Foreigners Among Us : Alterity and the Making of Ancient Maya Societies book cover
1st Edition

Foreigners Among Us
Alterity and the Making of Ancient Maya Societies

  • Available for pre-order on June 20, 2023. Item will ship after July 11, 2023
ISBN 9781032263205
July 11, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages 29 Color & 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Assessing key questions such as who the foreigners and outsiders in ancient Maya societies were and how was the foreign a generative component of identity, Foreigners Among Us reassess the arrival of foreigners as part of archaeological understandings of Pre-Columbian Maya and questions not only who these foreigners might have been but who were making such designations of difference in the first place. 

Drawing from identity studies, standpoint theory, and ideas on alterity, Foreigners Among Us highlights the diverse ways being foreign was constituted, imitated, and marked – from quotidian practices of making corn tortillas to ceremonial acts between king and captive and their memorialization in scenes on sculpted stone monuments. Rather than treat the foreign as axiomatically determined by geographical distance or fixed at birth, the book considers the foreign as much performed as inherited. It examines practices of captivity, cuisine, body ornamentation and dress, diasporic objects, relationships with deities, migration, and pilgrimage. The book focuses, in particular, on diverse peoples in the Maya area during the Classic and Postclassic periods, but also necessarily peers into contacts, engagements and relations throughout Mesoamerica, the Americas more broadly, and with Europeans during the Colonial period – all the while insisting that outsider status must be approached as multi-scalar, relational, and intersectional rather than as neutral, intrinsic, and static. 

Contributing broadly to intellectual investigations on foreign identities from an anthropological perspective, this book enriches the understanding of Maya society for students and researchers of Mesoamerican archaeology and art history.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction, Chapter 2 Tropes of the Foreigner: From Famous Royals to Humble Migrants, Chapter 3 Captive Performances: Spectacles and the Everyday, Chapter 4 Cuisines and the Relational Making of People, Chapter 5 Pilgrimages to Foreign Places and the Acts of Becoming, Chapter 6 Looking In From Afar: Representations of Mayas, Chapter 7  Conclusion, References.

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Christina T. Halperin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Université de Montréal. Her research examines ancient Maya politics from the perspectives of households, gender, materiality, and everyday life. Halperin has conducted archaeological field investigations in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize since 1997. She has published extensively on topics such as ceramic figurines, textiles, the production and circulation of polychrome pottery, architecture, and landscape archaeology. Halperin is author or editor of Vernacular Architecture of the Pre-Columbian Americas (2017), Maya Figurines: Intersections between State and Household (2014) and Mesoamerican Figurines: Small-Scale Indices of Large-Scale Social Phenomena (2009).