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Collecting Mexico

Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity

2012
Author:

Shelley E. Garrigan

Collecting Mexico

Considers how public collections on display form powerful ideas of nationalism

Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan reconstructs the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated, demonstrating the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.

Shelley E. Garrigan traces a sequence of arguments that rehearse ‘collecting culture’ in terms that have wide-ranging implications for understanding Mexico’s national selfhood and cultural identity-formation in the 19th century. Collecting Mexico is a compelling book on a fascinating topic.

Roberto Tejada, author of National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment

Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan approaches questions of origin, citizenry, membership, and difference by reconstructing the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated. In doing so, she arrives at a deeper understanding of the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.

Spanning the Porfiriato period from 1867 to 1910, Collecting Mexico illuminates the creation and institutionalization of a Mexican cultural inheritance. Employing a wide range of examples—including the erection of public monuments, the culture of fine arts, and the representation of Mexico at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889—Garrigan pursues two strands of thought that weave together in surprising ways: national heritage as a transcendental value and patrimony as potential commercial interest.

Collecting Mexico shows that the patterns of institutional collecting reveal how Mexican public collections engendered social meaning. Using extensive archival materials, Garrigan’s close readings of the processes of collection building offer a new vantage point for viewing larger issues of identity, social position, and cultural/capital exchange.

Collecting Mexico

Shelley E. Garrigan is assistant professor of Spanish at North Carolina State University.

Collecting Mexico

Shelley E. Garrigan traces a sequence of arguments that rehearse ‘collecting culture’ in terms that have wide-ranging implications for understanding Mexico’s national selfhood and cultural identity-formation in the 19th century. Collecting Mexico is a compelling book on a fascinating topic.

Roberto Tejada, author of National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment

Shelley Garrigan’s Collecting Mexico is an important contribution to the study of official culture during the rule of Porfirio Díaz in Mexico, primarily because it casts new light on episodes, objects and events that historians of Mexico tend to think they know quite well. . . Her interdisciplinary focus examines unexpected and compelling intersections between these domains that more narrowly discipline-specific accounts of the same objects and events have missed in the past.

The Americas

An elegant tour of the reconstructing of Mexican identity from 1867 to 1891.

CHOICE

Collecting Mexico

Contents

Introduction
1. Fine Art and Demand: Debating the Mexican National Canon (1876–1910)
2. Our Archaeology: Science, Citizenry, Patrimony, and the Museum
3. The Hidden Lives of Historical Monuments: Commerce, Fashion, and Memorial
4. Collections at the World’s Fair: Rereading Mexico in Paris, 1889
5. Collecting Numbers: Statistics and the Constructive Force of Deficiency
Conclusion

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index