External Constructions of “the Maya”
T h i s chapter deals with specific perspectives on “the M aya” in the world external to the Mayas themselves. It seeks to study the politics and practices of representing Maya culture by examining how Euro-American popular and academic discourses por tray the Maya of today and the cultural achievements of the ancient Maya civilization. In these representations, the modern Mayas are positioned in relation to archeological sites, traditional Maya prac tices, and their (lack of) knowledge of their glorious past. The repres entations that I deal with in this chapter are “ socially distant;” they are constructed about not by the Maya. Contemporary Maya selfidentification, agency, and cultural practices are absent.