We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Forjando Patria


By Manuel Gamio and translated by Fernando Armstrong-Fumero

Publication Year: 2010

Often considered the father of anthropological studies in Mexico, Manuel Gamio originally published Forjando Patria in 1916. This groundbreaking manifesto for a national anthropology of Mexico summarizes the key issues in the development of anthropology as an academic discipline and the establishment of an active field of cultural politics in Mexico. Written during the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution, the book has now been translated into English for the first time. Armstrong-Fumero's translation allows readers to develop a more nuanced understanding of this foundational work, which is often misrepresented in contemporary critical analyses. As much about national identity as anthropology, this text gives Anglophone readers access to a particular set of topics that have been mentioned extensively in secondary literature but are rarely discussed with a sense of their original context. Forjando Patria also reveals the many textual ambiguities that can lend themselves to different interpretations. The book highlights the history and development of Mexican anthropology and archaeology at a time when scholars in the United States are increasingly recognizing the importance of cross-cultural collaboration with their Mexican colleagues. It will be of interest to anthropologists and archaeologists studying the region, as well as those involved in the history of the discipline.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (70.7 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.7 KB)
pp. vii-viii


pdf iconDownload PDF (36.0 KB)
pp. ix

read more

Preface: Why Forjando Patria? Why Now?

pdf iconDownload PDF (71.1 KB)
pp. xi-xiv

I was motivated to translate Forjando Patria by the memory of a seemingly endless series of miscommunications and tensions that marked my earliest discussions with Mexican colleagues. This was an experience that I shared with many of my contemporaries...

read more

Translator’s Introduction: Manuel Gamio and Forjando Patria: Anthropology in Times of Revolution

pdf iconDownload PDF (164.4 KB)
pp. 1-20

In 1909 and 1926, Manuel Gamio made two crucial trips from Mexico to the United States. In the first, he arrived as a student at Franz Boas’s Department of Anthropology at Columbia, making him the first Mexican to obtain an advanced professional degree...

read more

1: Forjando Patria

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.7 KB)
pp. 23-24

In the great forge of America, on the anvil of the Andes, the bronze and iron of virile races have been alloyed for centuries and centuries. When the task of mixing and blending peoples came to the brown arms of Atahualpa and Moctezuma...

read more

2: Patrias and Nationalities of Latin America

pdf iconDownload PDF (124.2 KB)
pp. 25-31

With few exceptions, one does not find the characteristics that are inherent in a defined and integrated nationality in most Latin American countries. In these countries, there is neither a generalized idea nor a unanimous feeling of what a Patria is. Instead...

read more

3: The Department of Anthropology

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.3 KB)
pp. 32-35

It is a given that anthropology, in its true and amplest conception, should be the basic form of knowledge for good government. Through anthropology, one gains awareness of the population that is the source of both rulers and those who are ruled over. Through anthropology...

read more

4: The Redemption of the Indigenous Class

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.4 KB)
pp. 36-37

Nine years ago, the author of this book attempted to publish articles in several Mexico City newspapers to criticize the “personal contributions” or “derechos de capitación” that survived in many states of the republic as a bitter relic of long-gone encomiendas...

read more

5: Prejudices against the Indigenous Race and Its History

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.2 KB)
pp. 38-40

In The Mind of Primitive Man, an interesting work in which Dr. Franz Boas compiles his lectures from Harvard and Mexico, the chapter on racial prejudices is especially worthy of attention. The illustrious professor condemns prejudices regarding the aptitudes of different human groups...

read more

6: Sociology and Government

pdf iconDownload PDF (61.7 KB)
pp. 41-42

Sociologists observe and record social phenomena with a scientific methodology, but the laws that they attempt to deduce from these data are often anything but scientific. If they were, it would be possible to predict the occurrence of different social phenomena...

read more

7: Knowledge of the Population

pdf iconDownload PDF (63.1 KB)
pp. 43-44

It is not possible to determine the necessities of a people, or to seek their improvement, without knowing their statistics. Statistics is a systematic synthesis of the economic, ethnological, biological, and other characteristics of human groups. Knowing these characteristics leads to understanding...

read more

8: Some Considerations on Statistics

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.9 KB)
pp. 45-47

First, statistics is a conjunction of qualitative and quantitative data that refer to the population and to its activities at home and abroad. Second, these data should be systematically and empirically collected so that they have legitimate value...

read more

9: The Work of Art in Mexico

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.4 KB)
pp. 48-51

It seems risky to classify all of the manifestations of art that exist in Mexico— architecture, sculpture, painting, ceramics, pottery, decorative arts, and so forth. Besides being diverse and little-studied, these art forms differ in terms of their cultural origin, character...

read more

10: The Concept of Pre-Hispanic Art

pdf iconDownload PDF (293.3 KB)
pp. 52-61

Works of art that are unearthed by archaeologists are often qualified as aesthetic or anti-aesthetic. But why they are thus qualified is almost never explained. Archaeological2 art is judged subjectively, as each person thinks that it should be, and not...

read more

11: Art and Science in the Period of Independence

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.0 KB)
pp. 62-64

Our historians have conducted nuanced investigations regarding the social and economic innovations that followed independence from Spain. But little attention has been paid to other innovations of artistic and scientific character that took place during the same period...

read more

12: Department of Fine Arts

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.7 KB)
pp. 65-66

In Mexico today, there are a great many directorates and institutes: the Department of Public Works, the Geological Institute, the Medical Institute, and so on and so on. There is not, however, a Department of Fine Arts. If it is well and good that special institutions...

read more

13: There Is No Prehistory!

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.1 KB)
pp. 67-69

Such an affirmation can be made unequivocally, without fear of being contradicted. There has been no lack of hypotheses about the existence of prehistoric man in Mexico. Peñon Man, Tequixquiac Man, Chapala Man, and who knows how many other fabulous...

read more

14: Synthetic Concept of Archaeology

pdf iconDownload PDF (62.8 KB)
pp. 70-71

For some, archaeology is nothing more than a way of passing the time. Archaeological investigations are a way of determining if Moctezuma wore rope or leather sandals on his feet, or of knowing if Cuauhtémoc did his own “manicure” or entrusted this to bronzed...

read more

15: The Values of History

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.4 KB)
pp. 72-79

Values of history—it seems to us that history has two values: the speculative and the transcendent. History is essentially the collection of information about the nature, origin, character evolution, and tendencies of past civilizations. When this information exists passively...

read more

16: Revision of the Latin American Constitutions

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.4 KB)
pp. 80-82

We have noted how the legislative bodies of the future should pay greater attention to the anthropological study of the populations that they govern. In this way, the constitution and general laws of the country can provide the most efficient and authoritative...

read more

17: Our Laws and Our Legislators

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.3 KB)
pp. 83-85

In the previous chapter, we discussed one of the propositions that the Mexican delegation presented before the Second Pan-American Scientific Congress that took place in Washington, D.C., which was the convenience of revising and reforming the constitutions...

read more

18: Politics and Its Values

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.1 KB)
pp. 86-89

The success of any enterprise, the efficiency of any work, requires that it be composed of basic elements that have real value. In order for the collaboration of political parties in the recently reconstructed government to be useful and efficient, it is necessary...

read more

19: Our Religious Transition

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 90-92

When a people is subjugated, it is relatively easy for the conquerors to impose new art, new industries, new customs, and other manifestations of culture. But it is very difficult and time-consuming to make the conquered accept new religious ideas. Since its origins...

read more

20: Our Catholics

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.4 KB)
pp. 93-95

The immense majority of our population professes Catholicism, without admitting argument or doubt. Unfortunately, not all of us are sensibly Catholic. In Mexico, there are three types of Catholics: Pagan Catholics, True Catholics, and Utilitarian...

read more

21: Our Intellectual Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF (115.2 KB)
pp. 96-102

Our manifestations of culture have traditionally been irregular, particularly in the fine arts and the social sciences. That deficiency has two primary causes. First, there is the ethnic heterogeneity of our population, which means that there is not a truly national...

read more

22: The Concept of Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.1 KB)
pp. 103-107

Culture . . . civilization . . . progress. . . . What absolute or even relative value can one attribute to these terms? Overcoming the inevitable sensation of sloth that comes with the anticipation of muscular exertion, we went to leaf through the several pounds...

read more

23: Language and Our Country

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.6 KB)
pp. 108-109

Some time ago, the feasibility and convenience of purifying and standardizing the ways that we speak and write the Spanish language were discussed at great length. The attempt was laudable in that it embodied a cultural goal but was illogical and impossible...

read more

24: National Literature

pdf iconDownload PDF (73.9 KB)
pp. 110-114

These lines do not pretend to be didactic or to conceal an attempt at erudite criticism. They are a superficial attempt to present general observations about our national literature. That fatal xenophilic orientation that has prevailed in Mexico, our servile...

read more

25: Our Women

pdf iconDownload PDF (113.6 KB)
pp. 115-125

Nationals and foreigners alike unanimously praise the exceptional virtues of the Mexican woman. We no longer live in the good times when mana fell from heaven to feed the chosen peoples or when the waves of the ocean formed barriers to the passage of their...

read more

26: The National Seal

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.4 KB)
pp. 126-130

The adoption of ideographic/symbolic representations that characterize national virtues is one of the oldest of human conventions. A flag and seal synthesize what a nation is or believes itself to be. The colors of a flag symbolize the true virtues...

read more

27: Capacity for Work

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.2 KB)
pp. 131-132

The question of capital’s relationship to labor is debated in most countries, and no one has reached a satisfactory conclusion to date. Recent strikes in the United States, England, and Spain can be cited as a consequence of this difficult problem..

read more

28: Our National Industry

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.2 KB)
pp. 133-137

Whether or not we choose to emulate Leroy-Beaulieu,1 we can examine data on imports and exports in our country and see that our industry is very deficient. We have inexhaustible reserves of the metals that give life to modern industry: iron, copper, lead...

read more

29: Of Yankee and Mexican Metalism

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 138-140

We call the United States the Country of the Dollar. Ironically, these words do not refer to the proverbial wealth of that republic but to the way of being of its inhabitants, whose goals in life we unjustly consider to be unspiritual, utilitarian, and...

read more

30: Spain and the Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (85.9 KB)
pp. 141-144

I do not suffer from acute Hispanophilia. I do not come to defend Spain or her children, who do not lack pens or brains that would let them do so themselves. I am a Mexicanist. I began doing works for nationalism some time ago, and continue to do...

read more

31: Integral Education

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.3 KB)
pp. 145-147

It has often been preached that our national well-being and the greatness of the patria depend on the literacy of all Mexicans. However, we do not believe that education can produce such miracles if it is not accompanied by other complementary factors, such as the political...

read more

32: The Editorial Department

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.9 KB)
pp. 148-150

In Mexico, there are readers who are apt for the most ample and select literary production, be it European, North American, or Mexican. There is also a disappointing majority that ignores the alphabet. This apparent anomaly could be explained in many ways...

read more

33: Revolution

pdf iconDownload PDF (65.2 KB)
pp. 151-153

Revolution is not, as it was considered by medieval Catholics, a divine scourge. Nor is it the favorite means of propaganda that Satan has adopted in our times. These characterizations might be applied in the European context, where the number of victims...

read more

34: Three Nationalist Problems

pdf iconDownload PDF (126.1 KB)
pp. 154-163

The Mayas of Quintana Roo, like the Lacandónes of Chiapas, the Maya of the Petén, and a few other groups that are called savages, are indigenous people that live in almost the same state in which their ancestors were surprised...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (50.7 KB)
pp. 164

The present moments are solemn. The latest, the most intense of the revolutions that have moved the population of the republic for a century, tries to secure the conquest of national well-being. The others have...

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.9 KB)
pp. 165-171


pdf iconDownload PDF (74.2 KB)
pp. 172-176

E-ISBN-13: 9781607320418
E-ISBN-10: 160732041X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870819667
Print-ISBN-10: 0870819666

Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 5
Publication Year: 2010