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Guatemaltequidad : Indians and Ladinos in the Guatemalan national imaginary

  • Author(s): Montepeque, Axel O.
  • et al.

This dissertation examines representations of Guatemaltequidad (Guatemalan national identity) in Guatemalan and U.S.-Guatemalan literature. It proposes that the dominant construction of Guatemala as a Ladino nation has functioned to silence, marginalize, and exploit the Mayan population and that Guatemalan authors have at critical historical moments used literature to reimagine the nation in order to rearticulate the place of the indigenous majority. The first chapter argues that 19th century Ladinos rejected the Creole national identity of Guatemala, as articulated by Francisco Antonio de Fuentes y Guzmán, and deployed an anti-indigenous discourse to reconfigure Guatemala as a Ladino nation. The following two chapters analyze how Guatemalan authors during critical moments in the 20th century produce transculturated literature to reformulate the national identity. The second chapter focuses on the democratic aperture that lasted from 1944 to 1954. Specifically, I compare and contrast Mario Monteforte Toledo's novel, Entre la piedra y la cruz, and Miguel Ángel Asturias's, Hombres de maíz. While both novels are critical of the marginalization of the indigenous population, I argue that the transculturated form of Hombres de maíz reconfigures the positionality of the indigenous majority within the nation. The third chapter focuses on the first period of armed conflict in the 1960s. I argue that while critical of the dictatorship and U.S. imperialism, Marco Antonio Flores's Los compañeros reproduces the dominant indofobia. Luis de Lión's transculturated novel, El tiempo principia en Xibalbá, on the other hand, suggests that a revolutionary ideology particular to Guatemala must be founded in part upon a Mayan cosmology. In the fourth chapter, I turn to analyze U.S.-Guatemalan literature produced in the 1990s. By analyzing Francisco Goldman's, The Long Night of White Chickens, and Héctor Tobar's, The Tattooed Soldier, I argue that these novels reproduce the dominant construction of Guatemala as a Ladino nation, a representation that contributes to the minimization or erasure of the U.S. role in the Guatemalan armed conflict

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