28th European Maya Conference: Bonn, Germany

“Regionalism and Unity: Exploring Intracultural Variation and Commonality in the Maya Region”

December 4th to December 10th 2023

Call for Papers:

The term “Maya” was transferred to the archaeological culture in the region inhabited by the mentioned peoples. Overlooking the differences, it was focused on shared prominent cultural traits –particularly the writing system and certain aspects of art and architecture. However, this homogenising perspective ignores the fact that in the entire area which we commonly refer to as that of “the Maya”, there were a multitude of different trajectories and local cultures as diverse as the geographic and climatic environments in which they existed.

Be it in the Yucatan peninsula, the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala, the lowlands of the Peten, or the eastern and western “peripheral” regions, clear differences can be perceived in the material culture, art and architecture, languages, and ideology of those who lived in the numerous competing and sometimes cooperating kingdoms. However, describing regionalisms is not sufficient, we rather encounter evidence for complex intracultural variation and rich regional and temporal diversity. We want to discuss how this great diversity of different developments and their perceptions can be interpreted. In this context, various research questions arise:

  • Were there particularly densely interconnected spaces of interaction?
  • Were Maya states “ethnic kingdoms”?
  • Do we have evidence for a common notion of something like a shared culture, territory, and identity among the ancient Maya?
  • Is it possible to discern commonalities that make it reasonable to group this diversity under the umbrella of “the Maya”?
  • Is “the Maya” an analytical construct that reflects the sum of regional and temporally limited structures and processes of very different cultural characteristics in scientific discourse?
  • What are the different regional cultures that existed within the Maya region, and what were the distinct characteristics of each culture?
  • How did the geographical and climatic differences in the Maya region contribute to the development of diverse cultural practices and beliefs?
  • To what extent did the political and economic factors influence the development of regional and local cultures within the Maya region?
  • How did the contacts and exchanges between different Maya regions shape the development of cultural practices and beliefs?
  • How can we reconcile the tension between a desire to identify overarching cultural traits and a recognition of the diversity and complexity of the local and regional cultures present within the Maya region?
  • How can we use archaeological and other sources of evidence to reconstruct the different trajectories of cultural development within the Maya region?
  • What are the implications of recognizing the diversity and complexity of local and regional cultures within the Maya region for our understanding of broader patterns of cultural change and continuity in Mesoamerica?
  • How has the perception of the Maya region as a single, homogeneous culture impacted the study and interpretation of Maya history and culture?

We want to bring different perspectives into a dialogue, and, therefore, we invite Maya researchers from all disciplines to submit a paper, in order to present and discuss their research on the topic of this year’s European Maya Conference.

Submission of abstracts

The Wayeb Conference Board invites the submission of abstracts concerning the conference theme Regionalism and Unity: Exploring Intracultural Variation and Commonality in the Maya Region presented above under the headline Call for Papers. Submissions from a variety of perspectives and sub-disciplines of Maya and Mesoamerican Studies are encouraged. The submitted works must be original and unpublished, being the result or work in progress of research projects, or the critical and analytical reflections on the indicated topics.

The accepted languages for the presentations are English and Spanish.

Abstracts may not exceed 250 words.

Contributions of authors who submit more than one abstract (including co-authored papers) will not be considered.

Co-authorship needs to be indicated upon submission.

Please submit in electronic format (attached Word or RTF document) in the following order:

  1. Author’s name and affiliation
  2. Address, phone number, and email address
  3. Title of paper
  4. Abstract

Please submit your full application to callforpapers@wayeb.org

The abstracts will be forwarded without the author’s particulars to an anonymous Review Committee that will be selected by the Wayeb Conference Board. Therefore, it is imperative that submissions are ONLY made to the above address. Submissions shall not be made to the organisers of the conference nor any other Wayeb member. Submissions sent to any address than the above will be immediately disqualified.

Deadline for the Call for papers is May 31st, 2023.

For more information, please contact the Wayeb Conference Board ConferenceBoard@wayeb.org