Electrifying Mexico: Cultural Responses to a New Technology, 1880s-1960s
AdvisorBeezley, William H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 25-Dec-2015
AbstractElectricity played a central role in imagining and crafting Mexico's path to modernity from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Since the late 19th century, Mexican officials pursued the goals of order and progress, enrolling science and technology to help rationalize and modernize the nation, its economy, and society. The electrification of the country's capital was seen as a crucial step in bringing it to the level of modern European and American cities. Electricity as a primary engine of modern society permeated all aspects of life traversing histories of the city, transportation, labor, business, engineering, women, agriculture, medicine, death, public celebrations, nightlife, advertising, literature, architecture, to name a few. Taking technology as an extension of human lives, I argue that in their everyday life, in public and private spaces, government officials, technocrats, lawyers, doctors, business owners, housewives and ordinary citizens both sold and consumed electricity. They did so by crafting a discourse for an electrified future; and by shaping how the new technology was to be used. I examine newspapers, cookbooks, novels, women's magazines, traveler's accounts, memoirs, poems, songs, court, government and company records to show how by debating, embracing, rejecting, appropriating and transforming this technology, Mexicans actively shaped their country's quest for modernity.
Degree ProgramGraduate College