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In Search of Providence

Transnational Mayan Identities

Second Edition

Patricia Foxen (author)

ISBN: 9780826501363

Publication Date: Sep 2020

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback   Paperback   Paperback  

Argues that the recent surge in Mayan border crossings must be contextualized within both the longer history of violence, marginality, and exclusion that has long led Guatemala's indigenous populations to be "survivors on the move", and in terms of the contemporary push factors such as climate change and growing inequality.
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  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
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In the mid-1990s, Patricia Foxen traveled back and forth between the Guatemalan highlands and Providence, Rhode Island, to understand the migration paths of K'iche' Mayan Indians who had fled the Guatemalan civil war to work in the factories and fisheries of New England. More than two decades later, many Mayans are still migrating to the U.S., today part of the 'border crisis' that prompted Trump administration's ruthless immigration and asylum policy backlash. As Foxen argues, the recent surge in Mayan border crossings must be contextualized within both the longer history of violence, marginality, and exclusion that has long led Guatemala's indigenous populations to be 'survivors on the move,' and in terms of the contemporary push factors such as climate change and growing inequality that have forced people from their communities.

And yet, one of the most significant drivers of continued emigration today, ironically, is the very culture of migration (described in the book) that has accelerated social change within many indigenous communities, setting in motion a complex series of economic and cultural shifts that have compelled a continuous movement of people and generations to the U.S. Reading this story in 2020 - at a time of massive growth in flows of irregular migrations around the world - can help us better understand the highly complex set of factors that propel long-term migrations and that shape transnational communities on both sides of the border.

In Search of Providence offers a layered, historically-grounded perspective that speaks to the local specificity behind the migration experience in order to point to the universal themes and contradictions of contemporary global displacements.
Pages 412
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Sep 2020
Publisher Vanderbilt University Press
Subject/s History of the Americas   Social & cultural anthropology   Migration, immigration & emigration   Ethnic studies  
  • Foreword - Francisco Goldman
  • Preface to the New Edition
  • Acknowledgments 
  • Preface: One Foot Here, One Foot There
  • 1 Entering the Field 
  • 2 Mayan Identities through History 
  • 3 The K'iche' of Xinxuc 
  • 4 La Costa del Norte
  • Transnational Social Practices 
  • 5 A Dialogue on Indianness
  • Maya or Mojado? 
  • 6 Memory and Guilt 
  • Epilogue 
  • Glossary 
  • Appendix
  • Three Transnational K'iche' Families 
  • Notes 
  • Bibliography 
  • Index
Patricia Foxen is a Research Associate at the Toronto General Hospital, Women's Health Program, cross-appointed at the University of Toronto Anthropology Department. She was previously a Research Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, and has worked as an anthropologist for the Transcultural Psychiatry Division of Montreal Children's Hospital. Patricia Foxen is a cultural anthropologist. Her research focuses on the intersection of migration, violence, culture and mental health, particularly among indigenous migrants and at risk youth. She has taught at Vanderbilt University and the University of Toronto and is currently a visiting fellow at American University and the Deputy Director of Research at Unidos US.

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