Skip to content

Emilio del Valle Escalante, Associate Professor of Spanish – UNC

Intercultural Politics in Guatemala: A Maya K’iche’ Perspective

In the last decades, the question of interculturality (the coexistence of culturally and linguistically diverse populations within nation-states) has been constantly debated in Guatemala, a country where the majority of the population is Maya. How is the nation-state responding to Guatemala’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity? How are Mayas embracing or contesting the government’s proposals? How to address the issue of interculturality after the recently ended civil war (1960-1996) in which the government, particularly in the 1980s, sought to eliminate the indigenous population? In this talk I propose to address these questions by particularly focusing on educational policies that aim to implement an Intercultural Bilingual Education.

Emilio del Valle Escalante (K’iche’ Maya) is originally from Guatemala. His research interest focus on contemporary Latin American literatures and cultural studies with particular emphasis on indigenous literatures and social movements, Central American literatures and cultures, and post-colonial and subaltern studies theory in the Latin American context. His broader cultural and theoretical interests cluster around areas involving themes of colonialism as these relate to issues of nationhood, national identity, race/ethnicity and gender. He is the author of Maya Nationalisms and Postcolonial Challenges in Guatemala: Coloniality, Modernity and Identity Politics (SAR, 2009; Spanish version by FLACSO, 2008), the editor of “Indigenous Literatures and Social Movements in Latin America” (a special issue of Latin American Indian Literatures Journal [Spring 2008]) and   U’k’ux kaj, u’k’ux ulew: Antologia de poesia Maya guatemalteca contemporanea (IILI, 2010).