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Distilling the Influence of Alcohol: Aguardiente in Guatemalan History

Overview

Sugar, coffee, corn, and chocolate have long dominated the study of Central American commerce, and researchers tend to overlook one other equally significant commodity: alcohol. Often illicitly produced and consumed, aguardiente (distilled sugar cane spirits or rum) was central to Guatemalan daily life, though scholars have often neglected its fundamental role in the country’s development.
          Throughout world history, alcohol ...

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Overview

Sugar, coffee, corn, and chocolate have long dominated the study of Central American commerce, and researchers tend to overlook one other equally significant commodity: alcohol. Often illicitly produced and consumed, aguardiente (distilled sugar cane spirits or rum) was central to Guatemalan daily life, though scholars have often neglected its fundamental role in the country’s development.
          Throughout world history, alcohol has helped build family livelihoods, boost local economies, and forge nations. The alcohol economy also helped shape Guatemala’s turbulent categories of ethnicity, race, class, and gender, as these essays demonstrate. Established and emerging Guatemalan historians investigate aguardiente’s role from the colonial era to the twentieth century, drawing from archival documents, oral histories, and ethnographic sources. Topics include women in the alcohol trade, taverns as places of social unrest, and tension between Maya and State authority.
          By tracing Guatemala’s past, people, and national development through the channel of an alcoholic beverage, Distilling the Influence of Alcohol opens new directions for Central American historical and anthropological research.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813041629
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 10/7/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Carey Jr. is professor of history and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine and  author of Engendering Mayan History: Kaqchikel Women as Agents and Conduits of the Past, 1874–1970, and Our Elders Teach Us: Maya-Kaqchikel Historical Perspectives.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Writing a History of Alcohol in Guatemala David Carey Jr. 1

1 Consumption, Custom, and Control: Aguardiente in Nineteenth-Century Maya Guatemala Stacey Schwartzkopf 17

2 From Household to Nation: The Economic and Political Impact of Women and Alcohol in Nineteenth-Century Guatemala René Reeves 42

3 "A Sponge Soaking up All the Money": Alcohol, Taverns, Vinaterías, and the Bourbon Reforms in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Santiago de los Caballeros, Guatemala Alvis E. Dunn 71

4 Alcohol and Lowdown Culture in Caribbean Guatemala and Honduras, 1898-1922 Frederick Douglass Opie 96

5 Distilling Perceptions of Crime: Maya Moonshiners and the State, 1898-1944 David Carey Jr. 120

Conclusion: Community Drunkenness and Control in Guatemala Virginia Garrard-Burnett 157

Glossary 181

Works Cited 183

List of Contributors 199

Index 201

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