Assistant professor, Heritage of Indigenous Peoples. Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Yucatan (Mexico) and The Netherlands
From November 12 to November 19, 2018
Genner Llanes-Ortiz is a Maya scholar from Yucatán, México. He trained as a social anthropologist at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatan (UADY), and completed a DPhil in Social Anthropology in 2010 at the University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom. He has had the support of the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowship Program (IFP) and Mexico’s Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT).
His research is interested in Indigenous movements, intercultural dialogue, subaltern epistemologies and Indigenous performing arts. He has conducted collaborative research with NGOs and Indigenous organizations in the Yucatán Peninsula, Ecuador, Belize and Guatemala. His work has explored aspects of performatic expression in the cultural and political mobilization in the Maya region. More recently, he is focusing on various Indigenous artistic forms (like performance art, cinema and music) and their relation to anti-racism and language revitalization. He currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands.
Indigenous Contemporary Arts: cultural and language revitalisation’s opportunities in the Maya region and Mexico.
My work examines various aesthetic forms in Mexico and, especially, the Yucatan peninsula. Here I focus on the production, circulation and reception of Túumben Maaya K’aay (the New Maya Song). In the last two decades, young Maya people in the Yucatan began to produce Indigenous language songs in new genres, like hip hop, rock and reggae. These songs have circulated through alternative as well as government-sponsored channels, and reception has varied. Some have reacted with suspicion and feared cultural “contamination”. Others have embraced this new practice as the only way to prevent language displacement and loss. The New Maya Song is one piece of a wider mosaic of Indigenous contemporary art forms in Yucatan and Mexico within which we find experimental radio, community video, fiction film and digital media, among others. My aim is to understand better these phenomena, the ways in which they relate and challenge Mexican cultural politics, and the most efficient ways to increase their impact.