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Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion (Latin American Perspectives in the Classroom) Paperback – September 3, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0742511484 ISBN-10: 0742511480

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Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: The Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion (Latin American Perspectives in the Classroom) + Intimate Enemies: Landowners, Power, and Violence in Chiapas
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Product Details

  • Series: Latin American Perspectives in the Classroom
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742511480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742511484
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A compelling and essential volume for understanding the complexities of Chiapas, its people—the indigenous citizens but also the state—and the context of the polarized moment in that part of the world. (Todd Eisenstadt, American University)

This important set of articles is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of indigenous societies in the midst of the process of globalization. Its integration of the complexities of geography, cultures, and history poses fundamental questions for the future of humanity. By explaining with sympathetic detail the origins of the underlying tensions and the vast array of resources that local communities can mobilize, the authors also pose fundamental questions for students concerned about their own futures... (David Barkin, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana)

From the foreword: It is an extraordinary thing for a book to be born a classic. And yet this is the fate that surely awaits Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias. This book fills a niche that has until now been empty, that of providing real histories of Chiapas' many indigenous societies—societies that up to now have too often been regarded by outsiders as a monolithic whole, without details or differences. Indispensable—provides a long-needed historical benchmark.... (Samuel Ruiz García, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

A book of deep wisdom; canny insight; trustworthy accounts from the inside; radical honesty from the outside; comprehensive sympathy with its subjects; precise sensitivity to nuance and difference; acute social, political, and cultural analysis; masterlyevaluation; cogent argument; and wonderful clarity in explanation. It is the most authoritative work in any language on Chiapas's contemporary Mayans, their struggles, and their hopes.... (John Womack Jr., Harvard University)

One of the best collections I have seen on the Zapatista Rebellion and its implications for Mexican politics and society. The authors facilitate a multidisciplinary, intimate understanding of the complex causes and consequences of peasant and indigenous rebellion. (Donna Lee Van Cott, University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

This important set of articles is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of indigenous societies in the midst ofthe process of globalization. Its integration of the complexities of geography, cultures, and history poses fundamental questions for the future of humanity. By explaining with sympathetic detail the origins of the underlying tensions and the vast array of resources that local communities can mobilize, the authors also pose fundamental questions for students concerned about their own futures. (David Barkin, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana)

From the foreword:It is an extraordinary thing for a book to be born a classic. And yet this is the fate that surely awaits Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias. This book fills a niche that has until now been empty, that of providing real histories of Chiapas' many indigenous societies—societies that up to now have too often been regarded by outsiders as a monolithic whole, without details or differences. Indispensable—provides a long-needed historical benchmark. (Samuel Ruiz García, Bishop Emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)

A book of deep wisdom; canny insight; trustworthy accounts from the inside; radical honesty from the outside; comprehensive sympathy with its subjects; precise sensitivity to nuance and difference; acute social, political, and cultural analysis; masterly evaluation; cogent argument; and wonderful clarity in explanation. It is the most authoritative work in any language on Chiapas'scontemporary Mayans, their struggles, and their hopes. (John Womack Jr., Harvard University)

A welcome addition to the literature. . . . The book's introduction provides a cogent discussion of how, over decades, economic crisis has produced Indian mobilizations and finally rebellion, while the final three essays usefully explore Mexico's continuing national debate over Indian rights and autonomy. . . . Highly recommended. (CHOICE)

An important contribution to our understanding of what has happened in Chiapas, and why. As such, it will be of immense use to anthropologists, historians, sociologists and political scientists interested in the relationship between indigenous peoples and the nation-state in post-colonial societies. It will also appeal to Mexicanists and scholars of Latin America grappling with the social, economic and political legacy of the region's long history of globalization and the more recent demise of corporate structures of governance. (Journal Of Parapsychology)

Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias brims with factual details and insider knowledge, complemented by original maps of the region and numerous photographs. Even specialists are sure to find new information and insights, while novices will find a compelling introduction to the topic. (Hispanic American Historical Review)

This edited collection is essential reading for anyone desiring a historically complex and ethnographically and politically sophisticated understanding of the roots of the Capatista rebellion and its impact on Mayan indigenous communities.Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopies is an outstanding text that offers one of the most complex, honest, and sophisticated analyses of the impact of the Zapatista rebellion on indigenous peoples in Mexico and on the political future of the Mexican nation. (Lynn Stephen, University of Oregon Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute)

About the Author

Jan Rus is director of the Native Language Publishing Project, Instituto de Asesor'a Antropol-gica para la Regi-n Maya, A.C., San Crist-bal, Chiapas. Rosalva A'da HernOndez Castillo is a senior researcher at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico City. Shannan L. Mattiace is assistant professor of political science, Allegheny College.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Howard J. Lamson on August 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jan Rus and company have compiled some well-researched articles by scholars who have devoted many years living with and studying indigenous communities in Chiapas.

This book is a well-organized anthropological-historical analysis of the emergence of the Zapatista rebellion and the response by the different indigenous groups who are seeking to develop their identity and their communities in a changing Mexico. An excellent introduction and well-written articles make this text essential for a balanced and insightful understanding of the groups seeking autonomy and democracy in Chiapas and Mexico.
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Format: Paperback
I read about two-thirds of this book, until it started sounding too repetition (Indian autonomy, Indian autonomy, Indian autonomy...). After that I gave up on it. But what I read made clear discussion of the situation of the Maya Indians of southern Mexico as they live and work in today's world. I've read anthropological works about the Chamula Indians from the 1950's and 1960's, but I didn't know what today's Maya were up to until I read this book.

The book is written by scholars and political scientists, and it offers a cogent look at the background of today's Maya Indians, their economic situation, and how their politics have evolved over the past century or so. It discusses the Zapatista movement and what the Indians who were involved in it hoped to get out of it, and it lays out the very messy political situation in the Chiapas highlands around the 1990's and early 2000's, when the Zapatists movement was going on. The situation that is being presented is a nightmare of conflicting interests, economically and politically. It seems a miracle that any Maya survived this situation at all. The basic argument is that lack of land coupled with overpopulation and reforms in agriculture have deprived many Maya of their livelihoods, leading to unrest. The economy of Chiapas is depressed, due to forces beyond the control of the locals, and government programs to provide relief have had heavy price tags tacked on. Some Indians want to work with the government, some want to fight it, some want to organize alternate political parties to provide their own solutions. Traditionalist Indians are pitted against Christian Indians, and cultural Indians are pitted against Mexicanized Indians (Ladinos).
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