefront of her analysis, which demonstrates that patriarchy was the organizing principle of the coffee economy’s debt-peonage system until the 1950s. She examines the gendered dynamics of daily life in Diriomo, a township in Nicaragua’s Granada region, tracing the history of the town’s Indian community from its inception in the colonial era to its demise in the early twentieth century.
Dore seamlessly combines archival research, oral history, and an innovative theoretical approach that unites political economy with social history. She recovers the bygone voices of peons, planters, and local officials within documents such as labor contracts, court records, and official correspondence. She juxtaposes these historical perspectives with those of contemporary peasants, landowners, activists, and politicians who share memories passed down to the present. The reconceptualization of the coffee economy that Dore elaborates has far-reaching implications. The Sandinistas mistakenly believed, she contends, that Nicaraguan capitalism was mature and ripe for socialist revolution, and after their victory in 1979 that belief led them to alienate many peasants by ignoring their demands for land. Thus, the Sandinistas’ myths of modernity contributed to their downfall.