A Community History of Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico: Recovering the Maya Past
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I propose to write a community history of early twentieth century Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was a Maya village that became a key political and religious site for Mayas during the mid nineteenth century Caste War of Yucatan (1847-1901). Although the archeological ruins adjacent to the village are now one of Mexico's leading archeological sites and tourist attractions, the history of the adjacent village and its residents remains largely unwritten and unrecorded. Local residents, especially elders, have significant knowledge of the early twentieth century in Tulum, and it is crucial to recover this knowledge as soon as possible. This knowledge will contribute to understanding Maya culture and the socio-political relations that Santa Cruz Mayas had with Mexicans and other outsiders during the first half of the twentieth century.
I propose to use oral histories of community elders, members of Tulum's founding families, and a broad range of other people familiar with the region to reconstruct the early twentieth century history of Tulum. I will further use historical photographs to supplement the interviews and evoke memories about socio-political relations and cultural practices. I will ask about a variety of topics, including socio-political relations and military roles, religious structures and ideology, work and economic production, kinship, marriage and family, and education. This research will make a significant contribution to understanding the socio-cultural and political-economic processes that defined and shaped Santa Cruz Maya communities during the first half of the twentieth century.