Article

Radio and the (Re) Construction of Maya Identity in the Diaspora

Alicia Ivonne Estrada

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature


Published online February 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190201098 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.441

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  • Literary Studies (American)
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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
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Founded in 2003 by Maya immigrants in Los Angeles, California, the radio program Contacto Ancestral, which airs weekly on the community station KPFK and online, creates a sense of community through the reaffirmation of indigenous cultural practices as well as the construction of a historical memory in the diaspora. This sense of community is particularly highlighted through the articulation of a Maya identity that is linked to indigenous hemispheric struggles and their resistance movements. Through the varied interviews with indigenous elders, activists, and community members on issues that range from the Guatemalan genocide, land, and environmental struggles to the multiple forms of violence faced by indigenous immigrants in the United States Contacto Ancestral creates, to use Ann Cvetkovich’s term, a “community-based archive.” This archive highlights a shared history between indigenous peoples as well as their differences and heterogeneity. In doing so, Contacto Ancestral produces an essential space to link and empower multiple generations of particularly Maya communities living in Mesoamerica, the diaspora, and elsewhere.

Keywords: radio; Maya; indigenous; diaspora; historical memory; genocide; media; activism; archive

Article.  7684 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (American) ; Media Studies ; Literary Studies - World ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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