In the Museum of Maya Culture


Book Details

Author  Quetzil Castaneda
Publisher  University of Minnesota Press
Publication Date   July 1, 1996
ISBN  0816626723
Pages  341

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In 1923, Anglo-American anthropologists, in collusion with Mexican colleagues, Yucatec revolutionary leaders, and Maya workmen, began to peel back the tropical jungle of Yucaten to create the modern ruins of the ancient city of Chichen Itza. This convergence of opposing interests and agendas transformed Chichen into a factory of knowledge and laid the infra structural groundwork for tourism in the region by creating a museum of Maya culture. In this study, the author argues how notions of "impact", whether of tourism or of anthropology, are inadequate to comprehend the ways in which the Maya culture is known, represented, and experienced in the everyday worlds of tourism, anthropology and Maya society. Instead of "impact", he argues that the invention of the Maya culture derives from the historical complicities between heterogenous agents. Chichen Itza is viewed as both an artifact and the privileged site of contestations and mutual appropriations between Maya peoples, anthropological practices, tourist businesses, regional politics, nation building, New Age spiritualists, and international relations between Mexico and the United States.

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