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Chris Gjording papers

Creator:
Gjording, Chris N., 1943-1993  Search this
Names:
Jesuits  Search this
Extent:
6.34 Linear feet (15 document boxes, 1 cassette tape, and 37 computer disks)
Culture:
Guaymi Indians  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Panama
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Mexico
Nicaragua.
Peru
Venezuela
Date:
1966-1991
bulk 1977-1991
Summary:
The papers of Chris Gjording primarily document his research and activities in Central America, particularly his research on the Guaymíes and the Cerro Colorado copper mining project in Chiriquí, Panama. Materials pertaining to Panama include Gjording's field notes (portions of which are missing due to severe insect infestation); photographs; reference materials he collected; and his writings, which include his articles, dissertation, and drafts of his dissertation revised for publication. In addition to his work in Panama are his field notes and photographs from his research on campesino communities in Guatemala and El Salvador. Gjording also kept subject files on Latin American countries, focusing on the poor and oppressed and the social and political climate. His writings on those subjects are present in the collection and include a draft of his unpublished paper on peasant uprising in El Salvador and issues of Informacciónes, the Spanish-language newsletter that Gjording published and wrote articles for in Honduras. The collection also contains correspondence and notes relating to his visits to the Guatemalan Indian refugee camps in Los Lirios and Maya Balam in Quintana Roo in Mexico. In addition, the collection contains some of his correspondence with his mentor Ricardo Falla, a Guatemalan Jesuit priest and anthropologist, whom he refers to as "RF" in his notes. The collection also contains computer disks with chapters in Spanish from Falla's book on Ixcán, possibly Masacres de la selva: Ixcán, Guatemala (1992).
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Chris Gjording primarily document his research and activities in Central America, particularly his research on the Guaymíes and the Cerro Colorado copper mining project in Chiriquí, Panama. Materials pertaining to Panama include Gjording's field notes (portions of which are missing due to severe insect infestation); photographs; reference materials he collected; and his writings, which include his articles, dissertation, and drafts of his dissertation revised for publication. In addition to his work in Panama are his field notes and photographs from his research on campesino communities in Guatemala and El Salvador. Gjording also kept subject files on Latin American countries, focusing on the poor and oppressed and the social and political climate. His writings on those subjects are present in the collection and include a draft of his unpublished paper on peasant uprising in El Salvador and issues of Informacciónes, the Spanish-language newsletter that Gjording published and wrote articles for in Honduras. The collection also contains correspondence and notes relating to his visits to the Guatemalan Indian refugee camps in Los Lirios and Maya Balam in Quintana Roo in Mexico. In addition, the collection contains some of his correspondence with his mentor Ricardo Falla, a Guatemalan Jesuit priest and anthropologist, whom he refers to as "RF" in his notes. The collection also contains computer disks with chapters in Spanish from Falla's book on Ixcán, possibly Masacres de la selva: Ixcán, Guatemala (1992).

Additional materials in the collection are copies of Gjording's curriculum vitae; his student papers; and his college and graduate school diplomas. In addition, the collection contains a letter approving Gjording's advancement to the diaconate and priesthood and his decree of dismissal from the Society of Jesus in 1991.
Arrangement:
Arranged into 7 series: (1) Correspondence, 1985-91; (2) Panama, 1977-91; (3) Latin America, 1977-90; (4) Journals, 1977-1982, 1988-1989; (5) Personal Files, 1966-1991; (6) Photographs, 1976-89; (7) Computer Disks
Biographical Note:
Chris Gjording was an anthropologist and Jesuit priest, best known for his research on the Guaymí people of Panama and how they were affected by a transnational copper mining project on their land.

Gjording was born on January 12, 1943 in Los Angeles, California. In 1960 he entered a Jesuit seminary in Sheridan, Oregon and obtained his A.B. in philosophy from Spring Hill College in 1966. After earning his M.A. in philosophy from Tulane University (1967) and his M.Div. in theology from the Toronto School of Theology (1973), he was ordained as a Jesuit priest in Spokane, Washington. He taught philosophy and liberation theology at Gonzaga University (1973-75) before continuing his education at the New School for Social Research, where he received his M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1985) in social and cultural anthropology.

As both a priest and anthropologist, he felt that "field research essentially involves interpersonal relationships; and [he had] no category for engaging in such relationships with nothing in view as a potential benefit for the other." (Gjording's journal, January 11, 1978) Influenced by liberation theology, Gjording consequently focused his research on the rural poor of Central America during a period of social and political turmoil.

As a graduate student in 1977, Gjording spent the summer conducting ethnographic fieldwork among campesino communities in Chinacá, Guatemala and in Chirilagua, San Miguel, El Salvador. He returned to Central America the following year to work in Chiriquí, Panama with Centro de Estudios y Acción Social (CEASPA), a Jesuit-sponsored organization, as the anthropologist on an interdisciplinary team studying the Cerro Colorado copper mining project and its impact on Panama. Gjording's research focused on the Guaymí people, who lived on the land where the mining project was to occur. His research became the subject of his dissertation, "The Cerro Colorado Copper Project: Panama, Multinational Corporations and the Guaymi Indians." A revised version of the dissertation was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1991 as Conditions Not of Their Choosing: The Guaymí Indians and Mining Multinationals in Panama.

Gjording left Panama in 1982 but returned to Central America after completing his dissertation in 1985 to serve as codirector of Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (E.R.I.C.), a Jesuit organization in El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras. As part of his responsibilities, he published and wrote many of the articles for Informaciones, a bimonthly newsletter in Spanish on the social, political, and economic situation in Honduras. In addition, he wrote articles for the Panamanian magazine Diálogo Social; due to the political climate in Panama, he wrote some of the articles under the pseudonym "Enrique Lobo," a name he chose in honor of the anthropologist Eric Wolf. From 1987 to 1989, he made several trips to the Guatemalan refugee camps in Quintana Roo, Mexico. He conducted informal research on the background and situation of the refugees and taught workshops that provided them guidance on whether to return to Guatemala or stay in Mexico.

Gjording returned to the United States in 1989 on a sabbatical from Central America. He left the priesthood in 1991 and obtained a position teaching anthropology and peace studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Gjording died of lung cancer on July 5, 1993 at the age of 50.

Sources Consulted

Gjording, Chris. 1978. [Daily Journal]. Chris Gjording Papers. National Anthropological Archives.

Roseberry, William. 1993. Chris N. Gjording. Anthropology Newsletter. 34(7): 44.

Chronology

1943 -- Born January 12 in Los Angeles, California

1966 -- Earns A.B. from Spring Hill College in Philosophy

1967 -- Earns M.A. from Tulane University in Philosophy

1973 -- Earns M.Div. from Toronto School of Theology Becomes an ordained Jesuit priest

1977 -- Spends summer in Central America conducting fieldwork in campesino communities in Guatemala and El Salvador

1978 -- Earns M.A. from the New School for Social Research in Anthropology

1978-1980 -- Conducts fieldwork in Chiriquí, Panama on the Guaymíes and the Cerro Colorado copper mining project

1985 -- Earns Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Anthropology

1985-1988 -- Codirector of E.R.I.C. (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación), El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras

1989 -- Returns to United States

1991 -- Leaves priesthood Teaches Anthropology and Peace Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina

1993 -- Dies on July 5 at the age of 50

Selected Bibliography

1979 -- Gjording, Chris N. "Nicaragua's Unfinished Revolution," America 141 (October 6, 1979): 166-171.

1980 -- Lobo, Enrique. "La Nueva Política Indigenista (o bien: Acabemos con el Indio)," Diálogo Social 123 (May 1980): 15- 18. Lobo, Enrique. "El Pueblo Guaymí y el Gobierno Panameño (o bien: Acabemos con el Guaymí)," Diálogo Social 125 (July 1980): 22-25.

1981 -- Gjording, Chris N. The Cerro Colorado Copper Project and the Guaymí Indians of Panama. Occasional Paper No. 3. Cambridge: Cultural Survival, 1981.

1983 -- Gjording, Chris N. "The Guaymí People and Cerro Colorado." In Panama in Transition: Local Reactions to Development Policies. Monographs in Anthropology 6, edited by John Bort and Mary Helms, 19-52. Columbia: Museum of Anthropology, University of Missouri, 1983.

1987 -- Gjording, Chris N. "25 Años de Reforma Agraria . . . ¿Y Que?." Informaciones 8 (May-July 1987): 9-21.

1991 -- Gjording, Chris N. Conditions Not of Their Choosing: The Guaymí Indians and Mining Multinationals in Panama. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
Provenance:
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Karin Gjording.
Restrictions:
Computer disks in the collection are restricted due to preservation concerns.
Rights:
Contact repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Copper mining  Search this
Refugees -- Guatemala -- Ixcán  Search this
Mining -- Peru  Search this
Anthropology  Search this
Anthropologists  Search this
Citation:
Chris Gjording papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.2008-19
See more items in:
Chris Gjording papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2008-19

Guate - Refs _ GJ Visita Sept '87

Collection Creator:
Gjording, Chris N., 1943-1993  Search this
Container:
Box 8
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Scope and Contents:
Refugees from Ixcan; letters regarding Gjording's visit to the refugee camp in Quintana Roo; poem, letter from refugee, and letter from Gjording to Ricardo Falla regarding his visit
Collection Restrictions:
Computer disks in the collection are restricted due to preservation concerns.
Collection Rights:
Contact repository for terms of use.
Collection Citation:
Chris Gjording papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Chris Gjording papers
Chris Gjording papers / Series 3: Latin America / 3.3: Guatemala
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-naa-2008-19-ref239

Refugees of a hidden war : the aftermath of counterinsurgency in Guatemala / Beatriz Manz

Author:
Manz, Beatriz 1944-  Search this
Physical description:
vi, 283 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Guatemala
Mexico
Date:
1988
©1988
Topic:
Government relations  Search this
Mayas--Government relations  Search this
Political refugees  Search this
Social conditions  Search this
Return migration  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1039231

Guatemalans in the aftermath of violence : the refugees' return / Kristi Anne Stølen

Author:
Stølen, Kristi Anne  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 236 p. : maps ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Guatemala
La Quetzal
Date:
2007
C2007
Topic:
Refugees  Search this
Return migration  Search this
Political violence  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_902982

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