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The Mestizo State

Reading Race in Modern Mexico

2012
Author:

Joshua Lund

The Mestizo State

The wide-ranging relations between race and cultural production in modern Mexico

Joshua Lund examines how the ideas, images, and public discourse around race, nation, and citizen formation have been transformed in Mexico from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. He considers race as integral to the production of the materiality of Mexican national history: constitutive of the nation form, a mediator of capitalist accumulation, and central to the rise of modernity.

The Mestizo State is a groundbreaking book that both analyzes fundamental texts in Mexican literary and cultural history and provides new insights into the role of the category of race within discourses of citizenship and the formation of the nation-state in Mexico. Told at the intersection of literary studies, cultural theory, and politics, Joshua Lund’s sophisticated and yet accessible study is engaging, sharp, and enlightening.

Carlos Jáuregui, University of Notre Dame

The Mestizo State examines how the ideas, images, and public discourse around race, nation, and citizen formation have been transformed in Mexico from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Starting with the Porfiriato, Joshua Lund investigates the rise of a racialized “mestizo state,” its reinvention after the Mexican Revolution, and its mobilization as a critical lever that would act both on behalf of and against mainstream Mexican political culture during the long hegemony of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

Lund takes race as his object of critical reflection in the context of modern Mexico. An analysis that does not confuse race with mestizaje, indigeneity, African identity, or whiteness, the book sheds light on the history of the materialism of race as it unfolds within the cultural production of modern Mexico, grounded on close readings of four writers whose work explicitly challenged the politics of race in Mexico: Luis Alva, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Rosario Castellanos, and Elena Garro.

In seeking to address race as a cultural-political problematic, Lund considers race as integral to the production of the materiality of Mexican national history: constitutive of the nation form, a mediator of capitalist accumulation, and a central actor in the rise of modernity.

The Mestizo State

Joshua Lund is associate professor of Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Impure Imagination (Minnesota, 2006) and coeditor of Gilberto Freyre e os estudos latino-americanos.

The Mestizo State

The Mestizo State is a groundbreaking book that both analyzes fundamental texts in Mexican literary and cultural history and provides new insights into the role of the category of race within discourses of citizenship and the formation of the nation-state in Mexico. Told at the intersection of literary studies, cultural theory, and politics, Joshua Lund’s sophisticated and yet accessible study is engaging, sharp, and enlightening.

Carlos Jáuregui, University of Notre Dame

This thought-provoking book is recommended for scholars and graduate students confronting the complex concepts of racial discourse and politics in their own research.

Colonial Latin American Historical Review

Theoretically sophisticated and provocative.

Hispanic American Historical Review

The Mestizo State

Contents


Introduction: The Mestizo State

1. Colonization and Indianization in Liberal Mexico: The Case of Luis Alva

2. Altamirano’s Burden

3. Misplaced Revolution: Rosario Castellanos and the Race War

4. Elena Garro and the Failure of Alliance


Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index