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José Vasconcelos

José Vasconcelos: The Prophet of Race

Ilan Stavans
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 142
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  • Book Info
    José Vasconcelos
    Book Description:

    Mexican educator and thinker Jose Vasconcelos is to Latinos what W.E.B. Du Bois is to African Americans--a controversial scholar who fostered an alternative view of the future. InJosèVasconcelos: The Prophet of Race, his influential 1925 essay, "Mestizaje" key to understanding the role he played in the shaping of multiethnic America--is for the first time showcased and properly analyzed. Freshly translated here by John H. R. Polt, "Mestizaje" suggested that the Brown Race from Latin America was called to dominate the world, a thesis embraced by activists and scholars north and south of the Rio Grande. Ilan Stavans insightfully and comprehensively examines the essay in biographical and historical context, and considers how many in the United States, especially Chicanos during the civil rights era, used it as a platform for their political agenda. The volume also includes Vasconcelos's long-forgotten 1926 Harris Foundation Lecture at the University of Chicago, "The Race Problem in Latin America," where he cautioned the United States that rejecting mestizaje in our own midst will ultimately bankrupt the nation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5104-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xv)
  4. The Prophet of Race
    (pp. 1-44)
    Ilan Stavans

    In a letter written in Madrid dated May 25, 1921, Alfonso Reyes, man of letters and author of the classicVision of Anáhuac, considered to be the dean of Mexican intellectual life in the first half of the twentieth century (Jorge Luis Borges described Reyes as “the most accomplished stylist of the Spanish language”), gave his friend and colleague José Vasconcelos some stinging counsel. Reyes, whose lifelong impetus was to renew Mexican culture from the pithy influence of positivism, had met Vasconcelos almost a decade and a half earlier as part of an intellectual movement in Mexico City that came...

  5. Mestizaje
    (pp. 45-90)
    José Vasconcelos

    In the opinion of prominent geologists, America contains some of the most ancient regions of the world. The Andes are certainly made of material as old as any on our planet; and not only is the land ancient: the traces of life and of human culture are also of an age that exceeds all our calculations. The architectural ruins left by our fabled Mayas, Quechuas, and Toltecs are evidence of civilized life that precedes the oldest establishments of the peoples of Europe and the Orient. A growing body of research has come to support the view that Atlantis was the...

  6. The Race Problem in Latin America
    (pp. 91-112)
    José Vasconcelos

    Many theories have been advanced as to the origin of the old inhabitants of this New World. The discoveries of Professor Hrdlička, relating to strong similarities between a certain Siberian tribe and the North American red Indian, may be entirely correct, but they do not exclude the possibility of the existence of some more autochthonous stock coming from the very far south, from Patagonia, as the Peruvian legends seem to indicate.¹ Certain similarities that have often been pointed out between the Maya Quiché architecture and the Egyptian manner of building would tend to confirm the opinion of the believers in...

  7. Chronology
    (pp. 113-122)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 123-124)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 125-125)