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This translation of a major work in Mexican anthropology argues that Mesoamerican civilization is an ongoing and undeniable force in contemporary Mexican life. For Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, the remaining Indian communities, the "de-Indianized" rural mestizo communities, and vast sectors of the poor urban population constitute the México profundo. Their lives and ways of understanding the world continue to be rooted in Mesoamerican civilization. An ancient agricultural complex provides their food supply, and work is understood as a way of maintaining a harmonious relationship with the natural world. Health is related to human conduct, and community service is often part of each individual's life obligation. Time is circular, and humans fulfill their own cycle in relation to other cycles of the universe. Since the Conquest, Bonfil argues, the peoples of the México profundo have been dominated by an "imaginary México" imposed by the West. It is imaginary not because it does not exist, but because it denies the cultural reality lived daily by most Mexicans. Within the México profundo there exists an enormous body of accumulated knowledge, as well as successful patterns for living together and adapting to the natural world. To face the future successfully, argues Bonfil, Mexico must build on these strengths of Mesoamerican civilization, "one of the few original civilizations that humanity has created throughout all its history."
This translation of a major work in Mexican anthropology argues that Mesoamerican civilization is an ongoing and undeniable force in contemporary Mexican life. For Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, the remaining Indian communities, the "de-Indianized" rural mestizo communities, and vast sectors of the poor urban population constitute the México profundo. Their lives and ways of understanding the world continue to be rooted in Mesoamerican civilization. An ancient agricultural complex provides their food supply, and work is understood as a way of maintaining a harmonious relationship with the natural world. Health is related to human conduct, and community service is often part of each individual's life obligation. Time is circular, and humans fulfill their own cycle in relation to other cycles of the universe. Since the Conquest, Bonfil argues, the peoples of the México profundo have been dominated by an "imaginary México" imposed by the West. It is imaginary not because it does not exist, but because it denies the cultural reality lived daily by most Mexicans. Within the México profundo there exists an enormous body of accumulated knowledge, as well as successful patterns for living together and adapting to the natural world. To face the future successfully, argues Bonfil, Mexico must build on these strengths of Mesoamerican civilization, "one of the few original civilizations that humanity has created throughout all its history."
This authoritative book provides a deeply informed overview of one of the most dynamic social movements in Latin America. Focusing on contemporary Indigenous movements in Ecuador, leading scholar Marc Becker traces the growing influence of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which in 1990 led a powerful uprising that dramatically placed a struggle for Indigenous rights at the center of public consciousness. Activists began to refer to this uprising as a "pachakutik," a Kichwa word that means change, rebirth, and transformation, both in the sense of a return in time and the coming of a new era. Five years later, proponents launched a new political movement called Pachakutik to compete for elected office. In 2006, Ecuadorians elected Rafael Correa, who many saw as emblematic of the new Latin American left, to the presidency of the country. Even though CONAIE, Pachakutik, and Correa shared similar concerns for social justice, they soon came into conflict with each other. Becker examines the competing strategies and philosophies that emerge when social movements and political parties embrace comparable visions but follow different paths to realize their objectives. In exploring the multiple and conflictive strategies that Indigenous movements have followed over the past twenty years, he definitively documents the recent history and charts the trajectory of one of the Americas' most powerful and best organized social movements.
Five hundred years ago, the army of conquest led by Hernan Cortés marched hundreds of miles across a rugged swath of land from Veracruz on the Mexican Caribbean to the capital city of the Aztecs, now Mexico City. This journey was the catalyst for profound cultural and political change in Mesoamerica. Today, many Mexicans view the Ruta de Cortés as a symbol of an event that forever changed the course of their history. But few U.S. Americans understand how the conquest still affects Mexicans’ national identity and their relationship with the United States. Following the route of Hernán Cortés, In the Shadow of Cortés offers a visual and cultural history of the legacy of contact between Spaniards and indigenous civilizations. The book is a reflective journey that presents a diversity of voices, images, and ideas about history and conquest. Specialist in Mexican culture Kathleen Ann Myers teams up with prize-winning translators and photographers to offer a unique reading experience that combines accessible interpretative essays with beautifully translated interviews and dozens of historical and contemporary black-and-white and color images, including some by award-winner Steven Raymer. The result offers readers multiple perspectives on these pivotal events as imagined and re-envisioned today by Mexicans both in their homeland and in the United States. In the Shadow of Cortés offers an extensive visual narrative about conquest and, ultimately, about Mexican history. It traces the symbolic geography of the conquest and shows how the historical memory of colonialism continues to shape lives today.
Looks at the history of Mexico, from its pre-Hispanic period until the present day.
Each October, as the Day of the Dead draws near, Mexican markets overflow with decorated breads, fanciful paper cutouts, and whimsical toy skulls and skeletons. To honor deceased relatives, Mexicans decorate graves and erect home altars. Drawing on a rich array of historical and ethnographic evidence, this volume reveals the origin and changing character of this celebrated holiday. It explores the emergence of the Day of the Dead as a symbol of Mexican and Mexican-American national identity. Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead poses a serious challenge to the widespread stereotype of the morbid Mexican, unafraid of death, and obsessed with dying. In fact, the Day of the Dead, as shown here, is a powerful affirmation of life and creativity. Beautifully illustrated, this book is essential for anyone interested in Mexican culture, art, and folklore, as well as contemporary globalization and identity formation.
Ángel Rama was one of twentieth-century Latin America's most distinguished men of letters. Writing across Cultures is his comprehensive analysis of the varied sources of Latin American literature. Originally published in 1982, the book links Rama's work on Spanish American modernism with his arguments about the innovative nature of regionalist literature, and it foregrounds his thinking about the close relationship between literary movements, such as modernism or regionalism, and global trends in social and economic development. In Writing across Cultures, Rama extends the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz's theory of transculturation far beyond Cuba, bringing it to bear on regional cultures across Latin America, where new cultural arrangements have been forming among indigenous, African, and European societies for the better part of five centuries. Rama applies this concept to the work of the Peruvian novelist, poet, and anthropologist José María Arguedas, whose writing drew on both Spanish and Quechua, Peru's two major languages and, by extension, cultures. Rama considered Arguedas's novel Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers) to be the most accomplished example of narrative transculturation in Latin America. Writing across Cultures is the second of Rama's books to be translated into English.

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