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Mexico, From Mestizo to Multicultural
National Identity and Recent Representations of the Conquest

Author(s): Carrie C. Chorba

In Mexico, the confluence of the 1992 Quincentennial commemoration of Columbus's voyages and the neo-liberal sexenio, or presidency, of Carlos Salinas de Gortari spurred artistic creations that capture the decade like no other source does. In the 1990s, Mexican artists produced an inordinate number of works that revise and rewrite the events of the sixteenth-century conquest and colonization. These works and their relationship to, indeed their mirroring of, the intellectual and cultural atmosphere in Mexico during the Salinas presidency are of paramount importance if we are to understand the subtle but deep shifts within Mexico's national identity that took place at the end of the last century.

Throughout the twentieth century, the post-revolutionary Mexican State had used mestizaje as a symbol of national unity and social integration. By the end of the millennium, however, Mexico had gone from a PRI-dominated, economically protectionist nation to a more democratic, economically globalizing one. More importantly, the homogenizing, mestizophile national identity that pervaded Mexico throughout the past century had given way to official admission of Mexico's ethnic and linguistic diversity--or 'pluriculture' according to President Salinas's 1992 constitutional revision.

This book is the first interdisciplinary study of literary, cinematic, and graphic images of Mexican national identity in the 1980s and '90s. Discussing, in depth, writings, films, and cartoons from a vast array of contemporary sources, Carrie C. Chorba creates a social history of this important shift.

Biography of Author(s)

Carrie C. Chorba is an associate professor of Spanish at Claremont McKenna College.


  • Chorba has written a significant and timely manuscript. The most significant book to date on the Salinas government.
    --William Beezley, University of Arizona
  • excellent examination of identity politics in Mexico.
    --A Contra corriente
  • In this useful monograph for historians, fans of literary criticism, and students of modern Mexico, Chorba illuminates the fluidity of national identity.
    --Hispanic American Historical Review
  • Chorba's book will be of great interest to scholars of Mexican literature and culture because it tackles a big subject--the question of national identity that has been at the heart of the country's most significant intellectual debates at least since the time of the Revolution of 1910. This combination of meticulous scholarly research and high critical acumen makes this absorbing study both very informative and fun to read.
    --Maarten van Delden, Rice University
  • "Chorba's interdisciplinary study is refreshing and astute."
    --Bulletin of Spanish Studies