Unwriting Maya Literature
Ts'íib as Recorded Knowledge
As ts’íib refers to a broad range of artistic production from painted codices and textiles to works composed in Latin script, as well as plastic arts, the authors argue that texts by contemporary Maya writers must be read as dialoguing with a multimodal Indigenous understanding of text. In other words, ts’íib is an alternative to understanding “writing” that does not stand in opposition to but rather fully encompasses alphabetic writing, placing it alongside and in dialogue with a number of other forms of recorded knowledge. This shift in focus allows for a critical reexamination of the role that weaving and bodily performance play in these literatures, as well as for a nuanced understanding of how Maya writers articulate decolonial Maya aesthetics in their works.
Unwriting Maya Literature places contemporary Maya literatures within a context that is situated in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Through ts’íib, the authors propose an alternative to traditional analysis of Maya cultural production that allows critics, students, and admirers to respectfully interact with the texts and their authors. Unwriting Maya Literature offers critical praxis for understanding Mesoamerican works that encompass non-Western ways of reading and creating texts.
“This book is an original contribution to Maya, Indigenous, Latin American, and literary studies. The authors produce generative readings and insightful analyses of Maya cultural productions—whether textiles or poetry—from across the Maya region, moving beyond nation-state borders.” —Gloria E. Chacón, University of California, San Diego