The Maya Studies Phenomenon (MSP)


Some comic relief here, folks. Sort of.  Definition of The Maya Studies Phenomenon (MSP): “The set of contradictory and unprofessional behaviors that ensue when a field of studies must mitigate an outsider who made discoveries and pioneered interpretations that the field must integrate in order to progress.” Performative contradictions can occur, as well as double standards, elitist exclusion, deceptive citations, bigoted assertions, refusal to correct errors, baseless opinions, censoring or blocking publication of contributions, guilt-by-association critiques, plagio-excoriation,* and cognitive dissonance.

The MSP will abort the integration of the new ideas, if intolerance and hubris among the upholders of the status quo are adamant enough. It might also craft work-arounds to acknowledging the pioneer of the new ideas, crediting colleagues with the ideas while ignoring or mitigating prior publications, personal correspondence, and even disallowing or ignoring the independent outsider’s peer-review essays and presentations at academic venues --- achieved despite being an independent researcher. 

With personal career considerations being more important than advancing their field of study, conceptual progress, improving terms and old models, and supporting new discoveries, a primary tenet of the MSP is that consensus trumps evidence. Curiously, a gangster mentality prevails, including the internalization of such tacit codes as “you don’t rat on your colleague,” “we’re gonna get you,” and “let’s conspire to mitigate so-and-so.”  This is well known in academia, generally speaking. In Maya Studies, the said Phenomenon (the MSP) has been especially rampant in the relation of Maya Studies to the topic of 2012, such that many scholars in Maya Studies to this day will not acknowledge that 2012 is a valid artifact of ancient Maya thought.


*Plagio-excoriation is the simultaneous plagiarizing and excoriation of an outsider, who is often an autodidact not beholden to the limiting structures of academia, who first published ideas that scholars later realize are essential to the evolution of their field.   


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John Major Jenkins

June 15, 2015

The Center for 2012 Studies