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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: BUILDING IDENTITY FROM THE GROUND UP: IZALCOS PIPIL LANDSCAPES FROM THE SIXTEENTH THROUGH NINETEENTH CENTURIES IN WESTERN EL SALVADOR
Author: KATHRYN SAMPECK (Illinois State University)   
Date/Time: Sat., 1:45 PM
Co-Author(s): KATHRYN SAMPECK (Illinois State University) 
Abstract: Early colonial accounts label residents of western El Salvador as Pipil, a group linguistically and culturally similar to Nahuas of central Mexico. These same chronicles also recognized that Pipil polities (altepet) were not ethnically monolithic or rigidly bounded—economic, social, and political power depended upon a fluid circulation among many social groups. So, even though the region was nominally the Izalcos altepet, pockets within the Izalcos pertained to the altepet of Cuscatlan and Izalcos residents included other linguistic and ethnic groups such as highland Maya. The currents of social circulation became increasingly complex after Spanish contact as indigenous, African, and European peoples re-negotiated identity in the crucible of the cacao boom. Fantastic wealth from cacao trade fomented brutal oppression but equally provided an avenue for indigenous resilience, as production of the crop depended upon Pipil skills and knowledge. Spanish projects to attain cultural, political, and social hegemony, such as the establishment of planned towns, dismantled key elements of the Pipil landscape relating to symmetrical social roles and fluid social circulation. Rising to the challenge of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the Pipil found ways to navigate within or around these new social spaces. Throughout the changing fortunes of the colonial period, Pipil identity endured even though, or perhaps because, individuals crossed social boundaries. Archaeological and documentary data regarding town planning, spatial relationships among settlements, road networks, and material culture shed light on the ways in which Pipil identity persisted during these turbulent times by negotiating, appropriating, and re-constructing social landscapes.

Program Number: 4-0775
Session Title: THE ARCHITECTURE OF IDENTITY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sat., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): KATHRYN SAMPECK (Illinois State University) 
Chair(s): ELIZABETH SCOTT  
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