Mexican writers have repeatedly used the life of La Malinche as a vehicle for their reflections on the question of Mexican national identity. This has resulted in a tradition of ahistorical and unduly theological readings of Mexican history which presents La Malinche either as traitor to or symbolical mother of a nation that did not in fact come into being until several centuries after his death. With the help of Michael André Bernstein and Gary Saul Morson's work on closed and open narratives, this article reads two recent works on La Malinche, in order to determine to what extent they reiterate traditional views of La Malinche's role in Mexican history. Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda's play La Malinche deploys postmodernist techniques of anachronism and pastiche, but nevertheless reinserts La Malinche into the standard master narrative of the Mexican nation. Marisol Martín del Campo's novel Amor y conquista mixes painstaking historical reconstruction with the overt fictionalizing of the past, and succeeds in capturing a sense of uncertainty and openness of the story of La Malinche's life.
From a standpoint of what "photohistory" out to be, this article critiques the major book series on the historia gráfica (graphic history) of Mexico that have appeared in that country since 1920s. It begins with those produced by the Casasola Archive, Historia gráfica de Revolución mexicana (Graphic history of the Mexican Revolution) and Seis siglos de historia gráfica de México (Six Centuries of Mexican Graphic History). It then proceeds to comment on the more recent series subsidized by the Mexican government during the 1980s and early 1990s: Memoria y olvido (Memory and Forgetting), Así fue la Revolución mexicana (This was the Mexican revolution), Biografía del poder (Biography of Power), Historia Gráfica de México (Graphic History of Mexico), and Veracruz: Imágenes de su historia (Veracruz: Images of its History). The article argues that historias gráficas have been fundamental to the representation of Mexico's pas, but that they have rarely been carried out with the rigor necessary to construct real "photohistories."
Revueltas, José, 1914-1976. Apuntes para un ensayo sobre la dialéctica de la conciencia.
José Revueltas devoted much of his time spent in the Lecumberri prison of Mexico City, where he was incarcerated for is alleged role as an intellectual instigator behind the student-popular movement of 1968, reflecting on the role of the dialectic in the wake of Hegel and Marx. Especially in the two collections of essays, diar entreries and personal reading notes published posthumously as Dialéctica de la conciencia (Dialectic of the Consciousness) and México 68: Juventud y Revolución (Mexico 68: Youth and Revolution), Revueltas develops an original framework for the understanding of social consciousness in a tense struggle with its intrinsic outside—the unconscious, negativity, or madness pure and simple. Key to this renewal of the materialist dialectic is the notion of a collective and nearly ontological reserve of popular uprisings, the memory of which can be awakened in those rare and profound theoretical "acts," such as the 1968 movements, that mark the political history of the Left in Mexico.
Héctor Aguilar Camín's Morir en el golfo (Dying in the gulf) and La guerra de Galio (Gallio's War) are two superb political novels whose basic strategy borders on what Roberto Esposito would call the "unpolitic." In these two texts literature is at the service of the political in the sense of claiming a radical privilege to exist "democratically," which means, to be able to think the possibility of a decision beyond every pragmatic or "political" reason. One could even talk of an infrapolitical or non-militant decision, upon which Aguilar Camín makes the very possibility of a radically anti-utopian writing depend. One should talk about these novels as examples of a literature against civilizing elites, infrequent in a cultural context that still oscillates between the two sides of Sarmientism, and that can only endlessly redefine the dualism between civilization and barbarism without ever displacing it.
Chiapas (Mexico) -- History -- Peasant Uprising, 1994-
The January 1, 1994 Mayan uprising in Chiapas led by the Ejército Zapatista de Leberación Nacional (Zapatista Army of National Liberation, or EZLN) and the ten years of struggle that have ensued since then are a key chapter in the long, fraught history of the Mexican nation's relationship to its indigenous populations. The chronicles written by Mexican journalists since 1994 about the EZLN and its spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos are an important part of the interpretive record that writes and rewrites history as it unfolds. This essay looks at chronicles by Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Ponitowaska, Juan Villoro, and Alma Guillermoprieto, and asks how they inscribe the figure of Marcos into a broader cultural narrative in which the motifs of masks, theatricality, and spectacle are frequently employed in debates ove the "national character" and over the role of messianic leadership in Mexican Politics. I also show that the texts under study resonate with Octavio Paz's seminal essay The Labyrinth of Solitude and challenge its thesis in important ways.
Chiapas (Mexico) -- History -- Peasant Uprising, 1994-
Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (Mexico)
Nationalism -- Mexico.
Tourism -- Mexico.
This essay examines the conflation of various practices of tourism, such as eco-tourism and so-called "revolutionary tourism," surrounding the EZLN and the indigenous groups that they represent. Both eco-tourism and revolutionary tourism seek authentic versions of indigenous difference, yet they also carry the threat that such difference will fracture the myth of Mexican national unity. It is precisely this indigenous difference that both thrills and repels the tourist, and by extension, the Mexican state. While the Mexican state manipulates the idea of tourism in order to delegitimize neo-Zapatismo, the EZLN symbolically reclaims the power of political praxis by utilizing tourism as a rhetorical device to represent and analyze the construction of national and indigenous identity. I argue that the EZLN's mock tourist guides and travel narratives demonstrate the confluence and inversion of supposedly "non-modern" and "modern" temporalities, in which both the nation-state and indigenous groups alternately appropriate and reject official national discourse and stereotypically authentic indigenous identity. As such, tourism becomes a space not to access potential national unity, but rather to rewrite the terms of indigenous difference and national inclusion.
Villalobos, José Pablo.
Ramírez-Pimienta, Juan Carlos.
Ballads, Spanish -- Mexico -- History and criticism.
Tigres del Norte (Musical group)
The Mexican ballad, or corrido is often considered a genre that expresses the notion of "truth" as perceived by its authors and consumers. This essay offers a reading of the corrido that denies this idea of transparency while looking at what the corrido itself contributes to its own definition. First we look at various popular conceptions of what the corrido is thought to accomplish, then we offer an analysis of the self-referential ballad by Los Tigres del Norte aptly titled "El corrido." It is here that, when coupled with instances of metafictional commentary found in other ballads, the breakdown and contradiction of the corrido as vessel of memory shows its own internal fissures. Once this inconsistency is established, we focus on the most popular and conflictive sub-genre of the Mexican ballad, the narco-ballad or narcocorrido. By interpreting the lyrics of various narcocoriddos, we further underscore how this musical form breaks with the journalistic fact finding discourse found in traditional corridos. The concluding section looks to testimonial writing as a comparable genre that is also framed in truth claims in order to establish a hypothetical response to the need for believing the corrido as repository of truth.
Our analysis of Y tu mama también foregrounds contemporary tendencies of transnational cinematic production, the history of film production in Mexico, and the recent political and economic transformations of the Mexican nation-state. We demonstrate how Cuarón's film share certain cinematic traits, such as an emphasis on contingency and coincidence, with other successful international co-productions and how it responds specifically to national concerns. Our analysis of the film's production context also addresses the history of the state support for cinema in Mexico. In our interpretation of the film's form and content, we focus on its use of a disembodied male voice-over as well as its portrayal of gender roles and homosexuality. We argue that the film ultimately reinforces a conventional, oppressive representation of Mexican society, foreclosing upon its potentially progressive narrative trajectories. Though Cuarón's film is definitely a product of globalized era of film production, it exhibits we conclude, a marked nostalgia for a more properly national framework for defining Mexico.