College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

A Guatemalan Celebration with CAHS Associate Dean David Carey Jr.

The Guatemala Collection: Government and Church Documents for Sacatepéquez: 1587-1991

This collection spans an extensive historical period and comprehensively represents the demographic, social, and political reality of one of Guatemala’s most important departments. By providing evidence of the colonial and neocolonial structures of the Guatemalan government and Catholic Church, this collection shines a historic light on the present situation in Sacatepéquez and Guatemala more broadly. Guatemalan scholar and activist Christopher Lutz and two native Guatemalan archivists Eddy Gaytán and Héctor Concohá Ch’et assembled the collection throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. The materials are photocopies of original documents from the Archivo General de Centro América, the Archivo Histórico Arquidiocesano Francisco de Paula García Pelaez, both located in Guatemala City, and the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain.

Distilling the Influence of Alcohol: Aguardiente in Guatemalan History

Sugar, coffee, corn, and chocolate have long dominated the study of Central American commerce, so much so that researchers tend to overlook one other equally significant commodity: alcohol. Often illicitly produced and consumed, aguardiente (distilled sugar cane spirits or rum) was central to Guatemalan daily life. Alcohol helped build family livelihoods, boost local economies, and forge the nation. It also shaped Guatemala's turbulent categories of ethnicity, race, class, and gender. Drawing from archival documents, oral histories, and ethnographic sources, the contributors to this volume investigate aguardiente's role from the colonial era to the twentieth century. Topics include women in the alcohol trade, taverns as places of social unrest, and tension between Maya and State authorities. By tracing Guatemala's past, people, and national development through the channel of an alcoholic beverage, Distilling the Influence of Alcohol opens new directions for Central American historical and anthropological research.

For more information, contact Annie Chuprevich in the CAHS Dean's Office at (207) 780-4221.