1st Edition

Reckoning with Change in Yucatán Histories of Care and Threat on a Former Hacienda

By Jason Ramsey Copyright 2024
    254 Pages 4 Color & 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 4 Color & 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Reckoning with Change in Yucatán engages with how best to look upon and respond to change, arguing that this debate is an important arena for negotiating local belonging and a force of transformation in its own right. For residents of Chunchucmil, a historic rural community in Yucatán, Mexico, history is anything but straightforward. Living in what is both a defunct 19th-century hacienda estate and a vibrant Catholic pilgrimage site, Chunchucmileños reckon past, present, and future in radically different ways. For example, while some use the aging estate buildings to weave a history of economic decline and push for revitalization by hotel developers, others highlight the growing fame of the Virgin of the Rosary in the attached church and vow to defend the site from developer interference. By exploring how past and future are channeled through changing built environments, landscapes, sacred relics, and legal documents, this ethnographic study details how the politics of change provide Chunchucmileños with a common language for debating commitments to place and each another in the present. Against Western notions of ‘History’ as a relatively coherent account of change, the book suggests we reframe it as an ongoing performance that is always fractured, democratic, and morally tinged.

    1. Introduction

    2. Of Sheep, Saliva, and Broken Bones: Anti-social Appetites and The Things of the Ancestors

    3. Patrimonio, Consumption, and Gossip

    4. ‘Division in Chunchucmil’: Narratives of Rupture and Redevelopment

    5. ‘The Paper Talks’

    6. A Church Grows in Yucatán

    7. Chunchucmil’s Two Virgins: The Immaculate Reproduction and the Excesses of Growth

    8. “You Don’t Know How it Came to Be”: Dueños, ‘Knowledge’ and Belonging

    9. Conclusion

    10 Coda


    Jason Ramsey is a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada. He received his M.A. and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago.