The important cultural role of an ancient, endangeredplant
Underthe Shade of Thipaakis the first book to explore the cultural role of cycads, plants that evolvedover 250 million years ago and are now critically endangered, in the ancientand modern Mesoamerican and Caribbean worlds. This volume demonstrates howthese ancient plants have figured prominently in regional mythologies, rituals,art, and foodways from the Pleistocene-Holocenetransition to the present.
Contributors discuss theimportance of cycads from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, includingbiology and population genetics, historical ecology, archaeology, art history,linguistics, and conservation and sustainability. Chapters pay specialattention to the enduring conceptual relationships between cycads and maize.This book demonstrates how a close examination of cycad-human relationships canmotivate conservation of these threatened plants in ways that engage localcommunities, as well as promote the significance of ancient and modernpractices that unite nature and culture.
“This groundbreaking volume takesthe cycad-human relationship out of the scholarly shadows. It will serve as theprimary source for the importance of the Cycadalesorder in past, present, and future human societies.”—Dolores R. Piperno,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
“Moves beyond the narrow focus of agricultural,culinary, and iconographic studies and demonstrates the importance of cycads inthese different systems. Both fascinating and inspiring.”—Andrew R. Wyatt,Middle Tennessee State University
Angélica Cibrián-Jaramillo is head of the Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics lab at the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico. Mark A. Bonta is a geographer and independent scholar. Joshua D. Englehardt, research professor of archaeology at El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico, is coeditor of Ancient West Mexicos: Time, Space, and Diversity.
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