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Developing DestiniesA Mayan Midwife and Town$
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Barbara Rogoff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195319903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.001.0001

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Changing memories in changing practices

Changing memories in changing practices

Chapter:
(p.142) 8 Changing memories in changing practices
Source:
Developing Destinies
Author(s):

Barbara Rogoff (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.003.0079

Memory is a reconstruction of the past, in light of the present. Chona's account of her entry into the profession of Mayan midwife changed dramatically over a half—century. Years ago, she explained that she began after her tenth child (about age thirty five); recently, she says she began when her first child was a baby (about age seventeen). Several possible explanations do not account for this time difference (translation issues, confusion of ages, difficulties remembering, and adjustments according to who is listening). However, the meaning of being a Mayan midwife has changed: Years ago it was a sacred destiny that required a life commitment to spiritual purity and responsibility; now, with greater contact with Western medicine, the emphasis is just the medical aspect of delivering babies. Chona first aided in a birth at about age seventeen; she accepted the spiritual responsibilities of her destiny about eightteen years and several deliveries later.

Keywords:   memory, reconstruction, profession, translation, age, commitment, history

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