Guatemalan indigenous writing: “Inversion of the Locus of Enunciation of knowledge in Time Commences in Xibalba“– Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

Abstract 9: Inversion of the Locus of Enunciation of knowledge in Time Commences in Xibalba by Luis de Lion

Paper presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

EKTA KANDHWAY

Centre for European & Latin American Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

KEYWORDS: CULTURE, EUROCENTRISM, NARRATIVES, NOVEL, FOURTH WORLD

This paper studies the subversion of eurocentrism in the geopolitics of knowledge in the novel El tiempo principia enXibalbá (Time Commences in Xibalba) published in 1985, considered the masterpiece of the Guatemalan indigenous writer Luis de Lion. The novel stands apart from earlier indigenous writings in that it is the first novel written by an indigenous writer on the topic of indigeneity.  

Written in 1970s, in the backdrop of the Guatemalan Civil war (1960-1996) during which THE government forces massacred more than 200,000 Maya indigenous people (De Lión was also abducted by a death squad on May 15, 1984 and later a military diary found in 1999 confirmed his assassination), the novel symbolizes the outright rejection and disruption of the status quo of colonial domination in Guatemala. This path-breaking work initiated a whole new project of epistemological as well as political decolonization of the indigenous community, and is considered a milestone in the emerging New Maya literature of Central America. 

The novel is structured around the concept of Xibalba, the underworld of the Maya creation narrative taken from the Populvuh. My paper will examine how Luis de Lion, in this novel, inverts the ‘knowledge/power relation’ and creates an alternative locus of enunciation of knowledge away from the western epistemology. This rejection is evident in the content as well as the structure of the novel. The importance of presenting such a study in this conference is to bring out awareness about such literary projects taking place in other parts of the world and a sense of solidarity among the members of global indigenous communities, the so-called “Fourth World”.

BIONOTE: Ekta Kandhway is currently pursuing her PhD at the Centre for European & Latin American Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She may be contacted at the email ID: ektakandhway@gmail.com

Source: Book of Abstracts for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)

Courtesy Dr. Ivy Hansdak, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi (email 4 October 2017)

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