Transcending Time and Space: Historias de Convivencia in Rural El Salvador



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Yucuaiquin is a small pueblo in La Union, El Salvador, hidden between mountains. In Poton, the Indigenous tongue to Lenca peoples, it means “tierra de fuego” or “land of fire.” My research asks about the history of daily life in Yucuaiquin before and after El Salvador’s war (1979-1990), and for yucuaiquinenses who subsequently moved to the Greater Boston area. My approach to this work honors the oral history and storytelling tradition of Yucuaiquin by using interviews and convivencia (shared life, time, and dwelling) with people to learn the history of the pueblo. Given the limited scholarship on the history of Yucuaiquin, this project required a creative approach. Interdisciplinary scholarship from sociologists, anthropologists, economists, psychologists, and historians of other places filled in some gaps, as did memoirs. But sharing time with yucuaiquinenses who migrated to Greater Boston and with community members in Yucuaiquin, engaging in their daily routines of selling, cooking, building, attending church, and such, has been crucial to my research. From these community relationships my central question emerged: How have rural salvadoreñes and yucuaiquinenses understood what it means to live together? I explore this question through histories of water, commerce and labor, and migration. Routines around access to water, street commerce, and transnational migration have been areas of struggle as yucuaiquinenses have contended with systemic forces – colonialism, privatization, wealth disparities, and imperialism.


Thesis is also written in Spanish.


El Salvador, Yucuaiquin, Rural, Water, Immigration, Convivencia, Civil War, Commerce, Labor