Sergio Guillermo Palencia Frener

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10234

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Palencia Frener, Sergio (New York, Graduate Center, City U. of) "Maya Revolutionaries, Communal Mobilization, and Guerrilla Warfare in Guatemala, 1952-1981"

SERGIO PALENCIA FRENER, then a graduate student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in October 2021 to aid research on”Maya Revolutionaries, Communal Mobilization, and Guerrilla Warfare in Guatemala, 1952-1981,” supervised by Dr. Marc Edelman. Indigenous Maya in Guatemala lived through one of Latin America’s most intense conflicts during the second part of the twentieth century. This research focuses on Maya politics, kinship relations, and interethnic experiences in multifarious mobilization through social democratic parties, rural unions, and cooperatives (1952-1974), and the intricacies of Maya indigenous participation in peasant organizations and insurgencies during the war escalation (1976’1982). The project reassesses Maya indigenous communal politics beyond Cold War dichotomies and situates the villages as central loci to grapple with the complexity of indigenous history during the Guatemalan war. Through research in Maya territories, this work explores plantations’ territoriality and labor transformations, ground-rent expansion, and interethnic relations between Maya peoples and nonindigenous Ladinos and Spaniards. By using methods in ethno-cartography, photo-elucidation workshops, memory visits, chronology of the war, in-situ interviews and focus groups, and recently found historical archives, memoirs, and photos, the research reconstructs the history of Maya communal politics and individual militancy from the standpoint of indigenous narratologies of the war. This research reinterprets one of Latin America’s Cold War paradigmatic cases from a historical anthropological approach.