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Framing the Popul Wuj : articulating modern ladino identity in Guatemala Horner, Geoffrey Allen

Abstract

As the Pan-Maya movement becomes increasingly important in present day Guatemala, the Popul Wuj, a Maya creation narrative, has become a site of struggle over national identity for indigenous and non-indigenous Guatemalans alike. This paper engages with the introductions of various editions of the Popul Wuj written from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s by non-indigenous ladinos in Guatemala. These middle and upper class ladino academics, or letrados, express their own view of the nation and its place in the roll of important Western nations using the language and epistemology of modern science. It traces their underlying assumptions about prehispanic Maya culture and attempts to reveal their deployment of it for the purpose of producing a glorious past for the "modern," and in their eyes, ladino, nation.

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