Perpetual Creation and Decomposition: Bodies, Gender, and Desire in The Assumptions Of A Guatemalan Discourse of Mestizaje

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Abstract

Assumptions about bodies, gender, and desire are explored in an examination of Marta Casaus Arzú's book Guatemala: Linaje y Racismo. Widely discussed in a historic moment marked by the Columbus Quincentennial, the Christian millenium, and the U.N. timetable for implementing peace accords signed in 1996, the book looks critically at the way racism and kinship work together to maintain unequal class relations. She argues against racist discourses which view the "Indian" as physically different from the ladino in favor of embodied sameness - the mestizo body. Acknowledging this as an intervention for the common good the author asks, what is erased in mestizaje discourse? And what effects do these erasures have in ladino and Maya assumptions of identity?

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