Chichicastenango: A Guatemalan Village

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Author: Bunzel, Ruth Leah (1898–1990)

Year: 1952

Publisher: J J Augustin

Place: Locust Valley

Description:

xxvi+438 pages with appendices, glossary and bibliography. Royal octavo (9 ¾ “ x 8 ½ “) issued in gold cloth with brown lettering to spine. Publications of the American Ethnological Society, Volume 22. 1st edition.

Ruth Leah Bunzel began her career as anthropologist Franz Boas’s secretary and became an accomplished anthropologist herself. She broke new ground in her research on the artist and the creative process among the Zuni, her pioneering work on the Mayas in Guatemala, and her comparative study of alcoholism in two villages in Guatemala and Mexico.Bunzel began graduate study in anthropology at Columbia University. In 1929, she received her Ph.D. with the publication of a landmark book on the artistic process, The Pueblo Potter. Rather than focusing on the objects of art, Bunzel was the first anthropologist to analyze artists’ feelings, their relationship to their work, and the process of creativity. To understand how artists work within the confines of traditional styles, Bunzel apprenticed herself to Zuni potters, and among them she became a respected, skilled potter. Bunzel was one of the first American anthropologists to work in Guatemala, and she published a monograph on the Chichicastenango community in highland Guatemala in 1952. Reflecting both her interest in culture and personality studies and the neo-Freudian influence of psychoanalyst Karen Horney, she also wrote a comparative study on alcoholism in Chamula in Chiapas, Mexico, and in Chichicastenango. Her research, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship (1930–1932), looked at psychological factors that led to different patterns of drinking in two communities. She also focused on the role alcohol played in the Indians’ subjugation and how haciendas profited by keeping Indians in debt. Her study on alcoholism was the first anthropological writing on this subject. Bunzel taught sporadically at Columbia University throughout the 1930s, but she became an adjunct professor in 1954 until her retirement in 1972. She then spent two years as a visiting professor at Bennington College. Bunzel earned a modest living teaching and felt she had never obtained full-time work because she was a woman. Others have attributed her marginal position, in part, to hostility between Boas and Ralph Linton, who became chair of the anthropology department at Columbia.

Condition:

Inner hinge cracked, corners bumped, previous owner’s name on front paste down, light edge wear else about very good.

SOLD 2015

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