(Note: I’ve posted comments and summaries of the texts of several books that I have had in my Master’s in Communications degree. This isn’t one of them, though it is by one the professors I have had for said degree. But it is the book I have most enjoyed reading from that academic background. I am sharing my own perspective on the book, and doubtless have missed much of the scholarly point and may even have misunderstood some of it. For the scholarly among you, I apologize for that. For the rest of you, I encourage you to read more deeply than you usually do with my “scholarly” reviews. This one is more fun, and more worth it.)
Introduction: Race, Class, Crafts, Nation
Cultural Citizenship, Cultural Production, and History in Lake Patzcuaro.
The introduction reads something like a thesis statement. I say that as someone who hasn’t read many such statements, but only has an “idealized” perception of what one sounds like.
The book is going to concentrate on production of cultural artifacts by indigenous peoples in the Lake Patzcuaro region of Mexico, and their classification and consumption by the greater art world. Does this classification free or enslave the indigenous peoples and cultures? Does it allow them to exist, or prevent them from progressing?
This introduction only has three subheadings, which makes it simple compared to other academic books I have read recently (it also makes it more readable). Heading one is: Representing and Misrepresenting the Indian: Reconversion and Racial Formation. Heading two is: National and Transnational Histories of the Traditional, the Modern, and the Global in Mexico. From both of these headings you can see the drift of the book. The question is how this cultural form represents the cultures, creating racial distinctions and proscribing what is traditional. A key concept is the creation of the “Other.”
The introduction ends by listing the six chapters of the book and giving a brief description of each.