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From Moon Goddesses to Virgins: The Colonization of Yucatecan Maya Sexual Desire

From Moon Goddesses to Virgins: The Colonization of Yucatecan Maya Sexual Desire

Paperback

By (author) Peter Sigal

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  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Format: Paperback | 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 229mm x 22mm | 532g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2000
  • Publication City/Country: Austin, TX
  • ISBN 10: 0292777531
  • ISBN 13: 9780292777538
  • Illustrations note: 14 line drawings

Product description

For the pre-conquest Maya, sexuality was a part of ritual discourse and performance, and all sex acts were understood in terms of their power to create, maintain, and destroy society. As post-conquest Maya adapted to life under colonial rule, they neither fully abandoned these views nor completely adopted the formulation of sexuality prescribed by Spanish Catholicism. Instead, they evolved hybridised notions of sexual desire, represented in the figure of the Virgin Mary as a sexual goddess, whose sex acts embodied both creative and destructive components. This highly innovative book decodes the process through which this colonization of Yucatecan Maya sexual desire occurred. Pete Sigal frames the discussion around a series of texts, including the "Books of Chilam Balam" and the "Ritual of the Bacabs", that were written by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Maya nobles to elucidate the history, religion, and philosophy of the Yucatecan Maya communities. Drawing on the insights of philology, discourse analysis, and deconstruction, he analyses the sexual fantasies, fears, and desires that are presented, often unintentionally, in the "margins" of these texts and shows how they illuminate issues of colonialism, power, ritual, and gender. Pete Sigal is Assistant Professor of Latin American History at California State University, Los Angeles.

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Review quote

"This is a bold, fascinating, often highly original contribution to the field of Maya studies, and Maya colonial ethnohistory in particular... Because of its subject matter, it will appeal to both specialists in Latin American history and academic and non-academic readers interested in the study of sexuality." -Susan Kellogg, Associate Professor of History, University of Houston

Back cover copy

For the preconquest Maya, sexuality was a part of ritual discourse and performance, and all sex acts were understood in terms of their power to create, maintain, and destroy society. As postconquest Maya adapted to life under colonial rule, they neither fully abandoned these views nor completely adopted the formulation of sexuality prescribed by Spanish Catholicism. Instead, they evolved hybridized notions of sexual desire, represented in the figure of the Virgin Mary as a sexual goddess, whose sex acts embodied both creative and destructive components.This highly innovative book decodes the process through which this colonization of Yucatecan Maya sexual desire occurred. Pete Sigal frames the discussion around a series of texts, including the Books of Chilam Balam and the Ritual of the Bacabs, that were written by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Maya nobles to elucidate the history, religion, and philosophy of the Yucatecan Maya communities. Drawing on the insights of philology, discourse analysis, and deconstruction, he analyzes the sexual fantasies, fears, and desires that are presented, often unintentionally, in the "margins" of these texts and shows how they illuminate issues of colonialism, power, ritual, and gender.

Table of contents

Contents: Searching for the Moon Goddess; Religion and Family; Framing Maya Sexual Desire; Fornicationg with Priests, Communicationg with Gods; The Unvirgin Virgin; Gender, Lineage, and the Blood of Rulers; Blood, Semen, and Ritual; Transsexuality and the Floating Phallus; Ritualized Bisexuality; Finding the Virgin Mary