The Colonizers and Their Colonized

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Virginia Tech


This study is concerned with the Self/Other dichotomy, originally formulated by scholars of South Asian history in the context of European imperialistic treatments of the peoples whom they colonized for centuries, as applied to Mexican history. I have chosen some visual, cinematic, and literary representations of indigenous and other dispossessed peoples from both colonial and post-colonial Mexico in order to gain some insights into the vision of the powerless, (the 'Other'), held by the powerful (the colonizers, whether internal or external), especially, but not exclusively, in the context of race. Some public and private works of Mexican art from the 18th , 19th. and the 20th centuries are used to understand the perceptions of the Other in Colonial Mexico City, at the time of Independence, in state-sponsored pre and post-Revolutionary spectacles representing indigenous peoples, cinematic representations of the marginalized and the dispossessed from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, and in the representation of the marginalized in the literary and photographic works of Juan Rulfo. I conclude that an ambivalent mixture co-existed in Mexican culture through the centuries, on the one hand, honoring the blending that is expressed in the word 'mestizaje', and on the other, adhering to a thoroughly Eurocentric world view. This ambivalence persisted from the 18th century through Independence and the Revolution and its aftermath, albeit in transformed '



Mexico, New Spain, Colonialism, Post-Colonialism, Self/Other, Casta Paintings, Mexican Muralists, Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, Juan Rulfo