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The Aztec Templo Mayor
Elizabeth Hill Boone
Harvard University Press, 1987

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Church and State Education in Revolutionary Mexico City
Patience A. Schell
University of Arizona Press, 2003
Revolution in Mexico sought to subordinate church to state and push the church out of public life. Nevertheless, state and church shared a concern for the nation's social problems. Until the breakdown of church-state cooperation in 1926, they ignored the political chasm separating them to address those problems through education in order to instill in citizens a new sense of patriotism, a strong work ethic, and adherence to traditional gender roles. This book examines primary, vocational, private, and parochial education in Mexico City from 1917 to 1926 and shows how it was affected by the relations between the revolutionary state and the Roman Catholic Church. One of the first books to look at revolutionary programs in the capital immediately after the Revolution, it shows how government social reform and Catholic social action overlapped and identifies clear points of convergence while also offering vivid descriptions of everyday life in revolutionary Mexico City. Comparing curricula and practice in Catholic and public schools, Patience Schell describes scandals and successes in classrooms throughout Mexico City. Her re-creation of day-to-day schooling shows how teachers, inspectors, volunteers, and priests, even while facing material shortages, struggled to educate Mexico City's residents out of a conviction that they were transforming society. She also reviews broader federal and Catholic social action programs such as films, unionization projects, and libraries that sought to instill a new morality in the working class. Finally, she situates education among larger issues that eventually divided church and state and examines the impact of the restrictions placed on Catholic education in 1926. Schell sheds new light on the common cause between revolutionary state education and Catholic tradition and provides new insight into the wider issue of the relationship between the revolutionary state and civil society. As the presidency of Vicente Fox revives questions of church involvement in Mexican public life, her study provides a solid foundation for understanding the tenor and tenure of that age-old relationship.
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The City of Mexico in the Age of Díaz
By Michael Johns
University of Texas Press, 1997

Mexico City assumed its current character around the turn of the twentieth century, during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876-1911). In those years, wealthy Mexicans moved away from the Zócalo, the city's traditional center, to western suburbs where they sought to imitate European and American ways of life. At the same time, poorer Mexicans, many of whom were peasants, crowded into eastern suburbs that lacked such basic amenities as schools, potable water, and adequate sewerage. These slums looked and felt more like rural villages than city neighborhoods. A century—and some twenty million more inhabitants—later, Mexico City retains its divided, robust, and almost labyrinthine character.

In this provocative and beautifully written book, Michael Johns proposes to fathom the character of Mexico City and, through it, the Mexican national character that shaped and was shaped by the capital city. Drawing on sources from government documents to newspapers to literary works, he looks at such things as work, taste, violence, architecture, and political power during the formative Díaz era. From this portrait of daily life in Mexico City, he shows us the qualities that "make a Mexican a Mexican" and have created a culture in which, as the Mexican saying goes, "everything changes so that everything remains the same."

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The City of Palaces
A Novel
Michael Nava
University of Wisconsin Press, 2014
In the years before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is ruled by a tiny elite that apes European culture, grows rich from foreign investment, and prizes racial purity. The vast majority of Mexicans, who are native or of mixed native and Spanish blood, are politically powerless and slowly starving to death. Presiding over this corrupt system is Don Porfirio Díaz, the ruthless and inscrutable president of the Republic.
            Against this backdrop, The City of Palaces opens in a Mexico City jail with the meeting of Miguel Sarmiento and Alicia Gavilán. Miguel is a principled young doctor, only recently returned from Europe but wracked by guilt for a crime he committed as a medical student ten years earlier. Alicia is the spinster daughter of an aristocratic family. Disfigured by smallpox, she has devoted herself to working with the city’s destitute. This unlikely pair—he a scientist and atheist and she a committed Christian—will marry. Through their eyes and the eyes of their young son, José, readers follow the collapse of the old order and its bloody aftermath.
            The City of Palaces is a sweeping novel of interwoven lives: Miguel and Alicia; José, a boy as beautiful and lonely as a child in a fairy tale; the idealistic Francisco Madero, who overthrows Díaz but is nevertheless destroyed by the tyrant’s political system; and Miguel’s cousin Luis, shunned as a “sodomite.” A glittering mosaic of the colonial past and the wealth of the modern age, The City of Palaces is a story of faith and reason, cathedrals and hovels, barefoot street vendors and frock-coated businessmen, grand opera and silent film, presidents and peasants, the living and the dead.

Winner, International Latino Book Award for Latino Fiction, Latino Literacy Now

Second place, International Latino Book Award for Historical Fiction, Latino Literacy Now

Finalist, Gay Fiction, Lambda Literary Awards

Honorable Mention in Drama, Latino Books into Movies Award, International Latino Book Awards

Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians

Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
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A City on a Lake
Urban Political Ecology and the Growth of Mexico City
Matthew Vitz
Duke University Press, 2018
In A City on a Lake Matthew Vitz tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality. Vitz shows how Mexico City's unequal urbanization and environmental decline stemmed from numerous scientific and social disputes over water policy, housing, forestry, and sanitary engineering. From the prerevolutionary efforts to create a hygienic city supportive of capitalist growth, through revolutionary demands for a more democratic distribution of resources, to the mid-twentieth-century emergence of a technocratic bureaucracy that served the interests of urban elites, Mexico City's environmental history helps us better understand how urban power has been exercised, reproduced, and challenged throughout Latin America.
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City on Fire
Technology, Social Change, and the Hazards of Progress in Mexico City, 1860-1910
Anna Rose Alexander
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016
By the mid-nineteenth century, efforts to modernize and industrialize Mexico City had the unintended consequence of exponentially increasing the risk of fire while also breeding a culture of fear. Through an array of archival sources, Anna Rose Alexander argues that fire became a catalyst for social change, as residents mobilized to confront the problem. Advances in engineering and medicine soon fostered the rise of distinct fields of fire-related expertise while conversely, the rise of fire-profiteering industries allowed entrepreneurs to capitalize on crisis.
 
City on Fire demonstrates that both public and private engagements with fire risk highlight the inequalities that characterized Mexican society at the turn of the twentieth century.
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The Conquered
Byzantium and America on the Cusp of Modernity
Eleni Kefala
Harvard University Press

In the middle of the fifteenth century, ominous portents like columns of fire and dense fog were seen above the skies of Constantinople as the Byzantine capital fell under siege by the Ottomans. Allegedly, similar signs appeared a few decades later and seven thousand miles away, forecasting the fall of the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan—Tlatelolco to the Spanish and their indigenous allies. After both cities had fallen, some Greeks and Mexica turned to poetry and song to express their anguish at the birth of what has come to be called the “modern” era.

This study probes issues of collective memory and cultural trauma in three sorrowful poems, the “Lament for Constantinople,” the “Huexotzinca Piece,” and the “Tlaxcala Piece.” Composed by anonymous authors soon after the conquest of the two cities, these texts describe the fall of an empire as a fissure in the social fabric and an open wound on the body politic. They are the workings of creators who draw on tradition and historical particulars to articulate, in a familiar language, the trauma of the conquered.

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Containing the Poor
The Mexico City Poor House, 1774-1871
Silvia Marina Arrom
Duke University Press, 2001
In 1774 Mexico City leaders created the Mexico City Poor House—the centerpiece of a bold experiment intended to eliminate poverty and impose a new work ethic on former beggars by establishing a forcible internment policy for some and putting others to work. In Containing the Poor Silvia Marina Arrom tells the saga of this ill-fated plan, showing how the asylum functioned primarily to educate white orphans instead of suppressing mendicancy and exerting control over the multiracial community for whom it was designed.
For a nation that had traditionally regarded the needy as having the undisputed right to receive alms and whose affluent citizens felt duty-bound to dispense them, the experiment was doomed from the start, explains Arrom. She uses deep archival research to reveal that—much to policymakers’ dismay—the Poor House became an orphanage largely because the government had underestimated the embeddedness of this moral economy of begging. While tracing the course of an eventful century that also saw colonialism give way to republicanism in Mexico, Arrom links the Poor House’s transformation with other societal factors as well, such as Mexican women’s increasing impact on social welfare policies.
With poverty, begging, and homelessness still rampant in much of Latin America today, this study of changing approaches to social welfare will be particularly valuable to student and scholars of Mexican and Latin American society and history, as well as those engaged in the study of social and welfare policy.
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The Crossroads of Class and Gender
Industrial Homework, Subcontracting, and Household Dynamics in Mexico City
Lourdes Benería and Martha Roldán
University of Chicago Press, 1987
In this innovative exploration of the interaction between economic processes and social relations, Lourdes Benería and Martha Roldán examine the effect of homework on gender and family dynamics. Their fieldwork in Mexico City during 1981-82 has enabled them to provide important new empirical data on industrial piecework performed by women as well as intimate glimpses of these women's lives which place that piecework in context. Tracing the stages of production from home to jobber, workshop, and manufacturer (often a multinational corporation), the authors demonstrate the way in which the work and lives of these women are connected through subcontracting to the national and often international system of production.
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The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City
By Barbara E. Mundy
University of Texas Press, 2015

Winner, Book Prize in Latin American Studies, Colonial Section of Latin American Studies Association (LASA), 2016
ALAA Book Award, Association for Latin American Art/Arvey Foundation, 2016

The capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan, was, in its era, one of the largest cities in the world. Built on an island in the middle of a shallow lake, its population numbered perhaps 150,000, with another 350,000 people in the urban network clustered around the lake shores. In 1521, at the height of Tenochtitlan’s power, which extended over much of Central Mexico, Hernando Cortés and his followers conquered the city. Cortés boasted to King Charles V of Spain that Tenochtitlan was “destroyed and razed to the ground.” But was it?

Drawing on period representations of the city in sculptures, texts, and maps, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, the Life of Mexico City builds a convincing case that this global capital remained, through the sixteenth century, very much an Amerindian city. Barbara E. Mundy foregrounds the role the city’s indigenous peoples, the Nahua, played in shaping Mexico City through the construction of permanent architecture and engagement in ceremonial actions. She demonstrates that the Aztec ruling elites, who retained power even after the conquest, were instrumental in building and then rebuilding the city. Mundy shows how the Nahua entered into mutually advantageous alliances with the Franciscans to maintain the city's sacred nodes. She also focuses on the practical and symbolic role of the city’s extraordinary waterworks—the product of a massive ecological manipulation begun in the fifteenth century—to reveal how the Nahua struggled to maintain control of water resources in early Mexico City.

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I Speak of the City
Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo
University of Chicago Press, 2013
In this dazzling multidisciplinary tour of Mexico City, Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo focuses on the period 1880 to 1940, the decisive decades that shaped the city into what it is today. 
 
Through a kaleidoscope of expository forms, I Speak of the City connects the realms of literature, architecture, music, popular language, art, and public health to investigate the city in a variety of contexts: as a living history textbook, as an expression of the state, as a modernist capital, as a laboratory, and as language. Tenorio’s formal imagination allows the reader to revel in the free-flowing richness of his narratives, opening startling new vistas onto the urban experience.
 
From art to city planning, from epidemiology to poetry, this book challenges the conventional wisdom about both Mexico City and the turn-of-the-century world to which it belonged. And by engaging directly with the rise of modernism and the cultural experiences of such personalities as Hart Crane, Mina Loy, and Diego Rivera, I Speak of the City will find an enthusiastic audience across the disciplines.

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The Limits of Racial Domination
Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660–1720
R. Douglas Cope
University of Wisconsin Press, 1994

     In this distinguished contribution to Latin American colonial history, Douglas Cope draws upon a wide variety of sources—including Inquisition and court cases, notarial records and parish registers—to challenge the traditional view of castas (members of the caste system created by Spanish overlords) as rootless, alienated, and dominated by a desire to improve their racial status.  On the contrary, the castas, Cope shows, were neither passive nor ruled by feelings of racial inferiority; indeed, they often modified or even rejected elite racial ideology.  Castas also sought ways to manipulate their social "superiors" through astute use of the legal system.  Cope shows that social control by the Spaniards rested less on institutions than on patron-client networks linking individual patricians and plebeians, which enabled the elite class to co-opt the more successful castas.
     The book concludes with the most thorough account yet published of the Mexico City riot of 1692.  This account illuminates both the shortcomings and strengths of the patron-client system.  Spurred by a corn shortage and subsequent famine, a plebeian mob laid waste much of the central city.  Cope demonstrates that the political situation was not substantially altered, however; the patronage system continued to control employment and plebeians were largely left to bargain and adapt, as before.
     A revealing look at the economic lives of the urban poor in the colonial era, The Limits of Racial Domination examines a period in which critical social changes were occurring.  The book should interest historians and ethnohistorians alike.

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Mexico City in Contemporary Mexican Cinema
By David William Foster
University of Texas Press, 2002

Just as Mexican national life has come to center on the sprawling, dynamic, almost indefinable metropolis of Mexico City, so recent Mexican cinema has focused on the city not merely as a setting for films but almost as a protagonist in its own right, whose conditions both create meaning for and receive meaning from the human lives lived in its midst. Through close readings of fourteen recent critically acclaimed films, this book watches Mexican cinema in this process of producing cultural meaning through its creation, enaction, and interpretation of the idea of Mexico City.

David William Foster analyzes how Mexican filmmakers have used Mexico City as a vehicle for exploring such issues as crime, living space, street life, youth culture, political and police corruption, safety hazards, gender roles, and ethnic and social identities. The book is divided into three sections. "Politics of the City" examines the films Rojo amanecer,Novia que te vea,Frida, naturaleza viva, and Sexo, pudor y lágrimas. "Human Geographies" looks at El Callejón de los Milagros,Mecánica nacional,El castillo de la pureza,Todo el poder, and Lolo. "Mapping Gender" discusses Danzón,De noche vienes,Esmeralda,La tarea,Lola, and Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda.

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The Mexico City Reader
Edited by Ruben Gallo
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004

    Mexico City is one of Latin America’s cultural capitals, and one of the most vibrant urban spaces in the world. The Mexico City Reader is an anthology of "Cronicas"—short, hybrid texts that are part literary essay, part urban reportage—about life in the capital. This is not the "City of Palaces" of yesteryear, but the vibrant, chaotic, anarchic urban space of the1980s and 1990s—the city of garbage mafias, necrophiliac artists, and kitschy millionaires.
    Like the visitor wandering through the city streets, the reader will be constantly surprised by the visions encountered in this mosaic of writings—a textual space brimming with life and crowded with flâneurs, flirtatious students, Indian dancers,
food vendors, fortune tellers, political activists, and peasant protesters.
    The essays included in this anthology were written by a panoply of writers, from well-known authors like Carlos Monsiváis and Jorge Ibagüengoitia to younger figures like Fabrizio Mejía Madrid and Juieta García González, all of whom are experienced practitioners of the city. The texts collected in this anthology are among the most striking examples of this concomitant "theory and practice" of Mexico City, that most delirious of megalopolises.


“[An] exciting literary journey . . .”—Carolyn Malloy, Multicultural Review

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Modern Architecture in Mexico City
History, Representation, and the Shaping of a Capital
Kathryn E. O'Rourke
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016
Winner, 2018 SAH Alice Davis Hitchcock Award

Mexico City became one of the centers of architectural modernism in the Americas in the first half of the twentieth century. Invigorated by insights drawn from the first published histories of Mexican colonial architecture, which suggested that Mexico possessed a distinctive architecture and culture, beginning in the 1920s a new generation of architects created profoundly visual modern buildings intended to convey Mexico’s unique cultural character. By midcentury these architects and their students had rewritten the country’s architectural history and transformed the capital into a metropolis where new buildings that evoked pre-conquest, colonial, and International Style architecture coexisted.

Through an exploration of schools, a university campus, a government ministry, a workers’ park, and houses for Diego Rivera and Luis Barragán, Kathryn O’Rourke offers a new interpretation of modern architecture in the Mexican capital, showing close links between design, evolving understandings of national architectural history, folk art, and social reform. This book demonstrates why creating a distinctively Mexican architecture captivated architects whose work was formally dissimilar, and how that concern became central to the profession.
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Musical Ritual in Mexico City
From the Aztec to NAFTA
By Mark Pedelty
University of Texas Press, 2004

On the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City, Mexico's entire musical history is performed every day. "Mexica" percussionists drum and dance to the music of Aztec rituals on the open plaza. Inside the Metropolitan Cathedral, choristers sing colonial villancicos. Outside the National Palace, the Mexican army marching band plays the "Himno Nacional," a vestige of the nineteenth century. And all around the square, people listen to the contemporary sounds of pop, rock, and música grupera. In all, some seven centuries of music maintain a living presence in the modern city.

This book offers an up-to-date, comprehensive history and ethnography of musical rituals in the world's largest city. Mark Pedelty details the dominant musical rites of the Aztec, colonial, national, revolutionary, modern, and contemporary eras, analyzing the role that musical ritual played in governance, resistance, and social change. His approach is twofold. Historical chapters describe the rituals and their functions, while ethnographic chapters explore how these musical forms continue to resonate in contemporary Mexican society. As a whole, the book provides a living record of cultural continuity, change, and vitality.

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Nothing, Nobody
The Voices of the Mexico City Earthquake
Elena Poniatowska, translated by Aurora Camacho de Schmidt, foreword by Arthur Schmidt
Temple University Press, 1995

September 19, 1985: A powerful earthquake hits Mexico City in the early morning hours. As the city collapses, the government fails to respond. Long a voice of social conscience, prominent Mexican journalist Elena Poniatowska chronicles the disintegration of the city's physical and social structure, the widespread grassroots organizing against government corruption and incompetence, and the reliency of the human spirit. As a transformative moment in the life of mexican society, the earthquake is as much a component of the country's current crisis as the 1982 debt crisis, the problematic economic of the last ten years, and the recent elections.

In masterfully weaving together a multiplicity of voices, Poniatowska has reasserted the inherent value and latent power of people working together. Punctuated by Poniatowska's own experiences and observations, these post disaster testimonies speak of the disruption of families and neighborhoods, of the destruction of homes and hospitals, of mutilation and death—the collective loss of a city. Drawing the reader dramatically into the scene of national horror through dozens of personal stories, Poniatowska demonstrates the importance of courage and self-reliance in redeeming life from chaos.

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Performance in the Zócalo
Constructing History, Race, and Identity in Mexico's Central Square from the Colonial Era to the Present
Ana Martínez
University of Michigan Press, 2020
For more than five centuries, the Plaza Mayor (or Zócalo) in Mexico City has been the site of performances for a public spectatorship. During the period of colonial rule, performances designed to ensure loyalty to the Spanish monarchy were staged there, but over time, these displays gave way to staged demonstrations of resistance. Today, the Zócalo is a site for both official government-sponsored celebrations and performances that challenge the state. Performance in the Zócalo examines the ways that this city square has achieved symbolic significance over the centuries, and how national, ethnic, and racial identity has been performed there.
 
A saying in Mexico City is “quien domina el centro, domina el país” (whoever dominates the center, dominates the country) as the Zócalo continues to act as the performative embodiment of Mexican society. This book highlights how particular performances build upon each other by recycling past architectures and performative practices for new purposes. Ana Martínez discusses the singular role of collective memory in creating meaning through space and landmarks, providing a new perspective and further insight into the problem of Mexico’s relationship with its own past. Rather than merely describe the commemorations, she traces the relationship between space and the invention of a Mexican imaginary. She also explores how indigenous communities, Mexico’s alienated subalterns, performed as exploited objects, exotic characters, and subjects with agency. The book’s dual purposes are to examine the Zócalo as Mexico’s central site of performance and to unmask, without homogenizing, the official discourse regarding Mexico’s natives. This book will be of interest for students and scholars in theater studies, Mexican Studies, Cultural Geography, Latinx and Latin American Studies.
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Resurrecting Tenochtitlan
Imagining the Aztec Capital in Modern Mexico City
Delia Cosentino and Adriana Zavala
University of Texas Press, 2023

Honorable Mention, ALAA-Arvey Foundation Book Award, Association of Latin American Art
Finalist, 2024 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, College Art Association


How Mexican artists and intellectuals created a new identity for modern Mexico City through its ties to Aztec Tenochtitlan.

After archaeologists rediscovered a corner of the Templo Mayor in 1914, artists, intellectuals, and government officials attempted to revive Tenochtitlan as an instrument for reassessing Mexican national identity in the wake of the Revolution of 1910. What followed was a conceptual excavation of the original Mexica capital in relation to the transforming urban landscape of modern Mexico City.

Revolutionary-era scholars took a renewed interest in sixteenth century maps as they recognized an intersection between Tenochtitlan and the foundation of a Spanish colonial settlement directly over it. Meanwhile, Mexico City developed with modern roads and expanded civic areas as agents of nationalism promoted concepts like indigenismo, the embrace of Indigenous cultural expressions. The promotion of artworks and new architectural projects such as Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum helped to make real the notion of a modern Tenochtitlan. Employing archival materials, newspaper reports, and art criticism from 1914 to 1964, Resurrecting Tenochtitlan connects art history with urban studies to reveal the construction of a complex physical and cultural layout for Mexico’s modern capital.

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Return to Centro Histórico
A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots
Stavans, Ilan
Rutgers University Press, 2012

After a stirring e-mail exchange with his father, awardwinning essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans decided to do something bizarre: revisit his hometown, Mexico City, accompanied by a tourist guide. But rather than seeking his roots in the neighborhood where he grew up, he headed to the Centro Histórico, the downtown area at the heart of the world’s largest metropolis. It was there that conversos, the hidden Jews escaping the might of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, were burned at the stake. And, centuries later, it was the same section where Jewish immigrants, both Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim and Sephardim from the Ottoman Empire, made their homes as peddlers. In a sense, Centro Histórico is to Mexico what the Lower East Side is to the United States: a platform for reinventing one’s self in the New World.

With the same linguistic verve and insight that has made him one of the most distinguished voices in American literature today, Ilan Stavans invites readers along for a personal journey that is not only his own, but that of an entire culture. In Return to Centro Histórico he makes it possible to understand the intimate role that Jews have played in the development of Hispanic civilization.

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The Spectacular City, Mexico, and Colonial Hispanic Literary Culture
By Stephanie Merrim
University of Texas Press, 2010

Winner, Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, Modern Language Association, 2010

The Spectacular City, Mexico, and Colonial Hispanic Literary Culture tracks the three spectacular forces of New World literary culture—cities, festivals, and wonder—from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, from the Old World to the New, and from Mexico to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. It treats a multitude of imperialist and anti-imperialist texts in depth, including poetry, drama, protofiction, historiography, and journalism. While several of the landmark authors studied, including Hernán Cortés and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, are familiar, others have received remarkably little critical attention. Similarly, in spotlighting creole writers, Merrim reveals an intertextual tradition in Mexico that spans two centuries. Because the spectacular city reaches its peak in the seventeenth century, Merrim's book also theorizes and details the spirited work of the New World Baroque. The result is the rich examination of a trajectory that leads from the Renaissance ordered city to the energetic revolts of the spectacular city and the New World Baroque.

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Urban Leviathan
Mexico City in the Twentieth Century
Diane E. Davis
Temple University Press, 1994

Why, Diane Davis asks, has Mexico City, once known as the city of palaces, turned into a sea of people, poverty, and pollution? Through historical analysis of Mexico City, Davis identifies political actors responsible for the uncontrolled industrialization of Mexico's economic and social center, its capital city. This narrative biography takes a perspective rarely found in studies of third-world urban development: Davis demonstrates how and why local politics can run counter to rational politics, yet become enmeshed, spawning ineffective policies that are detrimental to the city and the nation.

The competing social and economic demand of the working poor and middle classes and the desires of Mexico's ruling Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) have led to gravely diminished services, exorbitant infrastructural expenditures, and counter-productive use of geographic space. Though Mexico City's urban transport system has evolved over the past seven decades from trolley to bus to METRO (subway), it fails to meet the needs of the population, despite its costliness, and is indicative of the city's disastrous and ill-directed overdevelopment. Examining the political forces behind the thwarted attempts to provide transportation in the downtown and sprawling outer residential areas, Davis analyzes the maneuverings of local and national politicians, foreign investors, middle classes, agency bureaucrats, and various factions of the PRI.

Looking to Mexico's future, Davis concludes that growing popular dissatisfaction and frequent urban protests demanding both democratic reform and administrative autonomy in the capital city suggest an unstable future for corporatist politics and the PRI's centralized one-party government.

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Working Women in Mexico City
Public Discourses and Material Conditions, 1879-1931
Susie S. Porter
University of Arizona Press, 2003
The years from the Porfiriato to the post-Revolutionary regimes were a time of rising industrialism in Mexico that dramatically affected the lives of workers. Much of what we know about their experience is based on the histories of male workers; now Susie Porter takes a new look at industrialization in Mexico that focuses on women wage earners across the work force, from factory workers to street vendors. Working Women in Mexico City offers a new look at this transitional era to reveal that industrialization, in some ways more than revolution, brought about changes in the daily lives of Mexican women. Industrialization brought women into new jobs, prompting new public discussion of the moral implications of their work. Drawing on a wealth of material, from petitions of working women to government factory inspection reports, Porter shows how a shifting cultural understanding of working women informed labor relations, social legislation, government institutions, and ultimately the construction of female citizenship. At the beginning of this period, women worked primarily in the female-dominated cigarette and clothing factories, which were thought of as conducive to protecting feminine morality, but by 1930 they worked in a wide variety of industries. Yet material conditions transformed more rapidly than cultural understandings of working women, and although the nation's political climate changed, much about women's experiences as industrial workers and street vendors remained the same. As Porter shows, by the close of this period women's responsibilities and rights of citizenship—such as the right to work, organize, and participate in public debate—were contingent upon class-informed notions of female sexual morality and domesticity. Although much scholarship has treated Mexican women's history, little has focused on this critical phase of industrialization and even less on the circumstances of the tortilleras or market women. By tracing the ways in which material conditions and public discourse about morality affected working women, Porter's work sheds new light on their lives and poses important questions for understanding social stratification in Mexican history.
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