The last week of the Palimpsest of Past and Present: Tenochtitlan/Mexico City unit
¡Adios Mexico City! It’s been a swell time. For the final week of the Mexico City unit, students studied the 1950s up to present day. On Monday, Professor of Spanish and Humanities Elizabeth Drumm lectured on Colonia Roma, the neighborhood in Mexico City where Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 film Roma is set, as well as the presidency of Miguel Alemán (1946–1952), the first civilian president following many generals involved in the Mexican Revolution. She also discussed a painting by Juan O’Gorman, Landscape of the City of Mexico, and how it moralizes geography. Lastly, she spoke on the temporal structure of the reading, which consisted of selections from José Emilio Pacheco’s Battles in the Desert and Other Stories.
On Wednesday, Professor of French and Humanities Ann Delehanty lectured on Elena Poniatowska’s Massacre in Mexico. Poniatowska was — and still is today — a prominent journalist, writer, and feminist advocate. She is best known for her “testimonial narrative” style of journalism, in which she uses facts and testimony from individuals typically overlooked by the media to create a full and personal account of an event. Massacre in Mexico utilizes this style to document the repression of the 1968 student protests in Mexico City. It focuses primarily on the Tlatelolco massacre: ten days before the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the Mexican armed forces opened fire on unarmed civilians protesting the Olympics killing hundreds. When asked about the lecture, first year Russ Foust said, “I found Ann’s lecture to be very engaging.”
For Friday, students read the “6th Declaration of Lacandon Jungle” by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (typically referred to as the Zapatistas), and selections from Subcomandante Marcos’ Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings. Assistant Professor of Spanish and Humanities Christian Kroll gave the lecture titled “The Inconvenience of Revolution: Zapatismo, Cynicism, Dignity, and Memory.” The lecture discussed the readings, the Zapatistas, and the nature of revolution.
I’m sad to say goodbye to Mexico City. From the Mexica to the murals to the manifestos, Mexico City has been fascinating, emotional, informative, and, frankly, life-changing. Due to my absolute love for this unit (and my mother’s absolute love for me), my mom and I are actually going to Mexico City over spring break to experience everything I learned in person. Hopefully, the murals are even more magical in person than on a projector screen in Vollum. See you next week for a recap of the first week of the Harlem Renaissance, and after break for the verdict on the murals!