After Monte Albán reveals the richness and interregional relevance of Postclassic transformations in the area now known as Oaxaca, which lies between Central Mexico and the Maya area and, as contributors to this volume demonstrate, achieved cultural centrality in pan-Mesoamerican networks. Large nucleated states throughout Oaxaca collapsed after 700 C.E., including the great Zapotec state centered in the Valley of Oaxaca, Monte Albán. Elite culture changed in fundamental ways as small city-states proliferated in Oaxaca, each with a new ruling dynasty required to devise novel strategies of legitimization. The vast majority of the population, though, sustained continuity in lifestyle, religion, and cosmology.
Contributors synthesize these regional transformations and continuities in the lower Rio Verde Valley, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta. They provide data from material culture, architecture, codices, ethnohistoric documents, and ceramics, including a revised ceramic chronology from the Late Classic to the end of the Postclassic that will be crucial to future investigations. After Monte Albán establishes Postclassic Oaxaca's central place in the study of Mesoamerican antiquity.
Contributors include Jeffrey P. Blomster, Bruce E. Byland, Gerardo Gutierrez, Byron Ellsworth Hamann, Arthur A. Joyce, Stacie M. King, Michael D. Lind, Robert Markens, Cira Martínez López, Michel R. Oudijk, and Marcus Winter.
Bridging the Gaps: Integrating Archaeology and History in Oaxaca, Mexico does just that: it bridges the gap between archaeology and history of the Precolumbian, Colonial, and Republican eras of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, a cultural area encompassing several of the longest-enduring literate societies in the world.
Fourteen case studies from an interdisciplinary group of archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, and art historians consciously compare and contrast changes and continuities in material culture before and after the Spanish conquest, in Prehispanic and Colonial documents, and in oral traditions rooted in the present but reflecting upon the deep past. Contributors consider both indigenous and European perspectives while exposing and addressing the difficulties that arise from the application of this conjunctive approach.
Inspired by the late Dr. Bruce E. Byland’s work in the Mixteca, which exemplified the union of archaeological and historical evidence and inspired new generations of scholars, Bridging the Gaps promotes the practice of integrative studies to explore the complex intersections between social organization and political alliances, religion and sacred landscape, ethnic identity and mobility, colonialism and resistance, and territoriality and economic resources.
"Anthropologists Murphy and Stepick trace urbanization in the capital city of the state of Oaxaca for more than 2,000 years. Their study represents a micro perspective that describes the colonias populares, the poor neighborhoods, and the struggles of Oaxacans to survive and improve life in marginal communities.... The book is well organized, with excellent annotated footnotes and a reading list."
This may be the only book that analyzes the urbanization of one area from its origins more than two thousand years ago to the present. Arthur Murphy and Alex Stepick examine Oaxaca, Mexico, where they have been doing research regularly for the last twenty years. Paying particular attention to neighborhoods, families, and economic activities, they focus on issues of poverty and inequality.
Oaxaca is a city marked by socioeconomic inequality that has felt the alternating trends of integration into and isolation from the broader world. It is a city in which tens of thousands of households resolutely try to adapt, to survive and pass on something of themselves to their children. With rich ethnographic material and historical research, Murphy and Stepick describe gender roles, the dynamic nature of households, the importance of compadrazgo (co-godparenthood) as a social institution, class-based political struggles and strikes, and the role of children in redeeming their parents from poverty.
Individual life histories emerge from their research, each representing diverse class, familial, and economic structures within Oaxacan society.
"Murphy and Stepick catch Oaxaca at a special time in its history. When the illustrious works of theory in the academic disciplines have faded, when Foucault is a footnote and deconstruction derided, books like this one will still be valuable. A portrait of a city during the most difficult period of its country's recent economic history."
--Henry A. Selby (from the Foreword)
Between 1750 and 1850 Spanish American politics underwent a dramatic cultural shift as monarchist colonies gave way to independent states based at least nominally on popular sovereignty and republican citizenship. In The Time of Liberty, Peter Guardino explores the participation of subalterns in this grand transformation. He focuses on Mexico, comparing local politics in two parts of Oaxaca: the mestizo, urban Oaxaca City and the rural villages of nearby Villa Alta, where the population was mostly indigenous. Guardino challenges traditional assumptions that poverty and isolation alienated rural peasants from the political process. He shows that peasants and other subalterns were conscious and complex actors in political and ideological struggles and that popular politics played an important role in national politics in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Guardino makes extensive use of archival materials, including judicial transcripts and newspaper accounts, to illuminate the dramatic contrasts between the local politics of the city and of the countryside, describing in detail how both sets of citizens spoke and acted politically. He contends that although it was the elites who initiated the national change to republicanism, the transition took root only when engaged by subalterns. He convincingly argues that various aspects of the new political paradigms found adherents among even some of the most isolated segments of society and that any subsequent failure of electoral politics was due to an absence of pluralism rather than a lack of widespread political participation.
A massive uprising against the Mexican state of Oaxaca began with the emergence of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in June 2006. A coalition of more than 300 organizations, APPO disrupted the functions of Oaxaca's government for six months. It began to develop an inclusive and participatory political vision for the state. Testimonials were broadcast on radio and television stations appropriated by APPO, shared at public demonstrations, debated in homes and in the streets, and disseminated around the world via the Internet.
The movement was met with violent repression. Participants were imprisoned, tortured, and even killed. Lynn Stephen emphasizes the crucial role of testimony in human rights work, indigenous cultural history, community and indigenous radio, and women's articulation of their rights to speak and be heard. She also explores transborder support for APPO, particularly among Oaxacan immigrants in Los Angeles. The book is supplemented by a website featuring video testimonials, pictures, documents, and a timeline of key events.