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Erich Fox Tree wrote a chapter in the book Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age.

Fox Tree Publishes Book Chapter

By Holly Foster
Posted September 20, 2010
Tags Erich Fox Tree Religious Studies
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Erich Fox Tree has published a chapter titled “Global Linguistics, Mayan Languages, and the Cultivation of Autonomy” in the book Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy: Insights for a Global Age. All of the chapters in the edited volume go beyond westerner’s standard models of autonomy to spotlight how indigenous struggles are reshaping globalization to better support human societies and the environment. Most deal with Native groups of the Americas, from Canadian Crees, to South American Mapuches.

Fox Tree’s chapter analyzes how indigenous Mayas have not only borrowed a “globalized” phylolinguistic model of identity from western linguists and anthropologists, but indigenized that scientific model, re-interpreting it as an ancient part of Maya mythology. He argues that while the simplified linguistic theories have allowed Mayas to gain some limited political concessions in Guatemala, they have also imperiled traditional Maya forms of autonomy, by promoting new ideologies about the relationship of land and people, via its emphasis on the naive notion of homogenous ethno-linguistic communities controlling non-overlapping territories.

Fox Tree points to recent efforts to promote agriculture-based models of language and identity as a hope for reinvigorating traditional forms of both linguistic and territorial autonomy.

The volume Indigenous Peoples and Autonomy is edited by Mario Blaser, Ravi de Costa, Deborah McGregor and William D. Coleman and is the ninth in a series on “Globalization and Autonomy” published by the University of British Columbia Press.

The series represents more than five years of work by dozens of international scholars linked to the Globalization and Autonomy (Mondialisation et Autonomie) Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Information on the project, including early summaries of the research in the series, can be found at the SSHRC-supported Globalization and Autonomy Online Compendium: www.globalautonomy.ca

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