Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Michael Millar

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine Joslin

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian C. Wilson


Guatemala has had a tumultuous history from the discovery of the Americas to the advent of European colonization and a global economy. It is this "intrusion" of a foreign culture into an indigenous society in Central America that has been much lamented by the indigenous Mayan populations. It is this same Spanish colonialism that is responsible for the unique racial and economic situation that separates Guatemala from other Central American systems in a post-colonial world. It is in Guatemala that the indigenous population has not only largely resisted assimilation into the ladino cultural "other" (Spanish descent), but they also account for around sixty percent of the country's population. In this racially divided climate, the indigenous Maya are at an economic disadvantage due to socioeconomic and cultural pressures towards an agrarian, communal lifestyle that focuses primarily on farming for sustenance rather than large scale farming or mass production. This tendency for communal life and their exclusion from bourgeois society has afforded global and domestic parties the opportunities for the exploitation and genocidal anti-insurgency campaigns against the indigenous Mayan communities. Although the Maya have been subject to unthinkable acts and numerous human rights violations by army personnel and as well as the guerrillas, Pan-Mayan activism and the literature of the movement have provided a new form of expression and rebirth for a marginalized culture in a post-bellum Guatemala.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only