Dwelling, Identity, and the Maya: Relational Archaeology at Chunchucmil (Archaeology in Society)

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9780759119208: Dwelling, Identity, and the Maya: Relational Archaeology at Chunchucmil (Archaeology in Society)
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Dwelling, Identity, and the Maya offers a new perspective on the ancient Maya that emphasizes the importance of dwelling as a social practice. Contrary to contemporary notions of the self as individual and independent, the identities of the ancient Maya grew from their everyday relations and interactions with other people, the houses and temples they built, and the objects they created, exchanged, cherished, and left behind. Using excavations of ancient Chunchucmil as a case study, it investigates how Maya personhood was structured and transformed in and beyond the domestic sphere and examines the role of the past in the production of contemporary Maya identity.

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About the Author:

Scott R. Hutson is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Kentucky. He has been co-director of the Chunchucmil project since 2004 and is currently directing the Ucí-Cansahcab Sacbe project.

Review:

To achieve a deeper understanding of the processes of identity-formation among the Maya of Chunchucmil, Scott Hutson articulates a relational approach to subjectivity through a focus on dwelling and daily life. He adeptly synthesizes recent theory in the social sciences and humanities dealing with subjectivity, agency, materiality, power, and practice to explore the ways in which subjectivity was produced and transformed at Chunchucmil―in the shared work of food preparation, in the intertwined biographies of people and houses, and in varied encounters with pyramids, patios, and causeways. This book exemplifies the promise of social archaeology to understand human lives in the past as well as to contribute to social theory in the present. (Arthur A. Joyce, University of Colorado at Boulder)

Dwelling, Identity, and the Maya is based upon Hutson's dissertation, but it is so much more than a dissertation monograph. It is an important addition to the scholarly literature on Maya archaeology. As well, it contains a substantial theoretical introduction which poises the study to be of interest to a wide range of archaeologist and other social theorist. (Journal of Anthropological Research)

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