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Intellectual heritage, cultural preservation, linguistic revitalization, and environmental sustainability became central to Indigenous literary and cultural movements in Mexico and Central America after 1992. While the emergence of these issues triggered important conversations only Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Technology, and Social Networks in Mexico and Central America, an forthcoming in 2019 from University of Arizona Press, has examined the role that new media has played in accomplishing these objectives. This presentation addresses the central premise of the edited volume, namely the impact of new media on the struggles for self-determination that Indigenous peoples wage in Mexico and Central America. The presentation engages with the fresh approaches that Mesoamerica’s Indigenous peoples have given to new media—from YouTubing Maya rock music to hash tagging in Zapotec. Through the cases described in Indigenous Interfaces, the presentation examines how Indigenous peoples have selectively and strategically chosen to interface with cybertechnology, highlights Indigenous interpretations of new media, and brings to center the Indigenous communities who are resetting modes of communication and redirecting the flow of information. The presentation thus demonstrates that despite more than 500 years of being drawn and written about in images that have been primarily produced, consumed, and circulated in North-South intellectual exchanges, Mesoamerican Indigenous peoples are now directing cyber traffic to texts and images produced for and by a predominantly Indigenous consumer base. All, of course, in real time.
Indigenous Languages and Literatures