A Cultural Historical Geography of Schools in the Honduran Muskitia
Tappan, Taylor Adams
University of Kansas
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In the geographically isolated Honduran Muskitia region, schools have represented a contested space through which both the Honduran government and Miskitu communities have struggled for territorial identity. Schools are functional spaces through which social interaction strengthens Miskitu cultural boundaries, norms, and identities. The historical development of education in this isolated indigenous region is paradoxical in that early state initiatives were designed to provide education for Miskitu communities while simultaneously excluding their indigenous cultural identities. However, schools’ historical impact on Miskitu territoriality has received little attention from scholars. The primary objective of this research is to understand 1) the origin and diffusion of schools in the Muskitia region; and 2) the impact of schools on Miskitu territoriality. This thesis brings into question whether the geographic inaccessibility of Muskitia and recurrent state failures to provide baseline education there ultimately contributed to the preservation of Miskitu language and territorial identity. My research aims to fill a gap in existing cultural historical scholarship by examining schools as contested spaces of linguistic identity through which the Miskitu v. state territorial struggle has taken place. Archival research, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews were my primary methodological approaches to understand the historical geography of schools and their impact on Miskitu territoriality.
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