chapter  3
32 Pages

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.