The Mestizo State: Reading Race in Modern Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Mexico, Monographs on 2013-06-25 18:09Z by Steven

The Mestizo State: Reading Race in Modern Mexico

University of Minnesota Press
June 2012
248 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-5637-0
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-5636-3

Joshua Lund, Associate Professor of Spanish
University of Pittsburgh

The Mestizo State examines how the ideas, images, and public discourse around race, nation, and citizen formation have been transformed in Mexico from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Starting with the Porfiriato, Joshua Lund investigates the rise of a racialized “mestizo state,” its reinvention after the Mexican Revolution, and its mobilization as a critical lever that would act both on behalf of and against mainstream Mexican political culture during the long hegemony of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

Lund takes race as his object of critical reflection in the context of modern Mexico. An analysis that does not confuse race with mestizaje, indigeneity, African identity, or whiteness, the book sheds light on the history of the materialism of race as it unfolds within the cultural production of modern Mexico, grounded on close readings of four writers whose work explicitly challenged the politics of race in Mexico: Luis Alva, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Rosario Castellanos, and Elena Garro.

In seeking to address race as a cultural-political problematic, Lund considers race as integral to the production of the materiality of Mexican national history: constitutive of the nation form, a mediator of capitalist accumulation, and a central actor in the rise of modernity.


  • Introduction: The Mestizo State
  • 1. Colonization and Indianization in Liberal Mexico: The Case of Luis Alva
  • 2. Altamirano’s Burden
  • 3. Misplaced Revolution: Rosario Castellanos and the Race War
  • 4. Elena Garro and the Failure of Alliance
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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