Cover image for Mayan lives, Mayan utopias : the indigenous peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista rebellion
Mayan lives, Mayan utopias : the indigenous peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista rebellion
Rus, Jan.
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvii, 306 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1221.T8 M313 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Maya Indian peoples of Chiapas had been mobilizing politically for years before the Zapatista rebellion that brought them to international attention. This authoritative volume explores the different ways that Indians across Chiapas have carved out autonomous cultural and political spaces in their diverse communities and regions. Offering a consistent and cohesive vision of the complex evolution of a region and its many cultures and histories, this work is a fundamental source for understanding key issues in nation building. In a unique collaboration, the book brings together recognized authorities who have worked in Chiapas for decades, many linking scholarship with social and political activism. Their combined perspectives, many previously unavailable in English, make this volume the most authoritative, richly detailed, and authentic work available on the people behind the Zapatista movement.

Author Notes

Jan Rus is director of the Native Language Publishing Project, Instituto de Asesoría Antropológica para la Región Maya, A.C., San Cristóbal, Chiapas. Rosalva Aída Hernández Castillo is a senior researcher at the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), Mexico City. Shannan L. Mattiace is assistant professor of political science, Allegheny College.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

These nine essays and a lengthy introduction are melded into a coherent whole by three editors with much experience as scholars-on-the-ground in Mexico's turbulent southern state of Chiapas. Many books have come out in the last decade dealing with the extraordinary 1994 uprising of Maya Indians under the banner of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. Unlike others, this book focuses little on the Zapatistas and their famous commander Marcos. A welcome addition to the literature on this topic, this collection of essays explores how the rebellion has affected the diverse Indian peoples of Chiapas. Some of the communities discussed here sympathized with the rebellion, while others still oppose it. This work shows, however, that the ongoing crisis in Chiapas has forced everyone to envisage new social orders and ways of governing. The book's introduction provides a cogent discussion of how over decades, economic crisis has produced Indian mobilizations and finally rebellion, while the final three essays usefully explore Mexico's continuing national debate over Indian rights and autonomy. Finally, a lengthy and up-to-date bibliography makes this book quite useful as a reference work on the rebellion in Chiapas. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. P. R. Sullivan independent scholar

Table of Contents

Samuel Ruiz GarciaJan Rus and George A. CollierRosalva Aida Hernandez CastilloJose Alejos GarciaShannan L. MattiaceChristine EberXochitl Leyva SolanoAraceli Burguete Cal y MayorAndres AubryGustavo Esteva
Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Abbreviations and Acronymsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
I. Mayan Lives: Continuity and Changep. 27
1 A Generation of Crisis in the Central Highlands of Chiapas: The Cases of Chamula and Zinacantan, 1974-2000p. 33
2 Between Civil Disobedience and Silent Rejection: Differing Responses by Mam Peasants to the Zapatista Rebellionp. 63
3 The Ch'ols Reclaim Palenque, or the War of Eternal Returnp. 85
II. Mayan Lives: Making New Societiesp. 103
4 Regional Renegotiations of Space: Tojolabal Ethnic Identity in Las Margaritas, Chiapasp. 109
5 Buscando una nueva vida: Liberation through Autonomy in San Pedro Chenalho, 1970-1998p. 135
6 Regional, Communal, and Organizational Transformations in Las Canadasp. 161
III. Mayan Utopias: Rethinking the Statep. 185
7 The de Facto Autonomous Process: New Jurisdictions and Parallel Governments in Rebellionp. 191
8 Autonomy in the San Andres Accords: Expression and Fulfillment of a New Federal Pactp. 219
9 The Meaning and Scope of the Struggle for Autonomyp. 243
Works Citedp. 271
Indexp. 291
About the Contributorsp. 305