Maize landscapes in indigenous literatures : towards alternative cartographic imaginaries

Pigott, Charles M. (2024) Maize landscapes in indigenous literatures : towards alternative cartographic imaginaries. Latin American Research Review. ISSN 1542-4278 (

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The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have witnessed a literary revival in the Indigenous languages of the region known canonically as "Latin America."Across this varied corpus, a major theme is the cultural significance of maize. This article compares the depiction of maize in four bilingual poems, each written in a different Indigenous language alongside Spanish: Nahuatl (Ethel Xochitiotzin Pérez), Yucatec Maya (María Dolores Dzul Barboza), Central Quechua (César Vargas Arce), and Southern Quechua (Emilio Corrales). Through close textual analysis and by recourse to theoretical perspectives such as "literary cartography,"the "textual continuum,""deep mapping,"and "trans-indigeneity,"the article argues that each poem communicates culturally specific ways of understanding geography that, when set in dialogue, challenge hegemonic definitions of the Western Hemisphere such as North, South, or Latin "America."Rather, the poems in combination weave an interconnected yet multiperspectival cartographic tapestry with maize as the common thread.