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A Companion to Mexican Studies

A Companion to Mexican Studies

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 244
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Mexican Studies
    Book Description:

    This Companion volume traces the evolution of the major creative aspects of Mexican culture from pre-Columbian times to the present. Dealing in turn with the cultures of Mesoamerica, the colonial period, the onset of independence and the modern era, the author explores Aztec arts, the role of the performing arts in the process of evangelisation, manifestations of cultural dependence, of the search for national identity, and the struggle for modernity, drawing examples from such diverse activities as architecture, painting, music, dance, literature, film and media. There is also a brief account of the distinctive characteristics of Mexican Spanish. Maps, a chronology, a bibliographical essay and a lengthy bibliography round off this comprehensive guide, making it an indispensable research tool for those seriously interested in Mexican culture. Peter Standish is Professor of Spanish at one of the divisions of the University of North Carolina system.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-459-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. Maps
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Introduction: Limits, Definitions
    (pp. 1-6)

    Mexico is a strikingly unusual and contradictory place. Its modern culture is built upon underlying Indian civilizations, impositions from Spain and successive infusions from Europe and North America: it is a country where the ancient and the modern now coexist, sometimes in hybridized forms and sometimes awkwardly juxtaposed with one another.

    Like most other Spanish-American countries, Mexico became independent from Spain in the early nineteenth century and then began to tackle the process of establishing its own institutions and showing how it was different from other countries. Ever since then Mexico has gone out of its way to build a...

  7. 1 Mesoamerica
    (pp. 7-19)

    As early as the late sixteenth century, José de Acosta, a prescient Jesuit priest who had come to New Spain, speculated that the first inhabitants of the Americas might have migrated there from Asia across the Bering Strait, which was once a bridge between continents. It was an idea that took another three centuries to become commonplace. Nowadays, though there remains some uncertainty as to precise dates, it is widely thought that such migrations began about 50,000 years ago. It is believed that the migrants travelled south, dispersing over the great plains of the American Midwest, and reaching as far...

  8. 2 Cultures and Conquest
    (pp. 20-30)

    The arrival of Hernán Cortés in Mexican territory was no chance matter. Previous Spanish explorations along the Gulf and Caribbean coasts had generated rumours of fabulous civilizations and whetted the Spanish appetite for conquest. Cortés himself was an educated man from a comfortable background who had attended the University of Salamanca, though he abandoned his studies at the age of nineteen in order to seek a fortune in the New World. He began his colonial life as a settler in La Española (Hispaniola) and while there ingratiated himself with the future governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez. Once in Cuba, the...

  9. 3 The Colonial Period
    (pp. 31-57)

    On the site of Tenochtitlan the Spaniards constructed Mexico City. ‘Mexico’ became the popular name for it and by extension that name came to refer to all the territory that was officially known as ‘Nueva España’. This was to be the power base from which viceroys governed territories that by the late seventeenth century extended from southern Central America well into what is now the United States.¹ After the conquest of Peru, a secondvirreinatowas established in Lima, and some time later two more in Bogotá and Buenos Aires, but the viceroyalty of New Spain would always be the...

  10. 4 From Independence to the Early Twentieth Century
    (pp. 58-75)

    After the defeat of the Armada Invencible in 1588, Spain’s military power declined. It lost some of its territories in the Americas to other European countries. Its control of trade with the New World had gradually broken down, and the profits from its discoveries were going in large part to its European rivals, not least because Spain lacked the manufacturing infrastructure needed to exploit the raw materials it brought back from its colonies.¹ Haring (294–5) notes that as early as in 1608 the Consejo de Indias (the king’s chief advisory body) reported to him that two thirds of the...

  11. 5 The Revolution and Since
    (pp. 76-161)

    ThePorfiriatoand its violations of civil liberties did not go unchallenged by Mexican liberals. At San Luis Potosí they held congresses reaffirming the principles of the 1857 constitution, but persecution drove many of them to seek asylum in the United States. It was from there, in St Louis, in 1906, that the Flores Magón brothers and others issued a proclamation calling for the overthrow of Porfirio Díaz, and it was there that they resumed the publication ofRegeneración, copies of which were smuggled across the border. Francisco Madero was nominated as their candidate for the 1910 elections, but he...

  12. 6 Closing Words: Language
    (pp. 162-166)

    As is well known, the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in the middle of the fifteenth century paved the way for the unification of a reconquered Spain and the dominance of Castilian among its languages. Castilian was a language that would serve the Catholic Monarchs as an ‘imperial instrument’, as Nebrija put it. Such was the allure, such the administrative importance of Mexico that large numbers of Spaniards came to it after the conquest. However, it must be borne in mind that in the early days of colonization the linguistic unity of the peninsula was still in the making. Settlers...

  13. Conclusion: One nation?
    (pp. 167-172)

    Mexico is a puzzle, a paradox that raises all sorts of important questions. Take, for example, the position of the Indians. Prior to the conquest, the Indians did not think in terms of private property, and even these days they consider themselves as members of communities as much as they see themselves as individuals; yet many of them (indeed much of the country in general), are now desperate to acquire private means and possessions, aping US consumerism. A concomitant factor is increasing faith in the power of linear progress through change, something that is in marked contrast to the traditional...

    (pp. 173-178)
    (pp. 179-182)
    (pp. 183-190)
    (pp. 191-212)
    (pp. 213-214)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 215-225)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 226-226)