Mayan Cognition, Memory, and Trauma

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Linstroth, J. P. (2009) Mayan Cognition, Memory, and Trauma, History and Anthropology 20(2): 139–182.

The argument of this article is organized around the following general themes: understanding representational “exaggeration” for signifying indigenous others; assessing the differences for the social agency of recollection, especially in relation to lawyer-oriented depositions and researcher-oriented interviews; analysing the cognitive aspects of surviving the Guatemalan genocide and examining the cognition of discrimination among Mayanimmigrants in South Florida. Empirical data for this essay is based upon oral histories of three Mayan-immigrants currently living in Palm Beach County, Florida, and archival data from legal depositions in the 1980s and 1990s of five Mayan-immigrants in Martin County, Florida. Important aspects of this paper analyse the historical consequences of the Guatemalan Civil War during the 1980s and the role of social memory, episodic trauma, semantic trauma and the ontological effects of violence. In addition, notions of differing forms of time in relation to trauma are introduced as “synchronic trauma” and “diachronic trauma”.

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J. P. Linstroth

J. P. Linstroth

Senior Researcher