The early 1960s are remembered for the emergence of new radical movements influenced by the Cuban Revolution. One such protest movement rose in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. With large timber companies moving in on the forested sierra highlands, campesinos and rancheros did not sit by as their lands and livelihoods were threatened. Continuing a long history of agrarian movements and local traditions of armed self-defense, they organized and demanded agrarian rights.
Thousands of students joined the campesino protests in long-distance marches, land invasions, and direct actions that transcended political parties and marked the participants’ emergence as political subjects. The Popular Guerrilla Group (GPG) took shape from sporadic armed conflicts in the sierra. Early victories in the field encouraged the GPG to pursue more ambitious targets, and on September 23, 1965, armed farmers, agricultural workers, students, and teachers attacked an army base in Madera, Chihuahua. This bold move had deadly consequences.
With a sympathetic yet critical eye, historian Elizabeth Henson argues that the assault undermined and divided the movement that had been its crucible, sacrificing the most militant, audacious, and serious of a generation at a time when such sacrifices were more frequently observed. Henson shows how local history merged with national tensions over one-party rule, the unrealized promises of the Mexican Revolution, and international ideologies.
Casas Grandes, or Paquimé, is one of the most important settlements in the prehistoric North American Southwest. The largest and most complex community in the Puebloan world, it was characterized by its principal excavator, Charles Di Peso, as an outpost of the Toltec empire, which used it as a trade link between Mesoamerican and southwestern cultures. Michael E. Whalen and Paul E. Minnis have worked extensively in the Casas Grandes area and now offer new research arguing that it was not as similar to the highly developed complex societies of Mesoamerica as has been thought. In the first book of its kind in 25 years, the authors analyze settlement pattern data from more than 300 communities in the area surrounding Casas Grandes to show that its Medio period culture was a local development. Whalen and Minnis propose that Casas Grandes lacked extensive stratification, well-established decision-making hierarchies, and formalized positions of authority. They suggest instead that emerging elites used bribes, promises, and threats to build factions and extend their power. The communities at the periphery are shown to have had varying levels of social and economic interaction with Casas Grandes. This innovative study offers a new model for the rise and fall of Casas Grandes that departs considerably from the view most scholars have come to accept and will be of interest to all concerned with the comparative study of emergent complexity. It clearly shows that the idea of extensive regional centralization by Casas Grandes is no longer tenable and merits reconsideration by the archaeological community.
On the high desert plateau of northern Mexico, outsiders have taken refuge from the secular world. Here three Anglo communities of Mormons and Mennonites have ordered their lives around male supremacy, rigid religious duty, and a rejection of modern technology and culture. In so doing, they have successfully adapted to this harsh desert environment.
Janet Bennion has lived and worked among these people, and in this book she introduces a new paradigm—"desert patriarchy"—to explain their way of life. This perspective sheds light not only on these particular communities but also on the role of the desert environment in the development and maintenance of fundamentalist ideology in other parts of the United States and around the globe.
Making new connections between the arid environment, opposition to technology, and gender ideology, Bennion shows that it is the interplay of the desert and the unique social traditions and gender dynamics embedded in Anglo patriarchal fundamentalism that accounts for the successful longevity of the Mexican colonies. Her model defines the process by which male supremacy, female autonomous networking, and religious fundamentalism all facilitate successful adaptation to the environment.
More than a theoretical analysis, Desert Patriarchy provides an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of these people, showing how they have taken refuge in the desert to escape religious persecution, the forced secular education of their children, and economic and political marginalization. It particularly sheds light on the ironic autonomy of women within a patriarchal system, showing how fundamentalist women in Chihuahua are finding numerous creative ways to access power and satisfaction in a society structured to subordinate and even degrade them.
Desert Patriarchy richly expands the literature on nontraditional religious movements as it enhances our understanding of how environment can shape society. It offers unique insights into women's status in patriarchal communities and provides a new way of looking at similar communities worldwide.
With contributions from sociocultural and linguistic anthropologists as well as archaeologists, this volume is the first to present case studies of social identity and feasting from throughout the Greater Southwest. A section of the book is also devoted to a synthesis and set of case studies on the archaeology of the pivotal Mexican State of Chihuahua.
Unlike many previous studies, the authors of this volume place emphasis on how differences within and between societies came about rather than why dissimilar structures arose, elevating the place of both agency and history in understanding the past. Identity, Feasting, and the Archaeology of the Greater Southwest will be of interest to all doing archaeological research in the Southwestern United States and those conducting research on social identity, cultural affiliation, and commensal politics. Contributors include Karen R. Adams, Jeffrey J. Clark, Patricia L. Crown, T. J. Ferguson, Catherine S. Fowler, Robert J. Hard, Jane H. Hill, Jane H. Kelley, Frances Levine, Micah Loma'omvaya, K. Tsianina Lomawaima, A. C. MacWilliams, Paul E. Minnis, Scott G. Ortman, David Phillips Jr., James M. Potter, John R. Roney, Lynne Sebastian, Katherine A. Spielmann, Joe D. Stewart, Scott Van Keuren, Laurie D. Webster, Michael E. Whalen, and W. H. Wills
The Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona is a peer-reviewed monograph series sponsored by the School of Anthropology. Established in 1959, the series publishes archaeological and ethnographic papers that use contemporary method and theory to investigate problems of anthropological importance in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and related areas.
Archaeologists are slowly peeling back the mysteries surrounding the Casas Grandes culture of Mexico, although most of that work has focused on the principal site of Paquimé and its immediate vicinity. In this volume, Jane Kelley and her colleagues probe the southern edge of the Casas Grandes culture area—an area little explored by archaeologists until now. The book provides the first solid foundation for research on prehistoric west-central Chihuahua. Readers will find descriptions of the southern branch of the pottery-making, village-dwelling farmers of the Casas Grandes culture and learn that, as Paquimé became the most complex site in the region, the southern Casas Grandes people mostly held back from the “Paquimé revolution.” The studies presented here confer a more nuanced understanding of the tremendous diversity within one of the region’s great prehistoric cultures, an area that extends unbroken from deep in Mexico north to central Utah.
Did the Mexican Revolution do away with the ruling class of the old regime? Did a new ruling class rise to take the old one's place—and if so, what differences resulted? In this compelling study, the first of its kind, Mark Wasserman pursues these questions through an analysis of the history and politics of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua from 1910 to 1940. Chihuahua boasted one of the strongest pre-revolutionary elite networks, the Terrazas-Creel family. Wasserman describes this group's efforts to maintain its power after the Revolution, including its use of economic resources and intermarriage to forge partnerships with the new, revolutionary elite. Together, the old and new elites confronted a national government that sought to reestablish centralized control over the states and the masses. Wasserman shows how the revolutionary government and the popular classes, joined in opposition to the challenge of the elites, finally formalized into a national political party during the 1930s. Persistent Oligarchs concludes with an account of the Revolution's ultimate outcome, largely accomplished by 1940: the national government gaining central control over politics, the popular classes obtaining land redistribution and higher wages, and regional elites, old and new, availing themselves of the great opportunities presented by economic development. A complex analysis of revolution as a vehicle for both continuity and change, this work is essential to an understanding of Mexico and Latin America, as well as revolutionary politics and history.
Just a trolley ride from El Paso, Ciudad Juárez was a popular destination in the early 1900s. Enticing and exciting, tourists descended on this and other Mexican border towns to browse curio shops, dine and dance, attend bullfights, and perhaps escape Prohibition America.
In Postcards from the Chihuahua Border Daniel D. Arreola captures the exhilaration of places in time, taking us back to Mexico’s northern border towns of Cuidad Juárez, Ojinaga, and Palomas in the early twentieth century. Drawing on more than three decades of archival work, Arreola uses postcards and maps to unveil the history of these towns along west Texas’s and New Mexico’s southern borders.
Postcards offer a special kind of visual evidence. Arreola’s collection of imagery and commentary about them shows us singular places, enriching our understandings of history and the history of change in Chihuahua. No one postcard tells the entire story. But image after image offers a collected view and insight into changing perceptions. Arreola’s geography of place looks both inward and outward. We see what tourists see, while at the same time gaining insight about what postcard photographers and postcard publishers wanted to be seen and perceived about these border communities.
Postcards from the Chihuahua Border is a colorful and dynamic visual history. It invites the reader to time travel, to revisit another era—the first half of the last century—when these border towns were framed and made popular through picture postcards.
Paquimé (also known as Casas Grandes) and its antecedents are important and interesting parts of the prehispanic history in northwestern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Not only is there a long history of human occupation, but Paquimé is one of the better examples of centralized influence. Unfortunately, it is also an understudied region compared to the U.S. Southwest and other places in Mesoamerica.
This volume is the first large-scale investigation of the prehispanic ethnobotany of this important ancient site and its neighbors. The authors examine ethnobotanical relationships during Medio Period, AD 1200–1450, when Paquimé was at its most influential. Based on two decades of archaeological research, this book examines uses of plants for food, farming strategies, wood use, and anthropogenic ecology. The authors show that the relationships between plants and people are complex, interdependent, and reciprocal. This volume documents ethnobotanical relationships and shows their importance to the development of the Paquimé polity.
How ancient farmers made a living in an arid to semi-arid region and the effects their livelihood had on the local biota, their relations with plants, and their connection with other peoples is worthy of serious study. The story of the Casas Grandes tradition holds valuable lessons for humanity.
Casas Grandes, or Paquimé, in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, was home to a religious system that swept across northern Mexico and what is now the southern United States between AD 1200 and 1450. To commemorate this religion the people of Casas Grandes created striking polychrome pots with black and red geometric and naturalistic designs on a cream base. Their pottery provides a window to Casas Grandes cosmology.
Looking through this window, authors Christine and Todd VanPool find a world centered on shamans who took spiritual journeys to consort with supernatural creatures. The shamans called upon horned serpents to bring rain, the lifeblood for farmers living in the Chihuahuan desert; dealt with snakes that held powers more potent than their bites; and raised, sacrificed, and buried macaws as ritual offerings to ensure water and fertility.
These findings challenge long-held beliefs about Southwestern religion and force a reconsideration of the importance of shamanism in the development of social differentiation in societies around the world.
Archaeology in the Southwest is increasingly directing its attention south of the international border as it becomes clear that a picture of the pre-hispanic Southwest is incomplete without taking the Mexican Northwest into account.
Surveying the Archaeology of Northwest Mexico presents an overview of recent work in Sonora and Chihuahua, comprising a sort of professional tour of the area. The chapters offer fresh insights into the formation of centers such as Paquimé, Cerro de Trincheras, and the Rio Sonora cabaceras. Contributors explore relations between these centers, individual internal organization of the various identifiable polities, and the relation of the whole northwest Mexican region to better-known adjacent ones. The volume underscores that northwest Mexico was not a dependent hinterland but was inhabited by many independent groups throughout prehistory.
This book is about the construction and tranformation of peasant military colonists on Mexico's northern frontier from the late 18th through the early 20th century. Though the majority of the data comes from the pueblo of Namiquipa in the state of Chihuahua, the argument has broader implications for the study of northern Mexico, frontier societies, and our understanding of the northern armies in the 1910 Revolution. The study is rare for its integration of several levels, placing an analysis of gender and ethnicity within a specific historical period.
The author demonstrates that a distinct kind of frontier serrano society was generated in Namiquipa between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. In exchange for keeping the Apaches at bay, colonists were provided with arms and land grants. At the same time, they developed a gendered sense of ethnic identity that equated honor with land, autonomy, and a kind of masculinity that distinguished the "civilized" colonist from the "barbarous" Indian. While this identity was itself ordered hierarchically between men and women, and between "Hispanic" and "Indian," it also provided serranos with a sense of pride and dignity that was not directly associated with wealth.
After the defeat of the Apaches, and with increased state control during the last decades of the Porfiriato, the serranos on the frontier were transformed from bulwarks of order to victims of progress. The expansion of capitalism and the manipulation of local political office by men no longer accountable to communal norms eroded the legitimacy of both powerholders and the central state. In response, serranos constructed an ideology of history based on past notions of masculine honor and autonomy. This ideology motivated their confrontations with the Mexican state during the 1890s and also served as the force behind their mobilization in the 1910 revolution.