Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in Post-Revolutionary Mexico (Reframing Media) (Paperback)
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Honorable Mention, Latin American Studies Association Mexico Section Best Book in the Humanities
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 Jos Vasconcelos's essay "The Cosmic Race" and the influence of its ideologies on mural artists such as Diego Rivera and Jos Clemente Orozco. He discusses the theme of introducing Amerindians to medical hygiene and immunizations in the films of Emilio "El Indio" Fern ndez. 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.
A volume in the series Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America, edited by Hector Fernandez L'Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodriguez