This volume brings together eight Maya specialists and a prominent anthropological theorist as discussant to assess the contrasting historical circumstances and emerging cultural futures of Maya in Mexico and Guatemala. Rather than presume a romanticized, timeless Maya culture-or the globalized predicaments of transnationalized Maya imaginings-this seminar took its cue from contemporary Maya cultural activists who derive their enduring sense of Mayan-ness from a historical consciousness of five hundred years of cultural resilience. The contributors evaluate the history of Maya peoples and Maya anthropology by examining language, religion, political attitudes and activism, ethnographic traditions, and the relationship between economic change, migration, and cultural identity.
In comparing Maya peoples across Mexico and Guatemala, the contributors' emphasis on culture recovers intermediate linkages between the personal and the political, the local and the global. Their work enables a controlled cross-cultural comparison across national boundaries and histories that in turn illuminates the articulation between locally constructed meanings and global transformations.