María Luz García
I take perspectives from linguistic and cultural anthropology to consider the ways that Ixil Mayas make use of the resources of their language in constructing and reflecting social realities. In my doctoral research, I considered the expression of historical memory of the recent period of violence in Guatemala in various Ixil genres of speech.
This work became especially relevant in understanding the participation of Ixil witnesses in the 2013 genocide trial of former de facto president of Guatemala, José Efraín Ríos Montt. In my work, I consider how diverging forms of speech are deeply connected to different identities and ways of experiencing and understanding history. I also consider the central role of language in processes of justice and political activism in solidarity with marginalized populations.
Similar questions of communicational barriers at the intersection of language and culture within institutional contexts and the importance of language in justice and solidarity work led me to focus on Ixil experiences with non-Maya institutions in the United States. As Ixil people have moved to the United States in increasingly significant numbers over the past ten years, I have considered Ixil experiences in criminal justice, immigration, educational, and healthcare systems.
Methodologically, my research is both discourse-centered and ethnographic and is based on long-term engagement with Ixil communities in both Guatemala and the United States.
Areas of Interest
- Discourse-centered approaches
- Ethnographic methods
- Ethnography of speaking
- Transitional justice
- Language and migration
- Indigenous languages of Mesoamerica
- Language and activism
García, María Luz. 2019. “Translated Justice? The Ixil Maya and the Trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt for Genocide in Guatemala.” American Anthropologist. 121(2):311-324.
García, María Luz. 2019. “Language, Culture and Justice: Ixil Mayan Verbal Art in the 2013 Genocide Trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 29(2): 239-248.
García, María Luz. 2019. “Mayan Languages in the United States.” The Changing World Language Map. New York: Springer.
Barrett, Rusty and Hilaria Cruz, María Luz García. 2016. “Difficult Interpretations: Linguistic Anthropology and Access to Social Services.” Anthropology News. September, 2016.
García, María Luz. 2014. “The Long Count of Ixhil Historical Memory in Guatemala’s Post-War Period.” American Ethnologist. Vol. 41. Issue 4.
García, María Luz. 2012. “Discourse, Social Cohesion and the Politics of Historical Memory in the Ixhil Maya Region of Guatemala.” PhD dissertation, University of Texas.