Activities Courses and seminars

«We're still alive». Mayan people, permanent colonisation and life horizons

Course by Aura Cumes

01 to 03 July 2019

18.30 h

Aura Cumes. Foto: Carla Molina

Aura Cumes. Foto: Carla Molina

Colonisation is not an old story that ended when Latin-American countries gained independence from Spain. On the contrary, the inherited economic, social and epistemic conditions have cemented the new societies as structures with deep racial and sexual hierarchies, in which the indigenous peoples have been relegated to the condition of disposable subjects. And yet, these Indigenous Peoples, although weakened by colonial history and its constant violence, are still alive and capable of self-regulating their existence despite the State. What has kept them alive? We will try to answer this question during this three-session course.


1, 2 AND 3 JULY 2019, from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm
Auditori Convent dels Àngels
Admission: Free with prior booking.

MONDAY 1 JULY: Patriarchal colonialism and colonial patriarchy. The Indigenous Peoples and the construction of forms of domination (Historical survey)
The aim is to analyse the ways in which the fusion of the colonial-patriarchal-capitalist systems of domination has shaped today’s Latin-American societies. Colonial domination, which began in the sixteenth century, will be regarded as a system on a par with patriarchy. Under the criteria of race and sex, both ‘biological’ and ‘natural’ factors, some people are given privileged positions, while others are treated as servants and subjected to constant violence and plunder. Societies are structured following the idea of the ‘masters’ race’ and the ‘servants’ race’, a global concept to this day. The course will emphasise the need to establish a dialogue with the past, as a mechanism for decolonisation based on thought and politics.

TUESDAY 2 JULY: Political identities against cultural identities. Debates on the Mayan struggle (Contemporary struggles of the last 40 years)
In the age of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘interculturality’, the reality for Indigenous Peoples tends to be explained under the monolithic concept of ‘culture’. But who defines this ‘culture’ and its contents? Who decides what is included in this concept or excluded from it? The answer is extremely problematic, since political identities transcend the limits of ‘culture’ in order to construct a ‘we’, on the basis of a deliberation regarding what everyone wants to be. Such deliberation implies recovering the usurped capacity to write one’s own history, and a defence of life over the value of plurality. At the same time, a reconstitution of what one wants to be should be done collectively and in a dialogue with the past.

WEDNESDAY 3 JULY: Epistemic colonisation against the political and life horizons of the Mayan peoples
Capitalism’s vision of the world is based on the notion of ‘one’, a world where the privileged white man becomes a plundering subject, and ‘man’ equals ‘human being’ by virtue of the domination of all other men – Moors, Jews, the poor, the heretic – as well as the domination and domestication of women and nature. Mayan societies, on the other hand, are not based on ‘one’, but on the notions of ‘double’, on the cosmic concept of cuatriedad or ‘quadruple’ (from the four cardinal points), on plurality. A dialogue with hitherto ignored Indigenous epistemologies, found in the Popol Vuh (Book of the Counsel) in Mayan languages, allows us to think of existing worlds that may help us to trace other political and life horizons.


Public Programs
Tel: 93 481 33 68

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