100 books like The Two Milpas of Chan Kom

By Alicia Re Cruz,

Here are 100 books that The Two Milpas of Chan Kom fans have personally recommended if you like The Two Milpas of Chan Kom. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II

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 read this book when I was a teenager growing up in Yucatan.

Stephens’ description of both the everyday life of Yucatecans in local villages and cities, and of the imposing ruins left by the Maya are enchanting. Catherwood’s drawings and plates are both accurate and dream-like representations of Yucatecan life, Maya ruins and artifacts at the time.

The book left vivid pictures in my mind; I could and still can see across Yucatan the traces of what Stephens described and Catherwood caught with his drawings and plates.

This book has resisted the passage of time as a story of travel and discovery. As a tale of adventure and wonderment, it was and remains a brilliant prelude to the ethnography of the area.

By John Lloyd Stephens, Frederick Catherwood (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Both volumes of John Lloyd Stephens epic accounts of the Yucatan are united in this single volume, complete with over 100 illustrations of encounters on his journeys in Central America.

Prior to the 1840s, when J. L. Stephens published this superb account of his explorations, the Yucatan was only crudely charted by Western explorers. Yet their descriptions of the odd ruins and beautiful landscape intrigued the young John Lloyd Stephens, who spent years yearning to explore and better chart the faraway lands. After a number of years spent traversing Europe and Egypt, Stephens was in 1839 commissioned as a Special…


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 What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Mark R. Cheathem Author Of Andrew Jackson, Southerner

From my list on explaining Andrew Jackson.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in Andrew Jackson as an undergraduate student who worked at his Nashville plantation, The Hermitage. Nearly thirty years later, I am still fascinated by Old Hickory. We wouldn’t be friends, and I wouldn’t vote for him, but I consider him essential to understanding the United States’ development between his ascension as a national hero during the War of 1812 and his death in 1845. That we still argue about Jackson’s role as a symbol both of patriotism and of genocide speaks to his enduring significance to the national conversation about what the United States has represented and continues to represent.  

Mark's book list on explaining Andrew Jackson

Mark R. Cheathem Why did Mark love this book?

A number of books explain the world in which Jackson came to national recognition, but Howe’s provides a decidedly critical view of Old Hickory and his politics. He is clearly sympathetic to the Whigs, opponents of Jackson and his Democratic party; nevertheless, Howe’s book is a good starting point for a broader perspective on Jacksonian America.

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked What Hath God Wrought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary
improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the…


Book cover of Europe and the People Without History

Brett Bowden Author Of The Strange Persistence of Universal History in Political Thought

From my list on humankind’s place in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

The search for meaning in history is all part of the search for meaning in life. Whether archaeologists or historians, economists or physicists, they are not just looking for artefacts when digging in the dirt or scanning the skies, they are looking for evidence to piece together a bigger picture—meaning in the minutiae. I’m sceptical, but the philosophy of history remains a fascinating subject, which is why I’ve explored ideas about civilization, progress, and progressive history in a number of books and articles. My primary concern about teleological accounts of history is that they tend to deny people's agency, especially non-Western peoples.

Brett's book list on humankind’s place in history

Brett Bowden Why did Brett love this book?

This is another important work by an anthropologist challenging the genealogy of the West and its ideas and institutions. It exposes the myth of history as a supposed moral success story: ancient Greece… Rome… Christian Europe… Renaissance… Enlightenment… liberal democracy… the pursuit of happiness, etc. Wolf systematically highlights why this is a flawed and fraught notion, especially for those people who do not fit neatly into the schema.

By Eric R. Wolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Europe and the People Without History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Offering insight and equal consideration into the societies of the "civilized" and "uncivilized" world, "Europe and the People Without History" deftly explores the historical trajectory of so-called modern globalization. In this foundational text about the development of the global political economy, Eric R. Wolf challenges the long-held anthropological notion that non-European cultures and people were isolated and static entities before the advent of European colonialism and imperialism. Ironically referred to as "the People Without History" by Wolf, these societies before active colonization possessed perpetually changing, reactionary cultures and were indeed just as intertwined into the processes of the pre-Columbian global…


Book cover of The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s

Timothy N. Thurber Author Of Republicans and Race: The GOP's Frayed Relationship with African Americans, 1945-1974

From my list on Republicans and Democrats in the 1960s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I developed a strong interest in current events, especially politics, in high school. What the government does, or does not do, struck me as a vital piece of the puzzle in trying to explain why things are the way they are. That soon led, however, to seeing how the past continues to influence the present. No decade is more important than the 1960s for understanding our current political climate.

Timothy's book list on Republicans and Democrats in the 1960s

Timothy N. Thurber Why did Timothy love this book?

Historians rightly stress that social movements and broad forces, often decades in the making, shape history, but Weisbrot and Mackenzie note that many of the monumental reforms of the 1960s that continue to define our society today resulted primarily from decisions made by liberal presidents, members of Congress, and the Supreme Court. 

They vividly convey the confidence in government as a force for good that lay at the core of liberal thinking. They are sympathetic to much of the liberals’ efforts, yet they also acknowledge their shortcomings.    

By G. Calvin Mackenzie, Robert Weisbrot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Liberal Hour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engaging be hind-the-scenes look at the lesser-known forces that fueled the profound social reforms of the 1960s

Provocative and incisive , The Liberal Hour reveals how Washington, so often portrayed as a target of reform in the 1960s, was in fact the era's most effective engine of change. The movements of the 1960s have always drawn the most attention from the decade's chroniclers, but it was in the halls of government-so often the target of protesters' wrath-that the enduring reforms of the era were produced. With nuance and panache, Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot present the real-life characters-from giants…


Book cover of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia

Stephan Lewandowsky Author Of The Debunking Handbook 2020

From my list on the perils facing democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a lifelong interest in history and in particular the history of democracy. When I became a cognitive scientist, I initially studied basic memory processes using a mix of computer simulations and experimentation. I became interested in misinformation during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when the purported “Weapons of Mass Destruction” never materialized but large segments of the American public continued to believe in their existence. Some 20 years later, misinformation has taken center stage in public life and has metastasized into a danger to democracy in many countries around the world. The books on this list should present a warning and inspiration to all of us.

Stephan's book list on the perils facing democracy

Stephan Lewandowsky Why did Stephan love this book?

This is a page-turner that I read in one go from front to finish. It reads like a thriller and keeps you hooked, although it is also a very serious analysis of contemporary Russia by one of the UK’s most skilled journalists and authors. It is as thrilling as it is frightening because there are so many signs that western countries are heading in a similar direction—a country that “is a dictatorship in the morning, a democracy at lunch, an oligarchy by suppertime, while, backstage, oil companies are expropriated, journalists killed, billions siphoned away”, as Peter put it in one of his memorable phrases.

By Peter Pomerantsev,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the new Russia, even dictatorship is a reality show. Professional killers with the souls of artists, would-be theater directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, suicidal supermodels, Hell's Angels who hallucinate themselves as holy warriors, and oligarch revolutionaries: welcome to the glittering, surreal heart of twenty-first-century Russia. It is a world erupting with new money and new power, changing so fast it breaks all sense of reality, home to a form of dictatorship--far subtler than twentieth-century strains--that is rapidly rising to challenge the West. When British producer Peter Pomerantsev plunges into the booming Russian TV industry, he gains access to every nook…


Book cover of Jonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth, the Abolition, the Unconquerable World

William Knoblauch Author Of Nuclear Freeze in a Cold War: The Reagan Administration, Cultural Activism, and the End of the Arms Race

From my list on the Cold War in the 1980s.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in the decade and in the Cold War came during graduate school. This was where I discovered Carl Sagan’s theory of a nuclear winter: that after a nuclear war, the debris and smoke from nuclear bombs would cover the earth and make it inhabitable for life on earth. Tracing debates between this celebrity scientist and U.S. policymakers revealed a hesitancy on either side to even consider each other’s point of view. This research made me reconsider the pop culture of my youth—films like The Day After and Wargames, music like “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and books from Don DeLillo’s White Noise to Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle Book—and ultimately see them as part of a political contest in which lives—our lives—were in the balance.  

William's book list on the Cold War in the 1980s

William Knoblauch Why did William love this book?

In the 1940s, journalist John Hersey wrote an eye-opening expose on the effects of the atomic bombing of Japan with Hiroshima. In doing so, Hersey began to shape the already-contested memory of why America dropped “the bomb.” Following in Hersey’s footsteps, in the early 1980s Jonathan Schell penned a straightforward warning about the atomic age. After interviewing scientists, policymakers, and intellectuals, he began to pen an accessible essay exposing of what would happen to earth after a nuclear war. The result was Fate of the Earth, and it went on to become one of the most impactful pieces of non-fiction of the decade. It helped to validate scientist Carl Sagan’s controversial “nuclear winter” hypothesis, and inspired an untold number of the public to engage in antinuclear activism. To appreciate the early 1980s as a period of intense nuclear fear, this is a must-read.

By Jonathan Schell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a collected edition of three classic accounts of our nuclear predicament and the way forward to a peaceful world, by the Rachel Carson of the antiwar movement.

Brave, eloquent, and controversial, these classic works by Jonathan Schell illuminate the nuclear threat to our civilization, and envision a way forward to peace. In The Fate of the Earth--an international bestseller that inspired the nuclear freeze movement--Schell distills the best available scientific and technical information to imagine the apocalyptic aftereffects of nuclear war. Dramatizing the stakes involved in abstract discussions of military strategy, when first published…


Book cover of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

Jordan Flaherty Author Of No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality

From my list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I produced dozens of hours of film and television, including for Al Jazeera’s Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont-award-winning program Faultlines; as well as short and long-form documentaries for Democracy Now and teleSUR, and reporting in The New York Times and Washington Post. I’ve written two books based on my journalism, No More Heroes: Grassroots Responses to the Savior Mentality and Floodlines: Community and Resistance From Katrina to the Jena Six. I produced the independent feature film Chocolate Babies, which was recently added to the Criterion Collection. My latest film is Powerlands.

Jordan's book list on challenging capitalism, racism, and patriarchy

Jordan Flaherty Why did Jordan love this book?

During this moment of pandemic and other crises caused by capitalism, many people have turned to mutual aid as an attempt to help their neighbors and communities. As Spade writes, “Left social movements have two big jobs right now. First, we need to organize to help people survive the devastating conditions unfolding every day. Second, we need to mobilize hundreds of millions of people for resistance so we can tackle the underlying causes of these crises.” This book explains both why and how we can create structures that will change the world. 

By Dean Spade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Around the world, people are faced with crisis after crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms to the ongoing horrors of mass incarceration, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality. As governments fail to respond to-or actively engineer-each crisis, ordinary people are finding bold and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable members of their communities. This survival work, when done alongside social movement demands for transformative change, is called mutual aid.

This book is about mutual aid: why it is so important, what it looks like, and how to do…


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