Between the Maya and the Mexican Revolution: Mestizo Politics and the New Peonage in Yucatan, 1920-1933

Between the Maya and the Mexican Revolution: Mestizo Politics and the New Peonage in Yucatan, 1920-1933

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Venue: 
Latin American Centre Seminar Room
Speaker(s): 
Ben Fallaw, Colby College
Convenor: 
Professor Alan Knight

Bartolomé García Correa (1893-1978) was Yucatán’s first mestizo (mixed race) governor (1930-33), co-founded Mexico’s long-ruling P.R.I. (1928-2000, 2012-?), and was ranked among the Revolution’s Socialist Millionaires.  Although he and other middle class mestizos displaced the Porfirian plantocracy in the name of the Revolution, Yucatan’s Maya majority remained for the most part marginalized, impoverished, and unschooled during the bartolista era (1925-37). My study of García combines ethnobiography, a historical analysis of Yucatan’s henequen monocrop economic, and a critique of revolutionary indigenism--valorization of the ancient Maya and acculturation of their descendants through Spanish-only education, Western material culture, and commercial forestry and farming. I focus on a key part of García’s mestizo politics: the postrevolutionary reconstruction of the henequen plantation and reinstitution of de-facto peonage to extract wealth through taxation, corruption, and rents in the form of labor monopolies and clandestine alcohol sales.

Photo: Professor B. Garcia Correa from Wikipedia Commons. Unsourced.