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Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910-1950$
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Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636405

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636405.001.0001

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Mexican Indigenismo and the International Fraternity of Science

Mexican Indigenismo and the International Fraternity of Science

(p.29) 1 Mexican Indigenismo and the International Fraternity of Science
Science and Politics of Race in Mexico and the United States, 1910-1950

Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt

University of North Carolina Press

Mexican racial science developed in close relation to foreign scholars and institutions including Corrado Gini of Italy, a proponent of Latin eugenics, Franz Boas, the Carnegie Institution in Washington, the international eugenics movement, and the Pan-American child welfare movement. Along with the mobilization of rural peoples during the Mexican Revolution, growing international interest in Mexico and the international eugenics movement galvanized Mexican indigenismo, the state-sponsored movement championing the nation’s indigenous heritage. This chapter focuses on Manuel Gamio, who founded Mexico’s Dirección de Antropología and worked in the powerful Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP). Gamio conveyed Mexican social science abroad and foreign social science to Mexico. He attempted to create a social science that was both “Mexican” and modern, but found it hard to delineate a modernity that could accommodate Mexico’s demographic heterogeneity. Gamio creatively reconciled Mexico’s demographic characteristics with liberal universalism and scientific rationality, yet still suffered the intellectual imperialism and condescension of his U.S. counterparts.

Keywords:   Manuel Gamio, Eugenics, Demography, Indigenismo, Franz Boas, Corrado Gini, Dirección de Antropología, Secretaría de Educación Pública, Child welfare, Intellectual imperialism

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