The Mexican Revolution on the World Stage: Intellectuals and Film in the Twentieth Century

SUNY Press
Free sample



Explores the wide-ranging impact of the Mexican Revolution on global cinema and Western intellectual thought.


The first major social revolution of the twentieth century, the Mexican Revolution was visually documented in technologically novel ways and to an unprecedented degree during its initial armed phase (1910–21) and the subsequent years of reconstruction (1921–40). Offering a sweeping and compelling new account of this iconic revolution, The Mexican Revolution on the World Stage reveals its profound impact on both global cinema and intellectual thought in and beyond Mexico. Focusing on the period from 1940 to 1970, Adela Pineda Franco examines a group of North American, European, and Latin American filmmakers and intellectuals who mined this extensive visual archive to produce politically engaged cinematic works that also reflect and respond to their own sociohistorical contexts. The author weaves together multilayered analysis of individual films, the history of their production and reception, and broader intellectual developments to illuminate the complex relationship between culture and revolution at the onset of World War II, during the Cold War, and amid the anti-systemic movements agitating Latin America in the 1960s. Ambitious in scope, this book charts an innovative transnational history of not only the visual representation but also the very idea of revolution.


The Mexican Revolution on the World Stage is a first-rate, thoroughly researched work that opens a new area of inquiry in the field. It reveals how the visual archive of the revolution has been locally and globally used and abused to either ascertain or contest the significance of the revolution in differing contexts and periods by delving into the ideological complexities, even paradoxes, of cultural production.” — Zuzana M. Pick, author of Constructing the Image of the Mexican Revolution: Cinema and the Archive


“This book is a vital and compelling historical analysis of the contexts and contribution international filmmakers have made to the construction of the Mexican Revolution on film. The archival research is impressive and wide-ranging.” — Niamh Thornton, author of Revolution and Rebellion in Mexican Film

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About the author

Adela Pineda Franco is Professor of Latin American Literature and Film at Boston University. She is the coeditor (with Jaime Marroquin Arredondo and Magdalena Mieri) of Open Borders to a Revolution: Culture, Politics, and Migration.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jul 23, 2019
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Pages
286
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ISBN
9781438475622
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / Mexico
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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At the beginning of the twentieth century, thousands of Japanese citizens sought new opportunities abroad. By 1910, nearly ten thousand had settled in Mexico. Over time, they found work, put down roots, and raised families. But until now, very little has been written about their lives. Looking Like the Enemy is the first English-language history of the Japanese experience in Mexico.

Japanese citizens were initially lured to Mexico with promises of cheap and productive land in Chiapas. Many of the promises were false, and the immigrants were forced to fan out across the country, especially to the lands along the US border. As Jerry García reveals, they were victims of discrimination based on “difference,” but they also displayed “markers of whiteness” that linked them positively to Europeans and Americans, who were perceived as powerful and socially advanced. And, García reports, many Mexicans looked favorably on the Japanese as hardworking and family-centered.

The book delves deeply into the experiences of the Japanese on both sides of the border during World War II, illuminating the similarities and differences in their treatment. Although some Japanese Mexicans were eventually interned (at the urging of the US government), in general the fear and vitriol that Japanese Americans encountered never reached the same levels in Mexico.

Looking Like the Enemy is an ambitious study of a tumultuous half-century in Mexico. It is a significant contribution to our understanding of the immigrant experience in the Western Hemisphere and to the burgeoning field of borderlands studies.
In the spring of 1846 James K. Polk announced that the Mexican Army had invaded United States territory and had “shed American blood upon the American soil.” This political rhetoric, as Glenn W. Price establishes in Origins of the War with Mexico: The Polk-Stockton Intrigue, is part of the myth of American innocence. It represents the “internal contradiction between professed values and patterns of action,” perpetuated by American historical writing that emphasizes national consequences of the acquisition of foreign territory and minimizes both its international significance and the importance of the diplomatic and military methods used.

A conflict with Mexico, leading to territorial expansion of the United States, was not unwanted. California was Polk’s prime objective from the beginning of his administration, and this Mexican province was to be acquired by conquest in a war initiated on the Texas-Mexican border. To this end Polk sent several agents to Texas, but the man at the center of the war intrigue was Commodore Robert F. Stockton, independently wealthy, prominent in politics, and the head of great business enterprises.

Sufficient evidence exists to substantiate in every important particular the steps in Polk’s path of intrigue: his attempts to bribe Mexican officials; his efforts to encourage revolutionary forces in the Mexican provinces; his use of the threat of force to frighten Mexico into selling California; his attempt to initiate a war by proxy through the government of Texas and Anson Jones.

If Polk was unwilling to assume responsibility for aggressive war, Stockton was not; he arrived in Galveston with a squadron of naval vessels in May of 1845, prepared to finance an army of three thousand men from his personal funds to avoid the overt involvement of the government of the United States. But, says Price, for all the internationally dangerous implications of such a maneuver, the two men who played the chief roles in the war intrigue of 1845 are representative in their written and spoken expression of faith in American righteousness of action and in the American tradition of the divine mission.

Based on extensive research into the written and spoken words of the people who were involved, directly and indirectly, in the events, this analysis (which will be considered revisionist) of the origins of the War with Mexico is the result of the kind of objective approach to national history for which the author makes a plea in his preface and conclusion and in his interpretive comments throughout the work. The historian, Price believes, “has the extraordinary advantage of being able to examine mankind from that distance and elevation and detachment which so often reveals, as it is designed to reveal, the gulf between pretension and performance.”

Over the last decade, studies of the Cold War have mushroomed globally. Unfortunately, work on Latin America has not been well represented in either theoretical or empirical discussions of the broader conflict. With some notable exceptions, studies have proceeded in rather conventional channels, focusing on U.S. policy objectives and high-profile leaders (Fidel Castro) and events (the Cuban Missile Crisis) and drawing largely on U.S. government sources. Moreover, only rarely have U.S. foreign relations scholars engaged productively with Latin American historians who analyze how the international conflict transformed the region’s political, social, and cultural life. Representing a collaboration among eleven North American, Latin American, and European historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, this volume attempts to facilitate such a cross-fertilization. In the process, In From the Cold shifts the focus of attention away from the bipolar conflict, the preoccupation of much of the so-called new Cold War history, in order to showcase research, discussion, and an array of new archival and oral sources centering on the grassroots, where conflicts actually brewed.

The collection’s contributors examine international and everyday contests over political power and cultural representation, focusing on communities and groups above and underground , on state houses and diplomatic board rooms manned by Latin American and international governing elites, on the relations among states regionally, and, less frequently, on the dynamics between the two great superpowers themselves. In addition to charting new directions for research on the Latin American Cold War, In From the Cold seeks to contribute more generally to an understanding of the conflict in the global south.

Contributors. Ariel C. Armony, Steven J. Bachelor, Thomas S. Blanton, Seth Fein, Piero Gleijeses, Gilbert M. Joseph, Victoria Langland, Carlota McAllister, Stephen Pitti, Daniela Spenser, Eric Zolov

The Mexico Reader is a vivid introduction to muchos Méxicos—the many Mexicos, or the many varied histories and cultures that comprise contemporary Mexico. Unparalleled in scope and written for the traveler, student, and expert alike, the collection offers a comprehensive guide to the history and culture of Mexico—including its difficult, uneven modernization; the ways the country has been profoundly shaped not only by Mexicans but also by those outside its borders; and the extraordinary economic, political, and ideological power of the Roman Catholic Church. The book looks at what underlies the chronic instability, violence, and economic turmoil that have characterized periods of Mexico’s history while it also celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage.

A diverse collection of more than eighty selections, The Mexico Reader brings together poetry, folklore, fiction, polemics, photoessays, songs, political cartoons, memoirs, satire, and scholarly writing. Many pieces are by Mexicans, and a substantial number appear for the first time in English. Works by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes are included along with pieces about such well-known figures as the larger-than-life revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata; there is also a comminiqué from a more recent rebel, Subcomandante Marcos. At the same time, the book highlights the perspectives of many others—indigenous peoples, women, politicians, patriots, artists, soldiers, rebels, priests, workers, peasants, foreign diplomats, and travelers.

The Mexico Reader explores what it means to be Mexican, tracing the history of Mexico from pre-Columbian times through the country’s epic revolution (1910–17) to the present day. The materials relating to the latter half of the twentieth century focus on the contradictions and costs of postrevolutionary modernization, the rise of civil society, and the dynamic cross-cultural zone marked by the two thousand-mile Mexico-U.S. border. The editors have divided the book into several sections organized roughly in chronological order and have provided brief historical contexts for each section. They have also furnished a lengthy list of resources about Mexico, including websites and suggestions for further reading.

"Drug Lord is the real thing. Raw, immediate, indispensable."—Don Winslow, author of The Power of Dog and California Fire and Life

"The [drug smuggling] business goes on, the slaughtered dead pile up, the US agencies continue to ratchet up their budgets, the prisons grow larger and all the real rules of the game are in this book, some kind of masterpiece."—Charles Bowden, from the introduction

"Pablo Acosta was a living legend in his Mexican border town of Ojinaga. He smuggled tremendous amounts of drugs into the United States; he survived numerous attempts on his power—and his life—by rivals; and he blessed the town with charity and civic improvements. He was finally slain in 1987 during a raid by Mexican officials with the cooperation of US law enforcement. Poppa has turned out a detailed and exciting book, covering in depth Acosta's life; the other drug factions that battled with him; the village of Ojinaga; and the logistics of the drug operation. The result is a nonfiction account with enough greed, treachery, shoot-outs, and government corruption to fascinate true crime and crime fiction readers alike. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

Terrence E. Poppa, an award-winning journalist, was a finalist for a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his investigations into the connection between crime and government in Mexico. He was featured in Standoff in Mexico, a PBS production about fraudulent elections in Mexico. Due to his unique insights into the world of Mexican drug trafficking, Poppa has been widely interviewed on radio and television, including Larry King Live and The O'Reilly Factor.



In an astonishing work of scholarship that reads like an adventure thriller, historian Buddy Levy records the last days of the Aztec empire and the two men at the center of an epic clash of cultures.

“I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold.” —Hernán Cortés

It was a moment unique in human history, the face-to-face meeting between two men from civilizations a world apart. Only one would survive the encounter. In 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived on the shores of Mexico with a roughshod crew of adventurers and the intent to expand the Spanish empire. Along the way, this brash and roguish conquistador schemed to convert the native inhabitants to Catholicism and carry off a fortune in gold. That he saw nothing paradoxical in his intentions is one of the most remarkable—and tragic—aspects of this unforgettable story of conquest.

In Tenochtitlán, the famed City of Dreams, Cortés met his Aztec counterpart, Montezuma: king, divinity, ruler of fifteen million people, and commander of the most powerful military machine in the Americas. Yet in less than two years, Cortés defeated the entire Aztec nation in one of the most astonishing military campaigns ever waged. Sometimes outnumbered in battle thousands-to-one, Cortés repeatedly beat seemingly impossible odds. Buddy Levy meticulously researches the mix of cunning, courage, brutality, superstition, and finally disease that enabled Cortés and his men to survive.

Conquistador is the story of a lost kingdom—a complex and sophisticated civilization where floating gardens, immense wealth, and reverence for art stood side by side with bloodstained temples and gruesome rites of human sacrifice. It’s the story of Montezuma—proud, spiritual, enigmatic, and doomed to misunderstand the stranger he thought a god. Epic in scope, as entertaining as it is enlightening, Conquistador is history at its most riveting.

Praise for Conquistador

“Prodigiously researched and stirringly told, Conquistador is a rarity: an invaluable history lesson that also happens to be a page-turning read.”—Jeremy Schaap, bestselling author of Cinderella Man: James J. Braddock, Max Baer and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History, and Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics 

“Sweeping and majestic . . . A pulse-quickening narrative.”—Neal Bascomb, author of Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin
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