Being Indigenous After Genocide: The Politicization of Mayan Ethnic Identity in the Aftermath of Guatemala’s Civil War

Graduate Research Grant
Grant Year

What explains the resurgence of ethnic identity and activism in the aftermath of widespread ethnic violence during civil wars? Although civil war legacies have been extensively studied by comparative political scientists, we still lack an understanding of the way civil wars transform and constrain the expression of ethnic identity. This project explores how social reorganization during civil wars shape and constrain the opportunities available for ethnic resurgence in the post-conflict period. In particular, I examine how the varied experiences of violence faced by the Mayan indigenous peoples during Guatemala’s civil war affect their ability to organize social movements to resist mining projects in their traditional homelands in the post-conflict period. I investigate this research question using archive work, statistical methods, interviews with movement leaders and a survey.