Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with Great Reads

¡Viva México! Today is Mexican
Independence Day. Check out Duke University Press’s books on the history of the revolution:

Once and futureJust out this fall, Mexico's Once and Future Revolution is a concise, teachable exploration of the revolution's causes, dynamics, consequences,
and legacies. Gilbert M. Joseph and Jürgen Buchenau do so from varied perspectives, including those of
campesinos and workers; politicians, artists, intellectuals, and students;
women and men; the well-heeled, the dispossessed, and the multitude in the
middle. For a vivid introduction to muchos Méxicos—the many Mexicos, or
the many varied histories and cultures that comprise contemporary Mexico—pick
up The Mexico Reader, also by Gilbert
M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson. Written for the traveler, student,
and expert alike, the collection looks at what underlies the chronic
instability, violence, and economic turmoil that have characterized periods of
Mexico’s history while it also celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Duke offers more collections that
continue expanding our understanding of the revolution. Sex in
Sex in revRevolution
, by Jocelyn Olcott, Mary Kay Vaughan, and
Gabriela Cano, is a collection of histories showing how women participated in
Mexican revolutionary and postrevolutionary state formation. These essays demonstrate how
women seized opportunities created by modernization efforts and revolutionary
upheaval to contest conventions of sexuality, work, family life, religious
practices, and civil rights. In Elisa Servin, Leticia Reina,
and John Tutino’s, Cycles of Conflict, Centuries
of Change
, leading Mexicanists
examine the cycles of crisis and reform that have defined Mexican history since
the late eighteenth century. This important collection of essays explores how
Mexico’s tumultuous past informs its uncertain present and future.

Other works explore
popular participation in the revolution. Another
collection, Everyday Forms of State Formation, by Gilbert M. Joseph
and Daniel Nugent, is the first book to
systematically examine the relationship between popular cultures and state
formation in revolutionary and post-revolutionary Mexico. While most accounts
have emphasized either the role of peasants and peasant rebellions or
that of state formation in Mexico’s past, these original essays reveal the
state’s day-to-day engagement with grassroots society by examining popular
cultures and forms of the state simultaneously and in relation to one another. In Popular
Movements and State Formation in Revolutionary Mexico
, Jennie Purnell reconsiders
peasant partisanship in the cristiada of 1926–29, one episode in the
broader Mexican Revolution and the last
Purnell major popular rebellion in Mexican
history. Rather than viewing the cristeros (supporters of the Church) as
victims of false consciousness or as religious fanatics, as others have done,
Purnell shows that their motivations—as well as the motivations of the agraristas
(supporters of the revolutionary state)—stem from local political conflicts
that began decades, and sometimes centuries, before the Revolution.

WormIn The Worm in the Wheat, Timothy J.
Henderson recounts the story of Rosalie Evans, a woman who lost her life
defending her Mexican hacienda in defiance of confiscation decrees. This
dramatic narrative is a compelling tale of political intrigue, violence,
shifting allegiances, extreme poverty, and the recalcitrance of one woman.

We hope you enjoy celebrating El Grito Duke Press-style, with some fascinating reading!

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