This presentation explored the changing role of dwarfs in myth, politics, and folklore in Maya private and public ritual from PreClassic times to the present day. Over thousands of years, the Maya have used their extraordinary creativity to express their culture and beliefs. Despite foreign invasion and the forced imposition of foreign religious rites, the Maya continue to demonstrate their cultural autonomy in part through religious ritual and the narratives they tell in their won language. In her talk, Judith Storniolo tracked age old religious myths about dwarfs through glyphic inscriptions and modern day narratives to demonstrate the continuity of beliefs among the Maya and the shared historical consciousness that has survived the inevitable dynamics of change.
Judith Storniolo is a historical and comparative linguist and Maya archaeologist in the Departments of Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has done field work among the Yucatec Maya in Quintana Roo and Yucatan, the Lacandon of Chiapas and the Chorti Maya of Guatemala. Her research focuses on hieroglyphic decipherment, linguistic reconstruction of Lowland Mayan language groups, and establishing the linguistic affiliation of the Maya inscriptions and the three remaining Maya codices. Judith was a Summer Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks this year. She is the Senior Researcher for the Maya Hieroglyphic Database Project established by Martha Macri and an instructor for the College of General Studies at Penn.
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