June 8, 2013 Patricia McAnany, PhD, Kenan Eminent Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: "Heritage without Irony: Archaeologists, Indigenous Maya Communities, and the Democratization of Knowledge"

            Maya cultural heritage is situated at the busy intersection of archaeological practice, local community, and remains of the past. In this talk, these lines of intersection were approached from historical, ethical, and philosophical perspectives. Multi-year and multi-sited heritage programs ground these perspectives and also provide insight to a significant challenge of heritage conservation: building new epistemic communities that bridge the chasm between local and global and democratize the production of archaeological knowledge. Indigenous Maya peoples who have participated in heritage programs give voice to the complexity of a relationship with a past that has been created by archaeologists. Describing successful programs as well as initiatives that were “lost in translation,” this talk provided an honest appraisal of the challenge of transcultural dialogue when confronting the great irony between an indigenous people with a valorized past but a present state of dispossession from that past.
            Patricia McAnany is Kenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A Maya archaeologist, she serves as principal investigator of InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present, www.in-herit.org, and the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, see www.bu.edu/tricia. She is particularly interested in the intersection of ritual and economy and in cultural heritage issues for descendant Maya peoples. She is the author/editor of several books including Ancestral Maya Economies in Archaeological Perspective, 2010; Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire, 2009, co-edited with Norman Yoffee; Dimensions of Ritual Economy, 2008, co-edited with E. Christian Wells; K’axob: Ritual, Work, and Family in an Ancient Maya Village, 2004; and Living with the Ancestors: Kinship and Kingship in Ancient Maya Society, 1995.  Her journal articles & book chapters include “Casualties of Heritage Distancing: Children, Ch’orti’ Indigeneity, and the Copán Archaeoscape” Current Anthropology Vol 53, 2012; “Classic Maya Heterodoxy and Shrine Vernacularism in the Sibun Valley, Belize” Cambridge Archaeological Journal Vol. 22, 2012; “Thinking About Stratigraphic Sequence in Social Terms”, co-authored with Ian Hodder, Archaeological Dialogues Vol. 16, 2009; “Rational Exuberance: Mesoamerican Economies and Landscapes in the Research of Robert S. Santley,” co-authored with Christopher A. Pool, Journal of Anthropological Research Vol. 64, 2008; “America’s First Connoisseurs of Chocolate”, co-authored with Satoru Murata, Food and Foodways, Vol. 15, 2007; and “Reclaiming Maya Ancestry”, co-authored with Shoshaunna Parks, in Look Close, See Far: A Cultural Portrait of the Maya, photographs by B. T. Martin, 2007. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and Dumbarton Oaks. Currently, she works with NGOs in southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and western Honduras to provide local communities with opportunities to dialogue about the value and conservation of the past.

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