The Modern Maya: Incidents of Travel and Friendship in Yucatán

Hardcover | March 1, 2012

byMacduff Everton

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Ancient Maya cities draw travelers from all over the world to Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. But while tales of the “Maya collapse” give an air of mystery to the ruins, modern Maya still live in communities across the Yucatán, where they strive to maintain their culture and way of life despite centuries of political, social, and environmental disruption. Photographer Macduff Everton has spent more than four decades living and working among the Maya. His 1991 book on the modern Maya provided a superb photo-essay and ethnographic record of the Maya during a time of critical change and globalization. In this book, he masterfully updates his portrait of the modern Maya, while investigating the effects of NAFTA, tourism, the evangelical movement, world trade and maquiladoras, racism, sexism, and drugs on Maya communities.

Combining splendid photography of ancient Maya sites and modern Maya communities with an illuminating narrative, Everton takes us into the homes and lives of farmers and chicle gatherers, ranch hands and henequen workers, as well as the Mayan-speaking urbanites who work at the resorts on the Riviera Maya. His long acquaintance with the Maya allows him to tell dramatic stories of how individuals and families have seen a way of life that was centered around the milpa (farm) and the cultivation of tropical forest products transformed by the effects of globalization and the necessity to labor for wages. At the same time, Everton also reveals the amazing adaptability of the Maya, who hold onto the essence of their culture despite all the destructive pressures from the outside world.

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Ancient Maya cities draw travelers from all over the world to Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. But while tales of the “Maya collapse” give an air of mystery to the ruins, modern Maya still live in communities across the Yucatán, where they strive to maintain their culture and way of life despite centuries of political, social, and environme...

Macduff Everton is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines. His many editorial clients include Condé Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Life, LA Times Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Outside, Smithsonian, and Town & Country. His work is in the collections of many public and private institutions, including th...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 12.3 × 9.3 × 1.47 inPublished:March 1, 2012Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292726937

ISBN - 13:9780292726932

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Macduff Everton’s Yucatán by Carter WilsonAcknowledgmentsA Short History and the Legacy of the Maya ForestAn account of the ancient Maya and the collapse, or perhaps the slow crumble; in the field with archaeologists Anabel Ford and Scott Fedick, who find evidence that there wasn’t an environmental catastrophe, and the legacy of the Maya Forest, a feral forest gardenIntroductionAn account of the modern Maya: incidents of travel and friendship in Yucatán and how I met Charles Demangeat and Hilario Hiler; this book project now extends over four decades and includes important chapters in the lives of the MayaI. The MilpaAn account of Dario Tuz Caamal, a Maya farmer, and his wife, Herculana Chi Pech; the Maya practice of growing vegetables, herbs, fruits, and hardwoods at their farm and home garden and agricultural traditions and ceremonies thousands of years oldII. The Milpa and CancúnThe continuing account of Dario Tuz Caamal and Herculana Chi Pech: his release from prison and finding work in Cancún; the immediate effects of NAFTA on the subsistence farmer in Mexico and the rising rate of depression and suicide in YucatánIII. Chicleros: A Season in the JungleAn account of Diego Jiménez Chi and Cornelio Castro Salazar, chicleros, who lived in the jungle along with their wives and children during the rainy season to bleed the chicozapote tree for the resin used to make chewing gum, and what happened when gum manufacturers supplanted the resin with petroleum productsIV. Doña Veva and Alicia: Two Generations of WomenAn account of Genoveva Martín Kumul and her daughter Alicia and how Alicia grew from a girl in a jungle chiclero camp to becoming a bilingual teacher, as well as her marriage and children, and the effects of the Evangelical movement in Maya townsV. Xocen: The Saintly Cross of the Center of the EarthAn account of the miraculous Saintly Cross of the Center of the Earth, the Caste War of Yucatán, and the Santa Cruz Maya; we attend religious celebrations in Xocen, talk with a Maya priest, and visit our friend Celso Dzib Ay and his wife, María Equilia May TunVI. The Santa Cruz MayaAn account of how Pablo Canche Balam and Marcelino Poot Ek introduced us to the sacred villages, talking crosses, fiestas, and celebrations of the Santa Cruz Maya; we witness the onslaught of development and tourism in their traditional lands and find a Talking CrossVII. Cowboys: Corn to Cattle to CornAn account of Eleuterio Noh Ceh, a corn farmer who became a cowboy and then returned to corn farming, whose children abandoned farming to find work in maquiladoras, making Maidenform bras and Jordache jeans, until the manufacturers found cheaper labor elsewhereVIII. Henequen: The Dangers of a MonocultureAn account of Jesús López Martínez, a henequen worker, and the henequen industry, which failed to remain competitive in a world economy, and the consequences of a monocropEpilogueGlossarySuggested ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

Ancient Maya cities draw travelers from all over the world to Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. But while tales of the “Maya collapse” give an air of mystery to the ruins, modern Maya still live in communities across the Yucatán, where they strive to maintain their culture and way of life despite centuries of political, social, and environmental disruption. Photographer Macduff Everton has spent more than four decades living and working among the Maya. His 1991 book on the modern Maya provided a superb photo-essay and ethnographic record of the Maya during a time of critical change and globalization. In this book, he masterfully updates his portrait of the modern Maya, while investigating the effects of NAFTA, tourism, the evangelical movement, world trade and maquiladoras, racism, sexism, and drugs on Maya communities. Combining splendid photography of ancient Maya sites and modern Maya communities with an illuminating narrative, Everton takes us into the homes and lives of farmers and chicle gatherers, ranch hands and henequen workers, as well as the Mayan-speaking urbanites who work at the resorts on the Riviera Maya. His long acquaintance with the Maya allows him to tell dramatic stories of how individuals and families have seen a way of life that was centered around the milpa (farm) and the cultivation of tropical forest products transformed by the effects of globalization and the necessity to labor for wages. At the same time, Everton also reveals the amazing adaptability of the Maya, who hold onto the essence of their culture despite all the destructive pressures from the outside world."I have been working with my faculty to find sources of literature regarding the Maya for our intercultural curricula. The ancient Maya and the Caste War period (1847–1911) are well documented and frequently updated, but books on the adaptation of the Mayas to modern life over a significant period are rare. The Modern Maya is perhaps the only one, and it helps us to understand the processes of adaptation and a parallel process: the development and future of interculturality with a Maya context. I highly recommend this book for scholars and anyone interested in the Maya as well as the interaction between cultures." - Francisco Rosado May, Rector, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo