The Book

As part of the Harvard Chiapas Project, UCLA Professor, Patricia Marks Greenfield, first visited the village of Nabenchauk in Chiapas Mexico in 1969 and 1970. Her return in 1991 and regular visits ever since have enabled her to write Weaving Generations Together: Evolving Creativity in the Maya of Chiapas. The book combines a scholarly study of the impact of commercialization and globalization on textile design and sales, creativity, acculturation, and female socialization with poignant personal reflections on mother-daughter relationships, social change, and collaboration.

The book includes more than two hundred striking and detailed color photographs to provide a history of Zinacantec textiles, their makers, and the life of women and children. The unique field photographs were taken by acclaimed photographer, Lauren Greenfield.

This award-winning book provides a rare long-term examination of the cognitive and socialization process involved in transmitting weaving knowledge across three generations, with each generation learning under very different economic and social circumstances. Author Greenfield also analyzes the changes in textile design brought about by social change, as the community moved from a subsistence economy to a commercial economy.

In order to give back the research to the people of Mexico and to the Maya, Weaving Generations Together has now been translated and published in Spanish and Tzotzil. It is the first research monograph about the Maya to be published in a Maya language.

The foreword to the English edition was written by Harvard Anthropology professor and founder of the Harvard Chiapas Project, Evon Vogt. Forewords to the Spanish and Tzotzil editions were written by Mexican anthropologist Lourdes de León and founder of the Maya literacy cooperative, Sna Jtz’ibajom, Xun Teratol.

The book serves as a catalog for an exhibition of textiles, photographs, and videos of weaving apprenticeship across the generations. The exhibition was originally developed at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, where it was shown for two years. In 2017, the exhibition was updated and shown at Powell Library, UCLA. For information regarding future venues, contact Dr. Patricia Greenfield, UCLA Department of Psychology,


Weaving Generations Together: Evolving creativity in Maya Chiapas was winner of the 2005 R.L. Shep Award for best book of the year in ethnic textile studies from the Textile Society of America.