Paloma Martinez-Cruz argues that the medicine traditions of Mesoamerican women constitute a hemispheric intellectual lineage that continues to thrive despite the legacy of colonization. Martinez-Cruz asserts that indigeus and mestiza women healers are custodians of a kwledge base that remains virtually uncharted. The few works looking at the kwledge of women in Mesoamerica generally ex-amine only the written even academic world, accessible only to the most elite segments of (customarily male) society. These works have consistently excluded the essential repertoire and performed kwledge of women who think and work in ways other than the textual. And while two of the book s chapters critique contemporary vels, Martinez-Cruz also calls for the exploration of n-textual kwledge trans-mission. In this regard, its goals and methods are close to those of performance scholarship and anthropology, and these methods reveal Mesoamerican women to be public intellectuals. In Women and Kwledge in Mesoamerica, fieldwork and ethgraphy combine to reveal women healers as models of agency. Her multidisciplinary approach allows Martinez-Cruz to disrupt Euro-based intellectual he-gemony and to make a case for the epistemic authority of native women. Written from a Chicana perspective, this study is learned, personal, and engaging for anyone who is interested in the wisdom that prevailing analytical cultures have deemed unintelligible. As it turns out, those who are unacquainted with the sometimes surprising extent and depth of wisdom of indigeus women healers simply haven t been looking in the right places outside the texts from which they have been consistently excluded.
Paloma Martinez-Cruz is an assistant professor of Spanish language and literature and Latino Studies at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She is the translator of Conceicao Evaristo s Brazilian novel Poncia Vicencio.