Speaker Series | Jennifer Jolly | "Creating lo típico Pátzcuaro: Architecture, Race, and Historical Preservation in 1930s Mexico"

Thursday, March 31, 2016 17:30to19:00
Arts Building W-215, 853 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3A 0G5, CA

"Creating lo típico Pátzcuaro: Architecture, Race, and Historical Preservation in 1930s Mexico"

Jennifer Jolly

Ithaca College

Bio: Jennifer Jolly is Associate Professor of Art History at Ithaca College. Professor Jolly researches the intersection of art and politics in modern Mexico.  She specializes in the work of the Mexican muralists, and has recently published on the work of David Alfaro Siqueiros and Josep Renau at the Mexican Electricians’ Syndicate.  Broader research interests include understanding the Muralists within the context of international politics of the 1930s, the intersections of art and technology, and the regional dissemination of Mexican Muralism.  Her current project investigates the art--murals, sculptures, and their architectural settings--commissioned by Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacan, Mexico, as part of a program of tourism development and national integration.

Abstract: The expression "lo típico" has served as a buzz-word in Mexico, used in the realms of tourism and historical preservation to evoke the promise of "the traditional," "the vernacular," or "the authentic."  I'll argue, however, that in the context of the 1930s, in fact this term was central to the modernization and transformation regional Mexico.  Examining the historical preservation of the town of Pátzcuaro, Michoacan, reveals that lo típico was used simultaneously as an architectural and racial term, and that it operated at the intersection of the development of the region's tourism economy and the foundations of colonial art history in Mexico. At stake in the 1930s creation of lo típico Pátzcuaro (and Mexico, more broadly) was the recasting of Mexico's racial diversity as purely rooted in indigenous and Spanish heritage, and the erasing of Mexico's "third root," or African heritage.

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