Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volume 6: Ethnology

University of Texas Press
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In 1981, UT Press began to issue supplemental volumes to the classic sixteen-volume work, Handbook of Middle American Indians. These supplements are intended to update scholarship in various areas and to cover topics of current interest. Supplements devoted to Archaeology, Linguistics, Literatures, Ethnohistory, and Epigraphy have appeared to date.

In this Ethnology supplement, anthropologists who have carried out long-term fieldwork among indigenous people review the ethnographic literature in the various regions of Middle America and discuss the theoretical and methodological orientations that have framed the work of areal scholars over the last several decades. They examine how research agendas have developed in relationship to broader interests in the field and the ways in which the anthropology of the region has responded to the sociopolitical and economic policies of Mexico and Guatemala. Most importantly, they focus on the changing conditions of life of the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. This volume thus offers a comprehensive picture of both the indigenous populations and developments in the anthropology of the region over the last thirty years.

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About the author

Victoria R. Bricker is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Tulane University.

John D. Monaghan is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Texas Press
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Published on
Jun 28, 2010
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Pages
350
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ISBN
9780292791787
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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This content is DRM free.
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Through an 'ethnography of ethnographers', this volume explores the varied ways in which anthropologists become and remain attracted to the discipline. The contributors reflect on the initial preconceptions, assumptions and expectations of themselves as young anthropologists, and on the ways in which early decisions are made about fieldwork and about the selection of field locations. They question how fieldworkers come to understand what anthropology is, both as a profession and as a personal experience, through their commitments in the field, in academic departments and in contexts where their 'specialist knowledge' is called upon and applied. They discuss the nature of reflexivity that emerges out of anthropological practices, and the ways in which this reflexivity affects ethnographic practices. Providing reflections on fieldwork in such diverse places as Alaska, Melanesia, New York and India, the volume critically reflects on the field as a culturally constructed site, with blurred boundaries that allow the personal and the professional to permeate each other. It addresses the 'politics of location' that shape the anthropologists' involvement in 'the field', in teaching rooms, in development projects and in activist engagements. The journeys described extend beyond 'the field' and into inter-disciplinary projects, commissions, colleges and personal spheres. These original and critical contributions provide fascinating insights into the relationship between anthropologists and the nature of the discipline.
The sixteen-volume Handbook of Middle American Indians, completed in 1976, has been acclaimed the world over as the single most valuable resource ever produced for those involved in the study of Mesoamerica. When it was determined in 1978 that the Handbook should be updated periodically, Victoria Reifler Bricker, well-known cultural anthropologist, was elected to be general editor.

This third volume of the Supplement is devoted to the aboriginal literatures of Mesoamerica, a topic receiving little attention in the original Handbook. According to the general editor, "This volume does more than supplement and update the coverage of Middle American Indian literatures in the Handbook. It breaks new ground by defining the parameters of a new interdisciplinary field in Middle American Indian studies."

The aim of the present volume is to consider literature from five Middle American Indian languages: Nahuatl, Yucatecan Maya, Quiche, Tzotzil, and Chorti. The first three literatures are well documented for both the Classical and Modern variants of their languages and are obvious candidates for inclusion in this volume. The literatures of Tzotzil and Chorti, on the other hand, are oral, and heretofore little has been written of their genres and styles.

Taken together, these essays represent a substantial contribution to the Handbook series, with the volume editor's introduction placing in geographic perspective the five literatures chosen as representative of the Middle American literary tradition.

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