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THIS BIENNIUM SAW THE PUBLICATION of several volumes for which scholars have been waiting for decades. Libraries will see their book budgets eaten up even more rapidly than usual, the "required reading lists" will swell, and poor professors will dig ever deeper into their pockets thanks to this happy bit of news.
Some of the supremely important studies that will seriously alter knowledge of the period include Fowler's
Santa Anna of Mexico, which situates "the man who was Mexico" in his
native Veracruz (item #bi2007002338#); Díaz y de Ovando's magisterial
Invitación al baile, a comprehensive study of social life in Mexico City during the 19th
century complete with CD-ROM (item #bi2008003860#); Cárdenas' Cuando se
originó, about as good an economic survey as anyone could wish (item #bi2008003861#); Florescano
on how art helped build national identity (item #bi2007003231#); Pilcher's depiction of the struggle to
maintain control over food (item #bi2006001740#); and Barajas (El Fisgón) on
political cartoons, also with CD-ROM (item #bi2008003872#).
For this volume, political studies far exceed those in any other field, although some reflect new themes such as Chance on Carvajal (item #bi2008002658#), Falcon and Flagler on indigenous and mestizo insurrections (items #bi2005005122# and #bi2008001500#, respectively), Gorenfeld on a possible massacre in 1848 during the war with the US (item #bi2008001085#), Luna Argudín on Congress (item #bi2008000714#), and Sordo Cedeño on elections (item #bi2007000406#), to single out a few.
The next largest group under review concerns the economy and there too we find groundbreaking efforts that will change our understanding of the period. For example, Birrichaga's comparison of water systems in Mexico City and Callao, Peru (item #bi2008000676#), Huybens et al. on copper prices in the early 20th century (item #bi2006002323#), Lau on a real empresario in Mexico City (item #bi2008003869#), Mayo on the merchants of the West coast (item #bi2008002659#), Riguzzi on how railroads affected trade policies between Mexico and the US (item #bi2008003867#), and Villalobos reflecting on how the Maya used their control of the forests to fund their insurgency (item #bi2008002656#).
Cultural history, surprisingly, has not broken as much new ground in the field as might have been expected. In lieu of biographies, well-respected scholars like Archer (item #bi2007003262#) and newcomer Esposito (item #bi2007000064#) have begun to focus on death and funeral rites. Connaughton looks at patriotic orations (item #bi2007000472#) while Beezley examines puppet shows (item #bi2008001552#) and Acevedo-Rodrigo discusses the ways in which brass bands performed civic duties in various locales (item #bi2008002634#).
Other fields to appear during the biennium include two interesting works on diplomatic history, one by Sánchez Andrés and Figueroa on Spain (item #bi2008003858#) and the other a compilation by Marichal on Mexico in the Pan American Union (item #bi2008003871#). The history of epidemics continues with Carrillo on bubonic plague on the frontier (item #bi2005004734#); Garza supplements previous work on Mexico City by looking at how the city expanded at the expense of 10 previously separate municipalities (item #bi2008000004#); and Juárez Flores examines how the need for more urban lighting led to serious ecodamage in nearby forests (item #bi2007000137#).
The minor trend of ignoring articles and books in languages other than Spanish continues in this biennium; it is to be hoped that this will diminish in importance with each passing HLAS. [BT]
The presidential elections of 2000 and 2006 helped to inspire an outpouring of works on Mexico's democratization process. Alain De Remes (item #bi2008000313#), an official in the Mexican Office of the Presidency, concludes that democratization has helped to rejuvenate federalism in the Mexican political system. Jodi Finkel sees the judicial reforms introduced by President Ernesto Zedillo as an "insurance policy" against the day that the PRI's competitors might gain power (See HLAS 63:3062). Although the lack of a congressional majority hindered both Zedillo and Fox, Rogelio Hernández Rodríguez (item #bi2008000322#) maintains that such a "divided government" did not lead to legislative paralysis, but did slow the passage of legislation. Joseph L. Klesner (item #bi2006001794#) concludes that democratization has not led to a three-party system but rather two, parallel, two-party systems in different regions of the country. Jacqueline Peschard (item #bi2008000556#) believes that the campaign reform legislation of the 1980s and 1990s made elections more honest and competitive, but that further legislation is required to deal with problems demonstrated by major scandals during the 2000 presidential elections. John Stolle- McAllister (item #bi2008000603#) uses disagreements over constructing a golf course and an airport to demonstrate the importance of diverse local communities in the democratization process, while Clifford Wirth (item #bi2008000606#) takes on Mexico City as a case study in democratization at the local level.
Regional history continued to be popular, especially in relation to the revolutionary and early post-revolutionary periods. Stephen Lewis (item #bi2006000298#) analyzes the resistance in Chiapas to efforts by the central government to "modernize" and "nationalize" the state. Alonso Domínguez Rascón (item #bi2007001473#) examines the disagreement between state and federal authorities over agrarian reform in Chihuahua in the early 1920s. Paul Gillingham (item #bi2008000320#) provides a revisionist view of the effects of Cardenist education policies in rural Guerrero, while Salvador Román Román (item #bi2007001489#) examines the troubled administration of General Raúl Caballero Aburto as governor of Guerrero from 1957 to 1961. Keith Brewster (item #bi2007000929#) provides a fascinating study of regional leader, Gabriel Barrios, who established his position as "cultural intermediary" in the key state of Puebla. Francisco Javier Gómez Carpinteiro (item #bi2007001479#) pursues the topics of political community, social space, modernization, and the development of the post-revolutionary state in Puebla during the 1920s and 1930s. David G. LaFrance (item #bi2006002157#) extends his earlier look at revolutionary Puebla to include the period from 1913 to 1920. (See HLAS 52:1186 for an annotation of his earlier study, covering 1908–1913.) In an important work, Boyer examines the evolution of the concept of campesino in Michoacán (item #bi2004003850#).
The history of immigrant groups continued to attract scholars in the last biennium. Most notable was the production of several works dealing with the presence of Spaniards in modern Mexico. Herrero Bervera examines the role of Basque businessmen in Mexico's economic development (item #bi2007001474#), while the fate of Mexico's large Spanish colony during the Revolution is the subject of studies by MacGregor (item #bi2007001477#) and Yankelevich (item #bi2008000608#). A handful of works focuses on Spaniards who sought exile in Mexico as a result of the Spanish civil war. Mateos explores the diplomatic side of this story (item #bi2005004575#), while Férrez Roure examines the writings of exiles (item #bi2006000278#). The experience of Latin American exiles during the latter part of the 20th century is the topic of an extensive study by Meyer and Salgado (item #bi2006000284#). Finally, Alfaro-Velcamp has approached, in two very different ways, the Middle Eastern presence in Mexico (items #bi2008000302# and #bi2008000303#).
There was a notable increase in scholarship focused on women. Mitchell and Schell provide an edited work that probes the relationship between women and the revolutionary era (item #bi2007001102#), while Olcott explores the notion of women and "revolutionary citizenship" (item #bi2008000555#). Porter examines the implications of women's increased presence in both the industrial and white collar workforce of the revolutionary era (item #bi2006000275#). Finally, the women's suffrage movement is the topic of a study by Tuñon (item #bi2006000292#), and Eber and Kovic have assembled a variety of writings that deal with women in contemporary Chiapas (item #bi2006000281#).
The history of the Catholic Church in Mexico continues to attract scholars. Schell (item #bi2005002390#) explores the attempts of both Church and state to shape education during the revolutionary era. Butler provides analyses of the Cristero Rebellion from the perspective of religious culture (items #bi2006000286# and #bi2008000308#). Guerra Manzo examines the "second phase" of the Cristero Rebellion (item #bi2007000125#), and Smith focuses on the attempt of one diocese to resist revolutionary changes (item #bi2007000369#). The response of American Catholics to Mexico's Church-state conflict is the topic of a study by Redinger (item #bi2006000452#), Espinosa probes the efforts of Catholic students to resist revolutionary reform (item #bi2008000318#), Pacheco Hinojosa provides a study of the Church in the post-revolutionary era (item #bi2007001484#), and Hartch examines the attempt of the Mexican government to support the work of Protestant missionaries as a counter to the Catholic Church (item #bi2006002249#). [DC and SP]