Diego Rivera’s mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central is a fascinating critique of high society and wealthy elites. It also offers a multitude of other stories that intersect in a web of historical memory. The massive mural, the histories it depicts, and even its physical journey after a devastating earthquake, hold answers to many of the questions readers might ask about Mexico. It also demonstrates how cultural artifacts explain the world around us and expose intersections and entanglements of specific power dynamics.
Modern Mexican Culture offers an enriching and deep investigation of key ideas and events in Mexico through an examination of art and history. Experts in Mexican cultural and literary studies cover the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre, the figure of the charro (cowboy), the construct of the postrevolutionary teacher, the class-correlated construct of gente decente, a borderlands response to the rhetoric of dominance, and the “democratic transition” in late twentieth-century Mexico. Each essay is a rich reading experience, providing teachers and students alike with a deep and well-contextualized sense of Mexican life, culture, and politics.
Each chapter provides a historical grounding of its topic, followed by a multifaceted analysis through various artistic representations that provide a more complex view of Mexico. Chapters are accompanied by lists of readily available murals, political cartoons, plays, pamphlets, posters, films, poems, novels, and other cultural products. Modern Mexican Culture demonstrates the power of art and artists to question, explain, and influence the world around us.
Rafael Acosta Morales
Jacqueline E. Bixler
Debra A. Castillo
David S. Dalton
Stuart A. Day
Robert McKee Irwin
Dana A. Meredith
Luis Alberto Rodríguez Cortés
Fernando Fabio Sánchez
Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado
Taking a cue from influential French philosopher Jacques Rancière, who in The Emancipated Spectator rejects the idea of the passive, ignorant, duped spectators in need of instruction to become active, Stuart A. Day’s goal in Outside Theater is to highlight written words and performances that exemplify effective strategies, past and present, to reveal and promote civic engagement, to provoke disruptions, or to highlight fissures—and opportunities—in oppressive social structures.
Through the study of one or two primary models per chapter, as well as multiple examples in the introduction and conclusion, Day presents Mexican plays from 1905 to 2015, including the 2010 Mexico City performance of Zoot Suit by Chicano playwright Luis Valdez. Using these plays, Day explores the concept of “outside theater,” where people or groups translate the tools of the theatrical trade to a different stage, outside the walls of the theater, and play the part of fictional or real life Celestinas—matchmakers who unite seemingly disparate entities to promote social awareness and social action by working the borders between life and art.
Each work in this innovative analysis reveals productive social connections that, with the help of crucial artistic alliances, contradict the perception that art is somehow secondary to or disconnected from the public sphere of influence and the struggles of everyday life. With this book, Day shows that Mexican theater can and does bolster civil society and thus the country’s fragile democracy.