Nov 8, 2012

Fellow Publishes Book on Persecution of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala

Egla Martínez Salazar, one of the first winners of the Sylff Prize, has published a new, critically acclaimed book titled, Global Coloniality of Power in Guatemala. Racism, Genocide, Citizenship.

In this critique of the geopolitics of knowledge, Martínez Salazar examines the racialized feminicide, attacks on Maya children, and other forms of state terror in Guatemala that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with the full support of the Western colonial powers.

Drawing on a careful analysis of recently declassified state documents, thematic life histories, and compelling interviews with Maya and Mestizo men and women, Martinez Salazar, who herself was born and raised in Guatemala, shows how people resisting oppression have been pushed into the political periphery.

At the center of her book is an examination of how coloniality survives colonialism, a crucial point for understanding how contemporary hegemonic practices and ideologies—such as equality, democracy, human rights, peace, and citizenship—are deeply contested terrains, for they create nominal equality from practical social inequality.

While many in the global North continue to enjoy the benefits of such domination, millions, if not billions, in both the South and North have been persecuted, controlled, and exterminated during their struggles for a more just world.

“One of the strongest aspects of the book,” writes Walter D. Mignolo, author of The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options, is that it “shows how racism works in everyday life—in racializing proper names and clothes, entangling economic injustices, and exploiting labor. . . . Attentive to the colonial wound that she herself experienced, Martinez Salazar explains genocides and feminecides as logical consequences of coloniality, the hidden agenda of modernity.”

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