Publication date:28 January 2005
Length of book:344 pages
The Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico, have often been portrayed in reductive, polarized terms; either as saintly activists or dangerous rebels. Cultural anthropologists Duncan Earle and Jeanne Simonelli, drawing on decades-long relationships and fieldwork, attained a collegiality with the Zapatistas that reveals a more complex portrait of a people struggling with self-determination on every level. Seeking a new kind of experimental ethnography, Earle & Simonelli have chronicled a social experiment characterized by resistance, autonomy and communality. Combining their own compelling narrative as participant-observers, and those of their Chiapas compadres, the authors effectively call for an activist approach to research. The result is a unique ethnography that is at once analytical and deeply personal. Uprising of Hope will be compelling reading for scholars and general readers of anthropology, social justice, ethnography, Latin American history and ethnic studies.
Jeanne Simonelli and Duncan Earle have succeeded in their goal of sharing the Zapatista dreams with their students, anthropological fellow travelers, and what should be a wide readership with this book. En route it provides an extraordinary insight into the Zapatistas, their neighbors in the Lacondon rainforest, the governments de turno (shifting regimes), and anthropological efforts as theory and method of human lifeways. Their book may effectively change the way that ethnography is undertaken, as well as written, if their call for an activist approach to research and a collective effort in producing results is heeded.