La Raza Cosmética: Beauty, Race, and Indigeneity in Revolutionary Mexico
MetadataShow full item record
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 13-May-2018
AbstractThis dissertation traces the creation of identity, race, and gender ideals during a period of heightened nationalism in Mexico from 1920 through 1946. In hopes of reestablishing stability and prosperity following a decade of Revolutionary warfare, an enterprising group of mid-level bureaucrats, artists, and intellectuals devoted themselves to the creation of a unified national identity. This period of nation building coincided with a boom in visual technologies, thus popular visual culture became an important site for articulating and disseminating new nationalist ideals to the masses. Women were positioned as the ideal conduits for disseminating national identity to the masses and they increasingly bore symbols that wed Indigenous heritage with Mestizo identity in popular culture depictions. Analyzing this nation building process through the lens of beauty as it was mediated through pageants, film, photography, and other ephemera allows for insight into the construction of gendered, racialized identity ideals. While much of this visual discourse was trafficked in the realm of ideas and ephemera, it was also very much based in place. This dissertation analyzes how these projects both shaped and were influenced by efforts to modernize and preserve sites of living Aztec memory in Mexico City. Examination of this identity project in place allows for glimpses of myriad counter-narratives in which Indigenous peoples strategically engaged with and resisted imposed race and gender ideals. Finally, this dissertation considers how the Revolutionary-era conflation of race and culture laid the foundation for a contemporary multiculturalism that discursively elides the existence of widespread inequity and structural racism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College