Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World

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University of Texas Press, 1992 - History - 280 pages
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"The Maya of Santiago Chimaltenango have experienced increasingly rapid, even violent, integration into Guatemalan society in the last fifty years, yet they still distinguish themselves ethnically from Spanish-speaking Guatemalans and other Maya. Why this sense of ethnic identity persists--and also changes--over time is the focus of Maya Saints and Souls in a Changing World, a beautifully written ethnography of a Mam-speaking Maya town in the western highlands of Guatemala." "John Watanabe, perhaps the only contemporary scholar of the region who speaks Mam, lived in the community from 1978 to 1980, with revisits in 1981 and 1988 that bracket the political violence that engulfed the highlands during the 1980s. Rather than take the community as a given within which changes occur, he uniquely explores how Chimaltecos themselves define their local distinctiveness. This approach uncovers significant continuities in lifeways and worldview that might otherwise remain imperceptible to an outsider." "Another important feature of the study is that it updates Charles Wagley's pioneering research in the community during the 1930s. Watanabe identifies both the external, historical factors that have prompted change in the community since Wagley's time and the people's responses to these changes." "Although many experts argue that contemporary indigenous cultures in Latin America have been shaped largely by conquest and colonialism, Watanabe concludes that Maya culture remains a cohesive force in the highlands of Guatemala, continuing to mold the self-perception of the people. This provocative finding will be of interest to all students of indigenous cultures."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Santiago Chimaltenango
Newly cleared summer milpas on the flanks of Ptxon

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