The term "el pueblo" is used throughout Latin America, referring alternately to small towns, to community, or to "the people" as a political entity. In this vivid anthropological and historical analysis of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, Paul K. Eiss explores the multiple meanings of el pueblo and the power of the concept to unite the diverse claims made in its name. Eiss focuses on working-class indigenous and mestizo populations, examining how those groups negotiated the meaning of el pueblo among themselves and in their interactions with outsiders, including landowners, activists, and government officials. Combining extensive archival and ethnographic research, he describes how residents of the region have laid claim to el pueblo in varied ways, as exemplified in communal narratives recorded in archival documents, in the performance of plays and religious processions, and in struggles over land, politics, and the built environment. Eiss demonstrates that while el pueblo is used throughout the hemisphere, the term is given meaning and power through the ways it is imagined and constructed in local contexts. Moreover, he reveals el pueblo to be a concept that is as historical as it is political. It is in the name of el pueblo-rather than class, race, or nation-that inhabitants of northwestern Yucatan stake their deepest claims not only to social or political rights, but over history itself.
Paul K. Eiss is Associate Professor of Anthropology and History and the Director of the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University.
About the Series ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction. From Archive to Ashes 1 I. Dispossession 1. The Last Cacique: The Archival Landscapes of Kah, Comun, and Pueblo 19 2. Kings of the Forest: Civilization, Savagery, and the Annals of History 45 3. Hunucma's Zapata: Objects of Insurgency and Auguries of Liberation 77 II. Repossession 4. The Redemption: Subjects of Revolution and Objects of Governance 105 5. The General and the Beast: Murder, Martyrdom, and the Bones of el Pueblo 131 6. The President's Dead Hand: Surveys, Maps, and the Measure of el Pueblo 158 III. Recognition 7. The War of the Eggs: Tragedy, Redemption, and the Carnivalesque 189 8. By the Virgin's Grace: The Archival Landscapes of Miracle, Money, and Memory 218 9. Poet, Prophet, and Politician: Forgetting and Remembering Hunucma 244 Conclusion. "No"-Place 270 Appendix 277 Notes 281 Glossary 309 Bibliography 313 Index 327