After Monte Albán reveals the richness and interregional relevance of Postclassic transformations in the area now known as Oaxaca, which lies between Central Mexico and the Maya area and, as contributors to this volume demonstrate, achieved cultural centrality in pan-Mesoamerican networks. Large nucleated states throughout Oaxaca collapsed after 700 C.E., including the great Zapotec state centered in the Valley of Oaxaca, Monte Albán. Elite culture changed in fundamental ways as small city-states proliferated in Oaxaca, each with a new ruling dynasty required to devise novel strategies of legitimization. The vast majority of the population, though, sustained continuity in lifestyle, religion, and cosmology.
Contributors synthesize these regional transformations and continuities in the lower Rio Verde Valley, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta. They provide data from material culture, architecture, codices, ethnohistoric documents, and ceramics, including a revised ceramic chronology from the Late Classic to the end of the Postclassic that will be crucial to future investigations. After Monte Albán establishes Postclassic Oaxaca's central place in the study of Mesoamerican antiquity.
Contributors include Jeffrey P. Blomster, Bruce E. Byland, Gerardo Gutierrez, Byron Ellsworth Hamann, Arthur A. Joyce, Stacie M. King, Michael D. Lind, Robert Markens, Cira Martínez López, Michel R. Oudijk, and Marcus Winter.
Author Denise C. Hodges examines the osteological remains from 14 archaeological sites in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, in an attempt to address the relationship between the intensification of agriculture and the health status of the prehistoric population. Volume 9 of the subseries Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is internationally renowned for its marketplaces and archaeological sites where tourists can buy inexpensive folk art, including replicas of archaeological treasures. Archaeologists, art historians, and museum professionals sometimes discredit this trade in “fakes” that occasionally make their way to the auction block as antiquities. Others argue that these souvenirs represent a long cultural tradition of woodcarving or clay sculpting and are “genuine” artifacts of artisanal practices that have been passed from generation to generation, allowing community members to preserve their cultural practices and make a living. Exploring the intriguing question of authenticity and its relationship to cultural forms in Oaxaca and throughout southern Mexico, Between Art and Artifact confronts an important issue that has implications well beyond the commercial realm.
Demonstrating that identity politics lies at the heart of the controversy, Ronda Brulotte provides a nuanced inquiry into what it means to present “authentic” cultural production in a state where indigenous ethnicity is part of an awkward social and racial classification system. Emphasizing the world-famous woodcarvers of Arrazola and the replica purveyors who come from the same community, Brulotte presents the ironies of an ideology that extols regional identity but shuns its artifacts as “forgeries.” Her work makes us question the authority of archaeological discourse in the face of local communities who may often see things differently. A departure from the dialogue that seeks to prove or disprove “authenticity,” Between Art and Artifact reveals itself as a commentary on the arguments themselves, and what the controversy can teach us about our shifting definitions of authority and authorship.
Bridging the Gaps: Integrating Archaeology and History in Oaxaca, Mexico does just that: it bridges the gap between archaeology and history of the Precolumbian, Colonial, and Republican eras of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, a cultural area encompassing several of the longest-enduring literate societies in the world.
Fourteen case studies from an interdisciplinary group of archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, and art historians consciously compare and contrast changes and continuities in material culture before and after the Spanish conquest, in Prehispanic and Colonial documents, and in oral traditions rooted in the present but reflecting upon the deep past. Contributors consider both indigenous and European perspectives while exposing and addressing the difficulties that arise from the application of this conjunctive approach.
Inspired by the late Dr. Bruce E. Byland’s work in the Mixteca, which exemplified the union of archaeological and historical evidence and inspired new generations of scholars, Bridging the Gaps promotes the practice of integrative studies to explore the complex intersections between social organization and political alliances, religion and sacred landscape, ethnic identity and mobility, colonialism and resistance, and territoriality and economic resources.
Monte Albán was the capital of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, ca. 500 BC–AD 600, but once its control began to wane, other sites filled the political vacuum. Archaeologists have long awaited a meticulous excavation of one of these sites—one that would help us better understand the process that transformed second-tier sites into a series of polities or señoríos that competed with each other for centuries.
This book reports in detail on Ronald Faulseit’s excavations at the site of Dainzú-Macuilxóchitl in the Valley of Oaxaca. His 2007–2010 mapping and excavation seasons focused on the Late Classic (AD 600–900) and Early Postclassic (AD 900–1300). The spatial distributions of surface artifacts—collected during the intensive mapping and systematic surface collecting—on residential terraces at Cerro Danush are analyzed to evaluate evidence for craft production, ritual, and abandonment at the community level. This community analysis is complemented by data from the comprehensive excavation of a residential terrace, which documents diachronic patterns of behavior at the household level. The results from Faulseit’s survey and excavations are evaluated within the theoretical frameworks of political cycling and resilience theory. Faulseit concludes that resilient social structures may have helped orchestrate reorganization in the dynamic political landscape of Oaxaca after the political collapse of Monte Albán.
In the villages and small towns of Oaxaca, Mexico, as in much of rural Latin America, cooperation among neighbors is essential for personal and community survival. It can take many forms, from godparenting to sponsoring fiestas, holding civic offices, or exchanging agricultural or other kinds of labor. This book examines the ways in which the people of Santa Ana del Valle practice these traditional cooperative and reciprocal relationships and also invent new relationships to respond to global forces of social and economic change at work within their community.
Based on fieldwork he conducted in this Zapotec-speaking community between 1992 and 1996, Jeffrey Cohen describes continuities in the Santañeros' practices of cooperation, as well as changes resulting from transnational migration, tourism, increasing educational opportunities, and improved communications. His nuanced portrayal of the benefits and burdens of cooperation is buttressed by the words of many villagers who explain why and how they participate-or not-in reciprocal family and community networks. This rich ethnographic material offers a working definition of community created in and through cooperative relationships.
Debating Oaxaca Archaeology
Edited by Joyce Marcus University of Michigan Press, 1990 Library of Congress GN2.M5 no. 84 | Dewey Decimal 306
The essays in this collection examine a variety of topics within Oaxacan archaeology, from settlement and land use to scale and complexity. They are based on papers presented at the 1987 meeting of the Northeast Mesoamericanists Society, held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia.
This volume, part of a series on the prehistory and human ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, focuses on Cerro Tilcajete, a secondary administrative center below Monte Albán, the capital of the prehispanic Zapotec state.
In the early 1970s, Robert D. Drennan excavated the Middle Formative archaeological site Fábrica San José in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. In this volume he presents the results of the excavations and provides a chronology of Middle Formative ceramics. Appendix on carbonized plant remains by Richard I. Ford.
For this volume, archaeologist Jane W. Pires-Ferreira analyzed artifacts from the Valley of Oaxaca in order to understand more about prehistoric trade patterns in the region. Using her analyses, she was able to describe obsidian exchange networks, iron ore mirror exchange networks, and shell exchange networks in Early and Middle Formative Mesoamerica.
In this volume, Elsa M. Redmond reconstructs the history of the Cuicatec region in Oaxaca, Mexico, from the Middle Formative period through the Lomas phase, when the Zapotec state based at Monte Albán took control, into the Trujano phase and the Spanish conquest. Redmond integrates archaeological data and sixteenth-century ethnohistoric records to inform her study of the political and social strategies of the Cuicatec region during these time periods. From 1977 to 1978, Redmond conducted an archaeological survey in this region, and she presents the results of that fieldwork here.
Markets in Oaxaca
Edited by Scott Cook and Martin Diskin; foreword by Sidney W. Mintz University of Texas Press, 1976
Markets in Oaxaca is a study of the regional peasant marketing system in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. It relates the marketing system to other aspects of the regional economy, to neighboring regions, and to the Mexican national economy. Combining ethnographic, theoretical, and regional analyses, it suggests new directions in the fields of peasant and development studies. Contributors to the volume describe the operation and nature of several marketplaces in the region, analyze village-based artisan production and various specialized economic roles (particularly the role of traders), and describe the operation of several total regional marketing systems. The editors then consider their findings against the background of political, economic, and social structures from the pre-Conquest period to the present. In their conclusion, the editors find the regional peasant economy to be responsive both to the influence of the urban metropolitan sector, on the one hand, and to its own indigenous structural integrity and internal dynamism, on the other. In addition to the editors, the contributors to Markets in Oaxaca are Ralph L. Beals, Richard L. Berg Jr., Beverly Chiñas, Herbert M. Eder, Charlotte Stolmaker, Carole Turkenik, John C. Warner, Ronald Waterbury, and Cecil R. Welte. Their essays combine analyses of the elements of the system within a comprehensive theoretical framework. Together, they present a complete and integrated view of a peasant economy.
The Mixe of Oaxaca was the first extensive ethnography of the Mixe, with a special focus on Mixe religious beliefs and rituals and the curing practices associated with them. It records the procedures, design-plan, corresponding prayers, and symbolic context of well over one hundred rituals. Frank Lipp has written a new preface for this edition, in which he comments on the relationship of Mixe religion to current theoretical understandings of present-day Middle American folk religions.
No one has done more to introduce the world to the authentic, flavorful cuisines of Mexico than Diana Kennedy. Acclaimed as the Julia Child of Mexican cooking, Kennedy has been an intrepid, indefatigable student of Mexican foodways for more than fifty years and has published several classic books on the subject, including The Cuisines of Mexico (now available in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, a compilation of her first three books), The Art of Mexican Cooking, My Mexico, and From My Mexican Kitchen. Her uncompromising insistence on using the proper local ingredients and preparation techniques has taught generations of cooks how to prepare—and savor—the delicious, subtle, and varied tastes of Mexico.
In Oaxaca al Gusto, Kennedy takes us on an amazing journey into one of the most outstanding and colorful cuisines in the world. The state of Oaxaca is one of the most diverse in Mexico, with many different cultural and linguistic groups, often living in areas difficult to access. Each group has its own distinctive cuisine, and Diana Kennedy has spent many years traveling the length and breadth of Oaxaca to record in words and photographs "these little-known foods, both wild and cultivated, the way they were prepared, and the part they play in the daily or festive life of the communities I visited." Oaxaca al Gusto is the fruit of these labors—and the culmination of Diana Kennedy's life's work.
Organized by regions, Oaxaca al Gusto presents some three hundred recipes—most from home cooks—for traditional Oaxacan dishes. Kennedy accompanies each recipe with fascinating notes about the ingredients, cooking techniques, and the food's place in family and communal life. Lovely color photographs illustrate the food and its preparation. A special feature of the book is a chapter devoted to the three pillars of the Oaxacan regional cuisines—chocolate, corn, and chiles. Notes to the cook, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index complete the volume.
An irreplaceable record of the infinite world of Oaxacan gastronomy, Oaxaca al Gusto belongs on the shelf of everyone who treasures the world's traditional regional cuisines.
Migration is typically seen as a transnational phenomenon, but it happens within borders, too. Oaxaca in Motion documents a revealing irony in the latter sort: internal migration often is global in character, motivated by foreign affairs and international economic integration, and it is no less transformative than its cross-border analogue.
Iván Sandoval-Cervantes spent nearly two years observing and interviewing migrants from the rural Oaxacan town of Santa Ana Zegache. Many women from the area travel to Mexico City to work as domestics, and men are encouraged to join the Mexican military to fight the US-instigated “war on drugs” or else leave their fields to labor in industries serving global supply chains. Placing these moves in their historical and cultural context, Sandoval-Cervantes discovers that migrants’ experiences dramatically alter their conceptions of gender, upsetting their traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. And some migrants bring their revised views with them when they return home, influencing their families and community of origin. Comparing Oaxacans moving within Mexico to those living along the US West Coast, Sandoval-Cervantes clearly demonstrates the multiplicity of answers to the question, “Who is a migrant?”
"Anthropologists Murphy and Stepick trace urbanization in the capital city of the state of Oaxaca for more than 2,000 years. Their study represents a micro perspective that describes the colonias populares, the poor neighborhoods, and the struggles of Oaxacans to survive and improve life in marginal communities.... The book is well organized, with excellent annotated footnotes and a reading list."
This may be the only book that analyzes the urbanization of one area from its origins more than two thousand years ago to the present. Arthur Murphy and Alex Stepick examine Oaxaca, Mexico, where they have been doing research regularly for the last twenty years. Paying particular attention to neighborhoods, families, and economic activities, they focus on issues of poverty and inequality.
Oaxaca is a city marked by socioeconomic inequality that has felt the alternating trends of integration into and isolation from the broader world. It is a city in which tens of thousands of households resolutely try to adapt, to survive and pass on something of themselves to their children. With rich ethnographic material and historical research, Murphy and Stepick describe gender roles, the dynamic nature of households, the importance of compadrazgo (co-godparenthood) as a social institution, class-based political struggles and strikes, and the role of children in redeeming their parents from poverty.
Individual life histories emerge from their research, each representing diverse class, familial, and economic structures within Oaxacan society.
"Murphy and Stepick catch Oaxaca at a special time in its history. When the illustrious works of theory in the academic disciplines have faded, when Foucault is a footnote and deconstruction derided, books like this one will still be valuable. A portrait of a city during the most difficult period of its country's recent economic history."
--Henry A. Selby (from the Foreword)
Between 1750 and 1850 Spanish American politics underwent a dramatic cultural shift as monarchist colonies gave way to independent states based at least nominally on popular sovereignty and republican citizenship. In The Time of Liberty, Peter Guardino explores the participation of subalterns in this grand transformation. He focuses on Mexico, comparing local politics in two parts of Oaxaca: the mestizo, urban Oaxaca City and the rural villages of nearby Villa Alta, where the population was mostly indigenous. Guardino challenges traditional assumptions that poverty and isolation alienated rural peasants from the political process. He shows that peasants and other subalterns were conscious and complex actors in political and ideological struggles and that popular politics played an important role in national politics in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Guardino makes extensive use of archival materials, including judicial transcripts and newspaper accounts, to illuminate the dramatic contrasts between the local politics of the city and of the countryside, describing in detail how both sets of citizens spoke and acted politically. He contends that although it was the elites who initiated the national change to republicanism, the transition took root only when engaged by subalterns. He convincingly argues that various aspects of the new political paradigms found adherents among even some of the most isolated segments of society and that any subsequent failure of electoral politics was due to an absence of pluralism rather than a lack of widespread political participation.
A massive uprising against the Mexican state of Oaxaca began with the emergence of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in June 2006. A coalition of more than 300 organizations, APPO disrupted the functions of Oaxaca's government for six months. It began to develop an inclusive and participatory political vision for the state. Testimonials were broadcast on radio and television stations appropriated by APPO, shared at public demonstrations, debated in homes and in the streets, and disseminated around the world via the Internet.
The movement was met with violent repression. Participants were imprisoned, tortured, and even killed. Lynn Stephen emphasizes the crucial role of testimony in human rights work, indigenous cultural history, community and indigenous radio, and women's articulation of their rights to speak and be heard. She also explores transborder support for APPO, particularly among Oaxacan immigrants in Los Angeles. The book is supplemented by a website featuring video testimonials, pictures, documents, and a timeline of key events.
Zapotec farmers in the northern sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico, are highly successful in providing their families with abundant, nutritious food in an ecologically sustainable fashion, although the premises that guide their agricultural practices would be considered erroneous by the standards of most agronomists and botanists in the United States and Europe. In this book, Roberto González convincingly argues that in fact Zapotec agricultural and dietary theories and practices constitute a valid local science, which has had a reciprocally beneficial relationship with European and United States farming and food systems since the sixteenth century.
González bases his analysis upon direct participant observation in the farms and fields of a Zapotec village. By using the ethnographic fieldwork approach, he is able to describe and analyze the rich meanings that campesino families attach to their crops, lands, and animals. González also reviews the history of maize, sugarcane, and coffee cultivation in the Zapotec region to show how campesino farmers have intelligently and scientifically adapted their farming practices to local conditions over the course of centuries. By setting his ethnographic study of the Talea de Castro community within a historical world systems perspective, he also skillfully weighs the local impact of national and global currents ranging from Spanish colonialism to the 1910 Mexican Revolution to NAFTA. At the same time, he shows how, at the turn of the twenty-first century, the sustainable practices of "traditional" subsistence agriculture are beginning to replace the failed, unsustainable techniques of modern industrial farming in some parts of the United States and Europe.