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Culture, Politics, and National Identity in Mexican Literature and Film, 1929-1952


Anne T. Doremus

From 1929 to 1952 Mexico underwent a period of intense nationalism as the state, newly emerging from the Mexican Revolution, sought to legitimize itself, consolidate its institutions, and promote economic growth. As a consequence, these years also witnessed a fervent search for national self-awareness in the cultural sphere. This work contrasts constructions of national identity in some of the most renowned literary works of the period with those in some of the most popular films, revealing their distinct functions within the nationalist project. It demonstrates that in spite of their striking dissimilarities, articulations of a Mexican consciousness in these two mediums were complementary within the framework of nationalism, as they satisfied and shaped the interests and desires of distinct sectors of Mexican society.


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Glossary 185


Glossary campesino: peasant; poor farmworker caudillo: strongman; political boss, leader charro: horseman, cowboy; hacendado (wealthy landowner) comedia ranclzera: a film genre that idealized life on the landed estates, or haciendas, during the porfiriato. It became extremely popular in Mexico and all over Latin America from the mid 1930s to the end of the 1940s. creole: a person born in Latin America, but of Spanish extraction ejido: an indigenous form of organization in which land is owned by the entire village and farmed either communally or individually hacienda: a large privately owned estate, traditionally organized to function as a self-contained unit; it paid its workers minimally and often maintained them through a system of debt peonage mesti:aje: crossbreeding; miscegenation mesti:o: of mixed Spanish and indigenous descent; half-breed, mixed race modernity: the experience of living in a society characterized by rapid change. It is brought about by "modernization", the process which includes the industrialization of production, technological and scientific discoveries and urbanization. 186 pachuco: the lower class Mexican migrant to the large cities of the southwestern United States. He was featured not only in the "Tin Tan" movies but also in Octavia Paz's Ellaberinto de La soledad. pelado: the poor immigrant to Mexico City, who was of partial indigenous descent poiftriato: the regime under Porfirio Dfaz pueblo: people; country; nation soldadera: female revolutionary; she fulfilled the domestic needs of the male revolutionaries, and also sometimes fought in battles alongside the men

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