Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, History, Amherst College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1998
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Yale University
Lo más mexicano de México: Popular Arts, Indians, and Urban Intellectuals in the Ethnicization of Postrevolutionary National Culture, 1920-1972

My dissertation will examine the artisan community of Olinala, Guerrero and its relations with metropolitan literati, state institutions, and capitalist markets. It will push one step further the recent findings by scholars of Mexican state formation and popular culture. This extra step will be the study of how definitions of Mexican nationalism were constructed, and how these constructions affected people's lives. I will use Mexico City private and public archives and on-site field research in Olinala to examine how Olinaltecan artisans, isolated in the mountains of southern Mexico, became economically, politically, and culturally integrated into the evolving Mexican nation-state. This study will embrace the period from 1920, when the violence of the 1910 Revolution gave way to postrevolutionary state formation, through 1947, when stat institutions reduced many of the experimental intellectual ideas to propaganda. Through a study of Olinala's history I hope to contribute to ongoing scholarly debates about the relationship between state formation and popular culture and about the connection between politics and aesthetics. I also hope to challenge common assumptions about the role of international modernism in Mexico, and about the relationship between foreign imperialism and Mexican nationalism. In these ways, my dissertation will use a case study to contribute to our understanding of fundamental aspects of Mexican history.