BOOK ALERT Maya Studies with the Maya
“Maya Studies with the Maya is visually captivating, containing photos and graphics on Maya art and culture to illustrate his work and theses”.
For those who hold a deep fascination with Maya culture, Ruud van Akkeren’s compelling new book takes you on an insightful and personal journey that begins in his native Holland and ends in the lush Highlands of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Van Akkeren has devoted 25 years of his life working and studying alongside the Maya. And while there are many Maya scholars in the world, the majority of them do not actually live and work full time among their subject matter.
MAYA Studies with the MAYA is an inside look into Van Akkeren’s work and ideas about Maya culture. By sharing his stories and research with great historical depth and detail, the author demonstrates a profound respect for the people and their culture. He believes that Maya studies should be done with the Maya in their own homeland thus generating insights that remote university studies can’t provide. As he tells us himself, he hopes that he has been able to teach the Maya as much as he has learned from them.
Van Akkeren completed his undergraduate studies in anthropology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands where he developed a growing interest in drama and ritual. His passion for theater and anthropology inspired him to write his doctoral dissertation on the subject of the Rabinal Achi, a surviving pre-Columbian dance drama that takes place in Rabinal, Baja Verapaz where he lived for several years.
His breadth of knowledge and mastery at uncovering underlying mythologies and dispelling long-held misconceptions about Maya culture is impressive.
MAYA Studies with the MAYA is visually captivating, containing photos and graphics on Maya art and culture to illustrate his work and theses.
Ruud van Akkeren is an anthropologist, ethno-historian and a writer specializing in the ancient indigenous documents of Guatemala such as the Popol Vuh and Rabinal Achi for which he mastered several Mayan languages. He also holds the position of research associate at the Universad del Valle in Guatemala City. Van Akkeren currently resides in Coban, Alta Verapaz.
Other notable publications include: Place of the Lord’s Daughter; Ixil, lugar del jaguar; La visión indígena de la conquista; Xib’alb’a y el nacimiento del nuevo sol; Xajoj Keej – Baile de venado de Rabinal (co-authored with Bert Janssens); Tras las huellas del puma (co-edited with Humberto Morán Ical). He also wrote a historical thriller: La Danza del Tambor. Upcoming is his book on Kaminal Juyu: Cerro de Maguey – tierra donde nació el tiempo. Un estudio etnohistórica de Kaminal Juyu, capital del pueblo poq’om.
Maya Studies with the Maya is now available on Amazon at amazon.com
REVUE magazine article by Kerstin Sabene.