Gramática de la redención : genealogía de las lógicas discursivas del indigenismo en México

Carrasco, Rene, Ph. D.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

In my dissertation I analyze representative moments and canonical instances throughout Mexican history of what I designate indigenista discourse, which describes different articulations of conceptions on and about indigenous subjects and their world whose primary function was the aesthetic, political, and ideological construction of cultural and racial difference from the colonial period to the late XX century in Mexico. I work with a large variety of texts such as histories, autos sacramentales, letters, communiqués, among others. It is my contention that the indigenista discourse creates a discursive matrix that articulates: 1) a reinterpretation of the Amerindian historical past; 2) a representation of the Amerindian “current” situation; and 3) a prescription for Amerindian subjects to achieve what the political, economical, social and cultural hegemonic group in question perceives as “redemption”—a matrix that informs both colonialism and modernity in Latin America, but particularly in Mexican cultural history. Since its first articulations, indigenismo has been a discourse on and about the indigenous populations of Mexico, speaking on their behalf in some instances while condemning them in others. It is my contention that a study on indigenismo will reveal more about eurocentrism and the construction of western identities and subjectivities than about the indigenous people themselves. I examine representative texts of early modern Mexican literature—from the Discovery to the Enlightenment— as well as Emancipation era writings, early XX century texts dealing with Nation-building projects, and Zapatista communiqués as key instances of indigenista discourse that were instrumental in conceptualizing the indigenous and their world Given the variety of the written material covered in the study—histories, autos sacramentales, letters, communiqués, among others—I use an interdisciplinary approach which combines the theoretical tools of historiography, anthropology, cultural and literary theory, and discourse analysis. My dissertation brings into play the existing debates about identity formation, Eurocentrism, and race in Latin America, namely the connections between multiple forms of indigenista discourse in the literature produced in Mexico. My study, by analyzing and interpreting conceptual procedures such as the re-interpretation of Amerindian past, the appropriation of Amerindian present, and what I call the “prescription” for Amerindian “redemption”, contributes to the existing theorization of racism, colonialism, ethnocentrism, and modernity in Latin American literature.