33 books like Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II

By John Lloyd Stephens, Frederick Catherwood (illustrator),

Here are 33 books that Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II fans have personally recommended if you like Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Two Milpas of Chan Kom: Scenarios of a Maya Village Life

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

This book is many things: A wonderful ethnography, a tribute to the Mexican and foreign ethnographers who preceded Re Cruz’s in the area, a call to ethnographers for writing creativity, and, glowingly, a show of respect for local people, their agency, and their understandings of the world.

Chan Kom, as Re Cruz reminds us, has been an ethnographic laboratory since the first decades of the 20th century. Re Cruz chose to structure her book following the script of a local play performed by high school students. For anthropology students this is a good example of an engaging ethnography.

For historians of the recent past this is a record of the cultural impact that the emergence of Cancun had on Yucatecan rural life.

By Alicia Re Cruz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Two Milpas of Chan Kom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An ethnographic account of Chan Kom, a contemporary Maya community in Yucatan, Mexico that focuses on the social schism within the community resulting from an accelerated process of migration to Cancun, a major tourist center.


Book cover of Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in Yucatan

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

I grew up, like many other Yucatecans, convinced by my family and friends that Yucatecan cuisine is one of the best in the world, and it took many years and an anthropology degree for me to see this as a form of ethnocentrism.

Ayora-Diaz examines and deconstructs this belief, deep-seated in Yucatecans' minds, through his sophisticated study of Yucatecan regionalism through the lens of food and gastronomy.

The author proposes that what is now understood and acknowledged as “Yucatecan food” has been created out of three converging threads: home kitchens, recipe books, and restaurants. Through food, Yucatecans have carved a regionalism almost in opposition to a “Mexican” identity.

Weaving theory, ethnography, and food anecdotes, this book will leave you hungry, wanting to try all the food in Yucatan.

By Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in Yucatan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The state of Yucatan has its own distinct culinary tradition, and local people are constantly thinking and talking about food. They use it as a vehicle for social relations but also to distinguish themselves from "Mexicans." This book examines the politics surrounding regional cuisine, as the author argues that Yucatecan gastronomy has been created and promoted in an effort to affirm the identity of a regional people and to oppose the hegemonic force of central Mexican cultural icons and forms. In particular, Yucatecan gastronomy counters the homogenizing drive of a national cuisine based on dominant central Mexican appetencies and defies…


Book cover of Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

In the 1970s, my parents took me and my siblings to the Camino Real, one of the first hotels ever built in Cancun.

We sat on canvas chairs on the beach and my dad played the guitar. Fiddler crabs walked around us, the stars shone brightly, and we enjoyed the music and the sound of crashing waves. Tourism and its evils, however, soon became a nightmare for peninsular Yucatecans.

Through the city of Cancun, the natural reserve Calakmul, the village of Tekit and the hotels in former sisal haciendas, this ethnography shows how, even when living standards improved, local people have become geographically immobilized and resource-impoverished.

The tourist industry is predatory. It destroys natural resources, transforms places into what the rich think of as paradise, and displaces and disempowers local people.

By Matilde Cordoba Azcarate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stuck with Tourism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tourism has become one of the most powerful forces organizing the predatory geographies of late capitalism. It creates entangled futures of exploitation and dependence, extracting resources and labor, and eclipsing other ways of doing, living, and imagining life. And yet, tourism also creates jobs, encourages infrastructure development, and in many places inspires the only possibility of hope and well-being. Stuck with Tourism explores the ambivalent nature of tourism by drawing on ethnographic evidence from the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, a region voraciously transformed by tourism development over the past forty years. Contrasting labor and lived experiences at the beach resorts of…


Book cover of On Being Maya and Getting by: Heritage Politics and Community Development in Yucatan

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

There are two Ek’ Balam settings in Yucatan state: One is an outstanding, mesmerizing archaeological site, with a well-preserved representation of the mouth to the infra-world, and angel-like figures suspected to represent dancers.

The other one is a little village of the same name, next to the archaeological site, where people attempt to catch and enchant tourists who look for an alternative experience.

Life is hard in rural villages of the Yucatan peninsula, and tourism is promoted by the national and state authorities as a way to bring development to local settings. This book shows the incredible resilience and good humor characterizing Maya-speaking peoples in Yucatan.

Following a single family and their engagement with tourism through several years, this book endears the inhabitants of Ek’Balam to the reader, and also manages to place their ordeals within the larger literature regarding the tourist industry and its daily effects on people’s lives.

By Sarah R. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Being Maya and Getting by as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Being Maya and Getting By is an ethnographic study of the two Ek’Balams—a notable archaeological site and adjacent village—of the Yucatán Peninsula. When the archaeological site became a tourist destination, the village became the location of a community-based tourism development project funded by the Mexican government. Overt displays of heritage and a connection to Maya antiquity became important and profitable for the modern Maya villagers. Residents of Ek’Balam are now living in a complex ecosystem of natural and cultural resources where the notion and act of “being Maya” is deeply intertwined with economic development.
 
The book explores how Ek’Balam…


Book cover of Day Out of Days

Robert David Crane Author Of Beyond Where the Buses Run: Stories

From my list on to combat loneliness and quiet desperation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always followed writer Christopher Isherwood’s words: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” I am most comfortable as an observer, a documentarian, someone who gathers details, tries to make sense of them, lays them down in a presentable order, noticing colors, light, sounds, people’s behavior. Trying to make sense of life. I come from a divorced family, my father was murdered, and my first wife died of breast cancer. Still, there was plenty of laughter. I’m interested in and trying to figure out why we’re here.

Robert's book list on to combat loneliness and quiet desperation

Robert David Crane Why did Robert love this book?

Shepard, like McGuane, was a screenwriter and, unlike McGuane, was a playwright and actor. He thought small for the most part – one character, maybe two – sharing how people miss the brass ring, miss the obvious, miss connections. Two things about Shepard’s writing hit home with me – he is alone a lot, sometimes lonely, angry, sad, self-destructive, funny; he spends a lot of time on the road, driving his pick-up truck away from someone or, sometimes, toward someone. He doubts himself questioning lovers, family, or friends, never standing on terra firma. He’s on the run and manages to run head-on into himself in a lonely motel outside of town, his own worst enemy, a bottle on the nightstand, always searching for a pay phone. Shepard was certainly around people but his mistrust of himself built walls separating lovers, family, and friends from who he was, an observer, a…

By Sam Shepard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Day Out of Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of our most admired writers: a collection of stories set mainly in the fertile imaginative landscape of the American West, written with the terse lyricism, cinematic detail, and wry humor that have become Sam Shepard’s trademarks.

A man traveling down Highway 90 West gets trapped alone overnight inside a Cracker Barrel restaurant, where he is tormented by an endless loop of Shania Twain songs on the overhead sound system. A wandering actor returns to his hometown against his better instincts and runs into an old friend, who recounts their teenage days of stealing cars, scoring Benzedrine, and sleeping…


Book cover of Power, Poverty, and Education

Esther Hertzog Author Of Patrons of Women: Literacy Projects and Gender Development in Rural Nepal

From my list on bureaucracy and state power.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in bureaucratic power and its pervasive control grew out of my social and feminist activity no less than from my critical thinking about State institutions. Combining field research as a social anthropologist with my activism exposed me to the harmful implications of bureaucratic power. I delved into social and gender power relations in contexts like absorption centers with immigrants from Ethiopia, women's empowerment projects in "developing" countries, threatened motherhood in the welfare state, and others. My personal experience as an involved participant enabled me to better understand the ethnocentric and exploiting nature of international development projects, of Israeli "absorbing" agencies, and of child care policies. 

Esther's book list on bureaucracy and state power

Esther Hertzog Why did Esther love this book?

This book served me greatly in teaching courses on education and social stratification in Israel.

Its ethnography is fascinating and although it was published some 55 years ago its insights are still compelling and relevant. The book exposes the veiled bureaucratic interests which pull the strings behind the curtains of the educational system rather than ideals of justice and equity.

This critical analysis influenced my understanding with regard to the emergence of discrimination and racism that were the outcomes of concentrating Ethiopian children in separate classes for a long time.    

By Arnold Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power, Poverty, and Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Author Of Social Choice and Legitimacy: The Possibilities of Impossibility

From my list on how people shape their communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a social scientist, I've always been interested in how the communities we live in shape our values, priorities, and behavior. I also care about how institutional change—from small things like a college offering a new major to big things like a town choosing to incorporatecan shape communities. Each of these books has changed my thinking about how we influence, and are influenced by, the communities we live in, for better or worse. I'm a professor in the departments of Political Science and Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University in Atlanta, and I hold a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences from Caltech. 

Elizabeth's book list on how people shape their communities

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Why did Elizabeth love this book?

In 2004, sociologists Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton set up camp in a dorm at Indiana University with the aim of writing an ethnography of the girls on the floor. They tracked the girls for five years, documenting their education, social lives, and post-college outcomes. As the product of a flagship state university myself, this book floored me. Armstrong and Hamilton document a process whereby administrators attract wealthy full-tuition students by subsidizing Greek life and creating legitimate-sounding but low-value majors. Far from being an equalizer, the rich leave university employed and debt-free, while the poor leave with staggering debt and few job prospects. For those of us in higher ed, this book articulates the discomfort many of us have felt in recent decades as universities have become increasingly consumer-oriented.

By Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Laura T. Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paying for the Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two young women, dormitory mates, embark on their education at a big state university. Five years later, one is earning a good salary at a prestigious accounting firm. With no loans to repay, she lives in a fashionable apartment with her fiance. The other woman, saddled with burdensome debt and a low GPA, is still struggling to finish her degree in tourism. In an era of skyrocketing tuition and mounting concern over whether college is "worth it," Paying for the Party is an indispensable contribution to the dialogue assessing the state of American higher education. A powerful expose of unmet…


Book cover of Emotional Worlds: Beyond an Anthropology of Emotion

Maria Heim Author Of Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India

From my list on helping you identify emotions you didn’t know you had.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love words, their sound, and their power. When I was a little girl, I would adopt one and make it my own. My parents long recalled my love affair with “nonsense,” which I would wield like a wand when hearing anything silly or irrational. I think words are interwoven with what we feel in a deep and inextricable way. I am also fascinated with how Indian thought offers millennia of wide and deep explorations of human experience in ways that trouble the basic assumptions of the modern West. 

Maria's book list on helping you identify emotions you didn’t know you had

Maria Heim Why did Maria love this book?

Though I am not an anthropologist, I devour ethnographies with a gusto that can only be attributed to disciplinary envy. There are several fascinating ethnographies of emotions and how they differ across cultures. Beatty’s book stands out among them for its rich ethnographic description as well as the sophistication with which he treats the relationship of emotion and culture.

He spots the limitations that lab experiments impose on studying emotions and suggests instead that we have to pay attention to the narratives in which emotions are situated, made, and deemed meaningful. And I rather like how he punctures “affect theory.”

By Andrew Beatty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emotional Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are emotions human universals? Is the concept of emotion an invention of Western tradition? If people in other cultures live radically different emotional lives how can we ever understand them? Using vivid, often dramatic, examples from around the world, and in dialogue with current work in psychology and philosophy, Andrew Beatty develops an anthropological perspective on the affective life, showing how emotions colour experience and transform situations; how, in turn, they are shaped by culture and history. In stark contrast with accounts that depend on lab simulations, interviews, and documentary reconstruction, he takes the reader into unfamiliar cultural worlds through…


Book cover of Learning to Belong in the World: An Ethnography of Asian American Girls

Hoda Mahmoudi Author Of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on childhood and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  

Hoda's book list on childhood and globalization

Hoda Mahmoudi Why did Hoda love this book?

Growing up, I moved from one culture to another, and I know being a teenager can be difficult. The lives of teenage girls are complex, even more so for the children of Asian immigrants, who not only face the pressures of school and society but also serve as cultural mediators, negotiators, community builders, and bridges between the many worlds they grow up in. His book looks at the lives of Asian American girls and their roles in globalization and boundary crossing as they struggle, dream, grow, and thrive. As an immigrant myself, I connected to many of the ideas in this book.

By Tomoko Tokunaga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Learning to Belong in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a complex and intricate portrayal of Asian American high school girls - which has been an under-researched population - as cultural meditators, diasporic agents, and community builders who negotiate displacement and attachment in challenging worlds of the in-between. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Tomoko Tokunaga presents a portrait of the girls' hardships, dilemmas, and dreams while growing up in an interconnected world. This book contributes a new understanding of the roles of immigrant children and youth as agents of globalization and sophisticated border-crossers who have the power and agency to construct belonging and identity across…


Book cover of William Bartram: Travels & Other Writings

Patrick Dean Author Of Nature's Messenger: Mark Catesby and His Adventures in a New World

From my list on trailblazing explorers in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in Mississippi, I have long been fascinated with the natural history of the South and of the Americas in general. And as an outdoorsy guy, a NOLS graudate, mountain-biker, trail-runner, and paddler, I revel in reading accounts of the early days of Western exploration in the woodlands, mountains, and coastal regions of our hemisphere. Finally, as an avid reader and now author, I constantly seek out enthralling and wide-ranging narratives about exploration, outdoor adventure, and the natural world.

Patrick's book list on trailblazing explorers in the Americas

Patrick Dean Why did Patrick love this book?

William Bartram is the first great Native American naturalist.

His Travels recount his journeys through the American Southeast between 1773 and 1776, and contain unparalleled descriptions of the flora and fauna of the region, as well as his ethnographic studies of Native Americans there. The Library of America edition is top-notch.

By William Bartram, Thomas P. Slaughter (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked William Bartram as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Artist, writer, botanist, gardener, naturalist, intrepid wilderness explorer, and self-styled “philosophical pilgrim,” William Bartram was an extraordinary figure in eighteenth-century American life. The first American to devote himself to what we would now call the environment, Bartram was the most significant American writer before Thoreau and a nature artist who rivals Audubon. He was also a pioneering ethnographer whose works are a crucial source for the study of the Indian cultures of southeastern America. The Library of America presents the first collection of his writings and the largest gathering of his remarkable drawings ever published.

Long recognized as an American…


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