In This Body investigates the connection between body and soul in the highland town of San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research conducted in the 1990s (with return visits between 1997 and 2007), Hinojosa examines three domains of Kaqchikel life—midwifery, soul therapy, and ceremonial dance—each offering a unique perspective on “the enactment of spirit through the lived body” (xviii).

The book is organized in four parts. In the first part, Hinojosa defines “soul” in the Comalapan and larger Mesoamerican contexts. Descriptions of various folk illnesses, especially xib’ril (susto Spanish; serious fright) and ruwa winäq (mal de ojo Sp.; evil eye), demonstrate the local understanding that one’s bodily condition reflects one’s spiritual condition. This position is strengthened by Hinojosa’s linguistic and ethnographic exploration of k’u’x (14–19, 76–77). While the term literally translates to “heart,” it is used throughout...

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