To understand the Zapatista Doll interms of global politics and intersecting cultures.
What do the Zapatista Dolls mean to the intersecting cultures of indigenous Chamula and international tourism?
The makers of the Zapatista dolls are not Zapatistas.
They are women in the crossfire.
The dolls they make carry Zapatista ideology into the tourist market and capatilist
ideology into indigenous craft production.
the dolls are a product of indigenous culture catering to the demands of global tourism
They represent an intersectiton of ancient tradition with superpower politics
The accept and defy globalization
********** BACKGROUND *******
1994 Chiapas: richest & poorest Mexican state:
Indigenous Farmers to Hydro-electric power. Oil, NAFTA, Guatemalian refugees, Montsanto.
Refugee barios in San Christobal "Zones":
Repeal of Article 27: displaced indigenous throughout Chiapas
Chamula Protestant Expulsions: 50% of Chamulans banished = more refugees
Zapatista uprising / Government response: demaning indigenous rights and the results of violence:
No tourism, No business.
2004 Chiapas: richest & poorest Mexican state:
effects of NAFTA on population. Status of "los hornos".
"low intesity" hidden warfare.
Militiarizaion of Chiapas makes it "safe for business".
Zapatistas become tourist commodity/attraction.
First adventurist tourist then International Corperations return to Chiapas.
Many studies of Zapatistas, none of Zapatista dolls
Presently the indigenous of Chiapas are undergoing a massive cultural metamorphosis.
The dolls are ancient culture's attmpt to survive the New World Order.
The dolls offer global culture access into hidden aspects of Tzotzil life.
Tzotzil culture may be disappearing, but as it does, it is reaching out to be understood by its conqureres.
********** METHODOLOGY ***************
Research at UofL guided by David Horvath and Mary Carothers.
Interviews with Mexican history scholars and human rights activists:
Nancy Jackubiak, MSN. Esteban Bartlette, Agricultual Missions.
Academic Research (articles from books, journals, websites):
History of Chamula: ancient to contemporary ( Gary Gossen)
Contemporary Global Politics & Chiapas (La Jornada)
Art Instruction / Volunteer work with indigineous Mayan women living in Kentucky.
Seven Counties Latina Outreach program.
Fieldwork in San Christobal de las Casas and San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico.
working directly with the Chamulan women to learn dollmaking and its cultural significance.
Observing tourist response to the dolls. interviewing local experts on the current political situation in Chiapas.
Video and photo documentation of doll making and the culture from which it emerges.
Phase 1: Politics and Culture of Contemporary Chiapas
July 9 - August 31, 2004
Phase 2: Dollmaking Practices of San Juan Chamula.
October 3 - November 15, 2005
********* LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH *********
The Tzotzil-Maya culture of Chamula is very closed.
Outsiders (esp. westerners) are not trusted within this society.
Many of the dollmakers speak only Tzotzil, not Spanish or English
The political situation has created addtional fear and suspicion of anyone "asking too many questions"
************ PROGRESS ****************
With the Tsotzil craftswomen over several years, trust and friendship has grown
The women who were once suspicious of us, now freely share ideas and personal insight
We are beginning to understand Tzotzil world-view & the effects globalization on Chamulan women.
We have been invited to spend our next visit (Fall 2005) living and working with the women in the "forbidden zones".
*********** CURRENT STATUS ***********
Established connections and friendships with important Chamulan dollmakers
Opened doors into Tzotzil culture
Established connections with the EZLN, human rights activists, and Mexican Government officials in Chiapas.
Developed understanding of Chiapeneca History and Politics
Collected video and photo documentation of doll making techniques
Collected video and photo documentation of life in Chiapas
Organizing & distributing information at www.zapatistadolls.com
Sharing Research at Academic Symposium & with local organizations (KITLAC, Sevn Counties, The Kentucky Foundation for Women)
************ RESULTS **************
******* FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS ********
Return to San Christobal and Chamula in the Fall of 2005 for further instruction from the Tzotzil dollmakers.
Stregnthen understanding of Chamulan culture & the effects of globalization on the Modern Maya in Chiapas.
Video document ancient practices of shearing, felting, weaving, and dying lambs wool (sacrid item and primary doll making material).
Organize research material for publication.
Edit video to create a short documentary film.
Print photos and collect dolls for U.S. exhibition.