A Companion to Mexican History and Culture

A Companion to Mexican History and Culture

A Companion to Mexican History and Culture

A Companion to Mexican History and Culture


A Companion to Mexican History and Culture features 40 essays contributed by international scholars that incorporate ethnic, gender, environmental, and cultural studies to reveal a richer portrait of the Mexican experience, from the earliest peoples to the present.
  • Features the latest scholarship on Mexican history and culture by an array of international scholars
  • Essays are separated into sections on the four major chronological eras
  • Discusses recent historical interpretations with critical historiographical sources, and is enriched by cultural analysis, ethnic and gender studies, and visual evidence
  • The first volume to incorporate a discussion of popular music in political analysis

This book is the receipient of the 2013 Michael C. Meyer Special Recognition Award from the Rocky Mountain Conference on Latin American Studies.


This Companion recounts approximations. Here is the explanation: The Mexican experience, the lived history and culture of the peoples who have occupied and still occupy this land of diverse geography, biology, and ethnicity, has been recorded in captivating visual, aural, oral, glyphic, and written narratives. Modern historians have successfully recuperated only some of these rich, provocative, and dramatic accounts, usually with an emphasis on the rise of governing systems and their fall accompanied by destruction, death, and disappearance. Nevertheless, their remnants and glimmers become the echoes and ghosts that can be used to recreate an estimation of these past societies.

Approximations of the life that no longer exists are the best that can be accomplished, so that differences of opinion and interpretation abound about the appropriate emphasis, interpretation, and individuals. These differences themselves are fascinating, as they demonstrate the ancient Hindu story of the blind men and the elephant. In a delightful nineteenth-century poem about them, John Godfrey Saxe begins

It was six men of Hindustan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

Once he had described each effort at description and identification, Saxe concluded with a strophe about the debates:

And so these men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong.

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