From Moon Goddesses to Virgins

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

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Description

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 Yucatan 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 344 pages
  • 157 x 229.4 x 22.4mm | 532.48g
  • University of Texas Press
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • English
  • 14 line drawings
  • 0292777531
  • 9780292777538

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.

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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

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Table of contents

* List of Illustrations * Preface and Acknowledgments * Notes on Transcription and Translation * Searching for the Moon Goddess * To Desire the Moon Goddess * Sexual Desire * Colonial Maya Sexual Acts * Colonial Maya Sexual Ideas * The Historian's Method * Religion and Family * Religion * Family * Revisiting Hybridity * Framing Maya Sexual Desire * Defining the Hybrid Cultural Matrix * Sex,Gender,and War * Colonizing Sin * Performing the Hybrid * Fornicating with Priests, Communicating with Gods * Having Sex in a Church * Strategic Inversions * Excess Sex: Adultery, Rape, and the Commoners * Thinking of Sex * The Unvirgin Virgin * The Moon Goddess * The Appearance of the Virgin Mary * The Moon Goddess and the Virgin * The Language of Virginity * The Resilience of the Moon Goddess * Gender, Lineage, and the Blood of the Rulers * Bodies of Kings * The Blood of the Name * Blood, Naming,and Masculinity * Blood, Semen, and Ritual * Blood of the Vagina * Blood of the Penis * Phallic Motions and Transsexual Bodies * Gendered Blood and Transsexual Bodies * Transsexuality and the Floating Phallus * The Phallus without a Body * Transsexuality * Colonialism, Oedipus, and the Floating Phallus * Ritualized Bisexuality * Sodomites, Homosexuals, Bisexuals * Activity and Passivity * Pedagogy, Pederasty,and Political Power * Sexual Control * Finding the Virgin Mary * Sexual Acts, Symbols, and Desires * Theorizing Hybridity and Sexuality * Notes * Abbreviations * Bibliography * Index

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About Pete Sigal

Pete Sigal is Professor of History at Duke University.

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