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Our Time is Now

Our Time is Now
Race and Modernity in Postcolonial Guatemala

Part of Cambridge Latin American Studies

  • Publication planned for: October 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108489140

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  • Postcolonial histories have long emphasized the darker side of narratives of historical progress, especially their role in underwriting global and racial hierarchies. Concepts like primitiveness, backwardness, and underdevelopment not only racialized and gendered peoples and regions, but also ranked them on a seemingly naturalized timeline - their 'present' is our 'past' - and reframed the politics of capitalist expansion and colonization as an orderly, natural process of evolution towards modernity. Our Time is Now reveals that modernity particularly appealed to those excluded from power, precisely because of its aspirational and future orientation. In the process, marginalized peoples creatively imagined diverse political futures that redefined the racialized and temporal terms of modernity. Employing a critical reading of a wide variety of previously untapped sources, Julie Gibbings demonstrates how the struggle between indigenous people and settlers to manage contested ideas of time and history as well as practices of modern politics, economics, and social norms were central to the rise of coffee capitalism in Guatemala and to twentieth century populist dictatorship and revolution.

    • Examines Q'eqchi Maya efforts to forge an alternative vision of modernity via indigenous traditions, politics, culture, economics, and general worldviews during a period of unrest in postcolonial Guatemala
    • Demonstrates the ways that historical time was central to contests over race and aspects of political modernity including citizenship, labor, and nation
    • Uses sources including oral histories, municipal and national archives, newspapers, poetry and novels, popular histories and photographs, and plantation records
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108489140
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 3 maps 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: History Will Write Our Names
    I. Translating Modernities:
    1. To Live without King or Castle: Maya Patriarchal Liberalism on the Eve of a New Era, 1860-1871
    2. Possessing Sentiments and Ideas of Progress: Coffee Planting, Land Privatization, and Liberal Reform, 1871-1885
    3. Indolence is the Death of Character: The Making of Race and Labor, 1885-1898
    4. El Q'eq Roams at Night: Plantation Sovereignty and Racial Capitalism, 1898–1914
    II. Aspirations and Anxieties of Unfulfilled Modernities:
    5. On the Throne of Minerva: The Making of Urban Modernities, 1908–1920
    6. Freedom of the Indian: Maya Rights and Citizenship in a Democratic Experiment, 1920–1932
    7. Possessing Tezulutlán: Splitting Time in Dictatorship, 1931-1939
    8. Now Owners of Our Land: Nationalism, History, and Memory in Revolution, 1939-1954.

  • Author

    Julie Gibbings, University of Edinburgh
    Julie Gibbings is a Lecturer in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

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