Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in the Postrevolutionary Mexico

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2022-02-23 19:59Z by Steven

Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in the Postrevolutionary Mexico

University Press of Florida
250 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781683400394
Paper ISBN 13: 9781683403104

David S. Dalton, Assistant Professor of Spanish
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

After the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1917, postrevolutionary leaders hoped to assimilate the country’s racially diverse population into one official mixed-race identity—the mestizo. This book shows that as part of this vision, the Mexican government believed it could modernize “primitive” Indigenous peoples through technology in the form of education, modern medicine, industrial agriculture, and factory work. David Dalton takes a close look at how authors, artists, and thinkers—some state-funded, some independent—engaged with official views of Mexican racial identity from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Dalton surveys essays, plays, novels, murals, and films that portray indigenous bodies being fused, or hybridized, with technology. He examines José Vasconcelos’s essay “The Cosmic Race” and the influence of its ideologies on mural artists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. He discusses the theme of introducing Amerindians to medical hygiene and immunizations in the films of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández. He analyzes the portrayal of indigenous monsters in the films of El Santo, as well as Carlos Olvera’s critique of postrevolutionary worldviews in the novel Mejicanos en el espacio.

Incorporating the perspectives of posthumanism and cyborg studies, Dalton shows that technology played a key role in race formation in Mexico throughout the twentieth century. This cutting-edge study offers fascinating new insights into the culture of mestizaje, illuminating the attitudes that inform Mexican race relations in the present day.

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Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2013-11-20 23:22Z by Steven

Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins

Manchester University Press
October 2007
192 pages
216 x 138 mm
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-7190-7432-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-7190-8844-5

Dolores Tierney, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom

Emilio Fernández: Pictures in the Margins is the first book-length English language account of Emilio Fernández (1904-1986) the most successful director of classical Mexican Cinema, famed with creating films that embody a loosely defined Mexican school of filmmaking. However, rather than offer an auteurist study this book interrogates the construction of Fernández as both a national and nationalist auteur (including racial and gender aspects e.g. as macho mexicano and indio). It also challenges auteurist readings of the films themselves in order to make new arguments about the significance of Fernández and his work.

The aim of this book is to question Mexico’s fetishisation of its own position on the peripheries of the global cultural economy and the similar fetishisation of Fernández’s marginalisation as a mixed race (part white and part indigenous) director. This book argues that, as pictures in the margins, classical Mexican cinema and specifically Fernández’s films are not transparent reflections of dominant post Revolutionary Mexican culture, but annotations and re-inscriptions of the particularities of Mexican society in the post-Revolutionary era.


  • Introduction
  • 1. ‘Poor reception’ and the popular in classical Mexican cinema
  • 2. ‘El Indio’ Fernández, Mexico’s marginalized golden boy and national auteur
  • 3. Calendar María – hybridity, indigenismo and the discourse of whitening
  • 4. Gender, sexuality and the Revolution in Enamorada
  • 5. Gender, sexuality and the Revolution in Salón México, Las abandonadas and Víctimas del pecado
  • 6. Progress, modernity and Fernández’ ‘anti-modernist utopia’: Río Escondido
  • Epilogue: Mexican Cinema and Emilio Fernández post the Golden Age – From Golden Boy to ‘the man in black’
  • Filmography
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