National Association of Student Anthropologists
Anthropology of Consciousness
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
The aftermath of the Civil War in Guatemala has generated economic and political dispossession for indigenous women within a landscape of narcotics and arms trafficking, money laundering, and illegal logging perpetrated by masculinized violence. Based on five months of fieldwork with an indigenous women-only agricultural cooperative in the highland village of Rejón, I examine how multispecies forms of labor and attachment interact with other forms of value. Through the arduous, gendered daily practices of care and labor, women formed affective attachments and spheres of relatedness that extend beyond their biological children. Kinship-like relations emerged with livestock and the madre tierra (mother earth), as seen in the cooperative’s decision to replant the rapidly disappearing forest surrounding the village. One woman told me, “If we do not work today, what will be the future of our children?” Gendered expectations of reproductive labor have yielded an indigenous feminist ethics that centers the collective and the future. I consider how the scales of values of the cooperative interact with the impeding values of international capital and development campaigns, as well as centuries of land displacement and violent state coercion. What are some of the creative strategies that subaltern indigenous women employ to form political belonging, generate their livelihoods, and forge a sustainable future?