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The Black and White Rainbow
Reconciliation, Opposition, and Nation-Building in Democratic South Africa
Carolyn E. Holmes
University of Michigan Press, 2020
Nation-building imperatives compel citizens to focus on what makes them similar and what binds them together, forgetting what makes them different. Democratic institution building, on the other hand, requires fostering opposition through conducting multiparty elections and encouraging debate. Leaders of democratic factions, like parties or interest groups, can consolidate their power by emphasizing difference. But when held in tension, these two impulses—toward remembering difference and forgetting it, between focusing on unity and encouraging division—are mutually constitutive of sustainable democracy.

Based on ethnographic and interview-based fieldwork conducted in 2012–13, The Black and White Rainbow: Reconciliation, Opposition, and Nation-Building in Democratic South Africa explores various themes of nation- and democracy-building, including the emotional and banal content of symbols of the post-apartheid state, the ways that gender and race condition nascent nationalism, the public performance of nationalism and other group-based identities, integration and sharing of space, language diversity, and the role of democratic functioning including party politics and modes of opposition. Each of these thematic chapters aims to explicate a feature of the multifaceted nature of identity-building, and link the South African case to broader literatures on both nationalism and democracy.

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Despite Cultures
Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan
Botakoz Kassymbekova
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016
Despite Cultures examines the strategies and realities of the Soviet state-building project in Tajikistan during the 1920s and 1930s. Based on extensive archival research, Botakoz Kassymbekova analyzes the tactics of Soviet officials at the center and periphery that produced, imitated, and improvised governance in this Soviet southern borderland and in Central Asia more generally. She shows how the tools of violence, intimidation, and coercion were employed by Muslim and European Soviet officials alike to implement Soviet versions of modernization and industrialization.
    In a region marked by ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, the Soviet plan was to recognize these differences while subsuming them within the conglomerate of official Soviet culture. As Kassymbekova reveals, the local ruling system was built upon an intricate network of individuals, whose stated loyalty to communism was monitored through a chain of command that stretched from Moscow through Tashkent to Dushanbe/Stalinabad. The system was tenuously based on individual leaders who struggled to decipher the language of Bolshevism and maintain power through violent repression.

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Empire in Denial
The Politics of State-Building
David Chandler
Pluto Press, 2006
In the 1990s, interventionist policies challenged the rights of individual states to self-governance. Today, non-Western states are more likely to be feted by international institutions offering programs of poverty-reduction, democratization and good governance. States without the right to self-government will always lack legitimate authority. The international policy agenda focuses on bureaucratic mechanisms, which can only institutionalize divisions between the West and the non-West and are unable to overcome the social and political divisions of post-conflict states. Highlighting the dangers of current policy—including the redefinition of sovereignty, and the subsequent erosion of ties linking power and accountability—David Chandler offers a critical look at state-building that will be of interest to all students of international affairs.

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Exiting the Fragility Trap
Rethinking Our Approach to the World’s Most Fragile States
David Carment
Ohio University Press, 2019

State fragility is a much-debated yet underinvestigated concept in the development and international security worlds. Based on years of research as part of the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy project at Carleton University, Exiting the Fragility Trap marks a major step toward remedying the lack of research into the so-called fragility trap. In examining the nature and dynamics of state transitions in fragile contexts, with a special emphasis on states that are trapped in fragility, David Carment and Yiagadeesen Samy ask three questions: Why do some states remain stuck in a fragility trap? What lessons can we learn from those states that have successfully transitioned from fragility to stability and resilience? And how can third-party interventions support fragile state transitions toward resilience?

Carment and Samy consider fragility’s evolution in three state types: countries that are trapped, countries that move in and out of fragility, and countries that have exited fragility. Large-sample empirical analysis and six comparative case studies—Pakistan and Yemen (trapped countries), Mali and Laos (in-and-out countries), and Bangladesh and Mozambique (exited countries)—drive their investigation, which breaks ground toward a new understanding of why some countries fail to see sustained progress over time.


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Good Fences, Bad Neighbors
Border Fixity and International Conflict
Boaz Atzili
University of Chicago Press, 2011

Border fixity—the proscription of foreign conquest and the annexation of homeland territory—has, since World War II, become a powerful norm in world politics. This development has been said to increase stability and peace in international relations. Yet, in a world in which it is unacceptable to challenge international borders by force, sociopolitically weak states remain a significant source of widespread conflict, war, and instability.

In this book, Boaz Atzili argues that the process of state building has long been influenced by external territorial pressures and competition, with the absence of border fixity contributing to the evolution of strong states—and its presence to the survival of weak ones. What results from this norm, he argues, are conditions that make internal conflict and the spillover of interstate war more likely. Using a comparison of historical and contemporary case studies, Atzili sheds light on the relationship between state weakness and conflict. His argument that under some circumstances an international norm that was established to preserve the peace may actually create conditions that are ripe for war is sure to generate debate and shed light on the dynamics of continuing conflict in the twenty-first century.


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Julius Nyerere
Paul Bjerk
Ohio University Press, 2017

With vision, hard-nosed judgment, and biting humor, Julius Nyerere confronted the challenges of nation building in modern Africa. Constructing Tanzania out of a controversial Cold War union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Nyerere emerged as one of independent Africa’s most influential leaders. He pursued his own brand of African socialism, called Ujamaa, with unquestioned integrity, and saw it profoundly influence movements to end white minority rule in Southern Africa. Yet his efforts to build a peaceful nation created a police state, economic crisis, and a war with Idi Amin’s Uganda. Eventually—unlike most of his contemporaries—Nyerere retired voluntarily from power, paving the way for peaceful electoral transitions in Tanzania that continue today.

Based on multinational archival research, extensive reading, and interviews with Nyerere’s family and colleagues, as well as some who suffered under his rule, Paul Bjerk provides an incisive and accessible biography of this African leader of global importance. Recognizing Nyerere’s commitment to participatory government and social equality while also confronting his authoritarian turns and policy failures, Bjerk offers a portrait of principled leadership under the difficult circumstances of postcolonial Africa.


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Libya After Qaddafi
Lessons and Implications for the Future
Christopher S. Chivvis
RAND Corporation, 2014
The 2011 overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi by internationally backed rebel groups has left Libya’s new leaders with a number of post-conflict challenges, including establishing security, building political and administrative institutions, and restarting the economy. This report assesses these challenges, the impact of the limited international role in efforts to overcome them, and possible future roles for the international community.

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Lifting the Fog of Peace
How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War
Janine Davidson
University of Michigan Press, 2011

"Lifting the Fog of Peace is a captivating study of an agile and adaptive military evolving through the chaos of the post-9/11 world. In what is certain to be regarded as the definitive analysis of the reshaping of American combat power in the face of a complex and uncertain future, Dr. Janine Davidson firmly establishes herself as a rising intellectual star in government and politics. A thoroughly captivating study of organizational learning and adaptation—a 'must read' for leaders in every field."
---LTG William B. Caldwell, IV, Commanding General, NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan

"In Lifting the Fog of Peace, Dr. Janine Davidson explains how the American military has adapted itself to succeed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are the most likely future face of combat. The book is informed by her experience of these wars in the Department of Defense, where she now plays a critical role in continuing the process of learning that has so visibly marked the military's performance in today's wars. Highly recommended."
---John A. Nagl, President, Center for a New American Security

"Janine Davidson’s Lifting the Fog of Peace is a superb, concise, and well-written book that makes important contributions in three areas. It advances our knowledge of organizational learning in the Armed Forces. It also accurately captures the rich post-Vietnam operational and doctrinal history of the Army and the Marine Corps. The simplistic cartoon of dim-witted generals fixated on the Fulda Gap is replaced here by a more accurate version, where engaged senior officers studied the security environment, absorbed important lessons, and began to improve the learning capacity of the military services. Finally, Lifting the Fog of Peace assesses the state of contemporary stability operations and what must be done to further prepare our Armed Forces for modern war on the low end of the spectrum of conflict. It will be a 'must read' on the E-Ring of the Pentagon and in security studies programs across the nation."
---Joseph J. Collins, Professor, National War College, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations

Counterinsurgency and stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are only the most recent examples of the U.S. Armed Forces fighting insurgents, building infrastructure, enforcing laws, and governing cities. For more than two centuries, these assignments have been a regular part of the military's tasks; yet until recently the lessons learned from the experiences have seldom been formally incorporated into doctrine and training. As a result, each generation of soldiers has had to learn on the job.

Janine Davidson traces the history of the U.S. military's involvement in these complex and frustrating missions. By comparing the historical record to the current era, Davidson assesses the relative influence of organizational culture and processes, institutional structures, military leadership, and political factors on the U.S. military's capacity to learn and to adapt. Pointing to the case of Iraq, she shows that commanders serving today have benefited at the tactical level from institutional changes following the Vietnam War and from the lessons of the 1990s. Davidson concludes by addressing the question of whether or not such military learning, in the absence of enhanced capabilities and capacity in other U.S. government agencies, will be sufficient to meet the complex challenges of the 21st century.

Janine Davidson, a former Air Force pilot, is a professor of national security at George Mason University, currently serving in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans.

The views presented in this book are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense or its Components.


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A Motorcycle on Hell Run
Tanzania, Black Power, and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964–1974
Seth M. Markle
Michigan State University Press, 2017
Between 1964 and 1974 Tanzania came to be regarded as a model nation and a leading frontline state in the struggle for African liberation on the continent and beyond. During this time, a number of African American and Caribbean nationalists, leftists, and pan-Africanists traveled to and settled in Tanzania to join the country that many believed to be leading Africa’s liberation struggle. This historical study examines the political landscape of that crucial moment when African American, Caribbean, and Tanzanian histories overlapped, shedding light on the challenges of creating a new nation and the nature of African American and Caribbean participation in Tanzania’s nationalist project. In examining the pragmatic partnerships and exchanges between socialist Tanzania and activists and organizations associated with the Black Power movements in the United States and the Caribbean, this study argues that the Tanzanian one-party government actively engaged with the diaspora and sought to utilize its political, cultural, labor, and intellectual capital to further its national building agenda, but on its own terms, creating tension within the pan-Africanism movement. An excellent resource for academics and nonacademics alike, this work is the first of its kind, revealing the significance of the radical political and social movements of Tanzania and what it means for us today.

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A Key Concept For Peaceful Conflict Transformation?
Jochen Hippler
Pluto Press, 2005
The term 'nation-building' has experienced a remarkable renaissance since the early 1990s. It has been used to describe and to justify the military interventions in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Linked to the idea of 'failed' or 'failing' states, the concept is used to hide and legitimise a whole range of diverse policies, allowing foreign powers to control and reshape countries in areas of conflict.

Currently the international debate on nation-building is heavily dominated by US actors and authors, especially by writers connected to the Bush administration or its policies. This book presents academic and political alternatives, presenting a critical view from 'Old Europe'.

The book combines academic research and analysis with policy orientation, with contributors from both fields. It clarifies the terminology distinguishing developmental, peace-related, imperial and analytical approaches to nation-building. Highlighting its connections to globalisation, democracy, ethnic and religious minorities, the contributors consider case studies such as Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria.

Dr. Jochen Hippler, Political Scientist at the University of Duisburg-Essen and its Institute for Development and Peace (INEF), specialises in regional conflicts and interventionism in the Third World, political identities, and the Middle East. He is the former Director of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam and the author of numerous books and articles including Pax Americana (Pluto Press 1994), The Democratisation of Disempowerment (Pluto Press 1995) and The Next Threat (Pluto Press 1995).


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Nation-Building as Necessary Effort in Fragile States
René Grotenhuis
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
Policies intended to bring stability to fragile states tend to focus almost exclusively on building institutions and systems to get governance right. Simply building the state is often seen as sufficient for making it stable and legitimate. But policies like these, René Grotenhuis shows in this book, ignore the question of what makes people belong to a nation-state, arguing that issues of identity, culture, and religion are crucial to creating the sense of belonging and social cohesion that a stable nation-state requires.

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The Nature of Politics
State Building and the Conservation Estate in Postcolonial Botswana
Annette A. LaRocco
Ohio University Press, 2024
This case study of Botswana focuses on the state-building qualities of biodiversity conservation in southern Africa. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, Annette A. LaRocco argues that discourses and practices related to biodiversity conservation are essential to state building in the postcolonial era. These discourses and practices invoke the ways the state exerts authority over people, places, and resources; enacts and remakes territorial control; crafts notions of ideal citizenship and identity; and structures economic relationships at the local, national, and global levels. The book’s key innovation is its conceptualization of the “conservation estate,” a term most often used as an apolitical descriptor denoting land set aside for the purpose of conservation. LaRocco argues that this description is inadequate and proposes a novel and much-needed alternative definition that is tied to its political elements. The components of conservation—control over land, policing of human behavior, and structuring of the authority that allows or disallows certain subjectivities—render conservation a political phenomenon that can be analyzed separately from considerations of “nature” or “wildlife.” In doing so, it addresses a gap in the scholarship of rural African politics, which focuses overwhelmingly on productive agrarian dynamics and often fails to recognize that land nonuse can be as politically significant and wide reaching as land use. Botswana is an ideal empirical case study upon which to base these theoretical claims. With 39 percent of its land set aside for conservation, Botswana is home to large populations of wildlife, particularly charismatic megafauna, such as the largest herd of elephants on the continent. Utilizing more than two hundred interviews, participant observation, and document analysis, this book examines a series of conservation policies and their reception by people living on the conservation estate. These phenomena include securitized antipoaching enforcement, a national hunting ban (2014–19), restrictions on using wildlife products, forced evictions from conservation areas, limitations on mobility and freedom of movement, the political economy of Botswana’s wildlife tourism industry, and the conservation of globally important charismatic megafauna species.

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Quest for Power
European Imperialism and the Making of Chinese Statecraft
Stephen R. Halsey
Harvard University Press, 2015

China’s history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has often been framed as a long coda of imperial decline, played out during its last dynasty, the Qing. Quest for Power presents a sweeping reappraisal of this narrative. Stephen Halsey traces the origins of China’s great-power status in the twentieth century to this era of supposed decadence and decay. Threats from European and Japanese imperialism and the growing prospect of war triggered China’s most innovative state-building efforts since the Qing dynasty’s founding in the mid-1600s.

Through a combination of imitation and experimentation, a new form of political organization took root in China between 1850 and 1949 that shared features with modern European governments. Like them, China created a military-fiscal state to ensure security in a hostile international arena. The Qing Empire extended its administrative reach by expanding the bureaucracy and creating a modern police force. It poured funds into the military, commissioning ironclad warships, reorganizing the army, and promoting the development of an armaments industry. State-built telegraph and steamship networks transformed China’s communication and transportation infrastructure. Increasingly, Qing officials described their reformist policies through a new vocabulary of sovereignty—a Western concept that has been a cornerstone of Chinese statecraft ever since. As Halsey shows, the success of the Chinese military-fiscal state after 1850 enabled China to avoid wholesale colonization at the hands of Europe and Japan and laid the foundation for its emergence as a global power in the twentieth century.


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Rebuilding Native Nations
Strategies for Governance and Development
Edited by Miriam Jorgensen; Foreword by Oren Lyons; Afterword by Satsan (Herb George)
University of Arizona Press, 2007
A revolution is underway among the Indigenous nations of North America. It is a quiet revolution, largely unnoticed in society at large. But it is profoundly important. From High Plains states and Prairie Provinces to southwestern deserts, from Mississippi and Oklahoma to the northwest coast of the continent, Native peoples are reclaiming their right to govern themselves and to shape their future in their own ways. Challenging more than a century of colonial controls, they are addressing severe social problems, building sustainable economies, and reinvigorating Indigenous cultures. In effect, they are rebuilding their nations according to their own diverse and often innovative designs.

Produced by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the University of Arizona and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, this book traces the contours of that revolution as Native nations turn the dream of self-determination into a practical reality. Part report, part analysis, part how-to manual for Native leaders, it discusses strategies for governance and community and economic development being employed by American Indian nations and First Nations in Canada as they move to assert greater control over their own affairs.

Rebuilding Native Nations provides guidelines for creating new governance structures, rewriting constitutions, building justice systems, launching nation-owned enterprises, encouraging citizen entrepreneurs, developing new relationships with non-Native governments, and confronting the crippling legacies of colonialism. For nations that wish to join that revolution or for those who simply want to understand the transformation now underway across Indigenous North America, this book is a critical resource.

Foreword by Oren Lyons
Editor's Introduction

Part 1
Starting Points

1. Two Approaches to the Development of Native Nations: One Works, the Other Doesn't
Stephen Cornell and Joseph P. Kalt
2. Development, Governance, Culture: What Are They and What Do They Have to Do with Rebuilding Native Nations?
Manley A. Begay, Jr., Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen, and Joseph P. Kalt

Part 2
Rebuilding the Foundations

3. Remaking the Tools of Governance: Colonial Legacies, Indigenous Solutions
Stephen Cornell
4. The Role of Constitutions in Native Nation Building: Laying a Firm Foundation
Joseph P. Kalt
5 . Native Nation Courts: Key Players in Nation Rebuilding
Joseph Thomas Flies-Away, Carrie Garrow, and Miriam Jorgensen
6. Getting Things Done for the Nation: The Challenge of Tribal Administration
Stephen Cornell and Miriam Jorgensen

Part 3
Reconceiving Key Functions

7. Managing the Boundary between Business and Politics: Strategies for Improving the Chances for Success in Tribally Owned Enterprises
Kenneth Grant and Jonathan Taylor
8. Citizen Entrepreneurship: An Underutilized Development Resource
Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen, Ian Wilson Record, and Joan Timeche
9. Governmental Services and Programs: Meeting Citizens' Needs
Alyce S. Adams, Andrew J. Lee, and Michael Lipsky
10. Intergovernmental Relationships: Expressions of Tribal Sovereignty
Sarah L. Hicks

Part 4
Making It Happen

11. Rebuilding Native Nations: What Do Leaders Do?
Manley A. Begay, Jr., Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen, and Nathan Pryor
12. Seizing the Future: Why Some Native Nations Do and Others Don't
Stephen Cornell, Miriam Jorgensen, Joseph P. Kalt, and Katherine Spilde Contreras

Afterword by Satsan (Herb George)
About the Contributors

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Showing Teeth to the Dragons
State-building by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, 2002–2006
Harvey F. Kline
University of Alabama Press, 2009
 Explores the first administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, which marked a decisive break in a seemingly endless cycle of civil war in Colombia

Kline argues that the first administration of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez marks a decisive break in a seemingly endless cycle of civil war. Not only were the levels of homicide and kidnapping dramatically reduced, but the state took the offensive against the insurgents, strengthening the armed forces which in turn demonstrated clear support for the president's policy.

The civil war in Colombia has waxed and waned for sixty years, with shifting goals, programs, and tactics among the contending parties. Bursts of appalling violence are punctuated by uneasy truces, cease-fires, and attempts at reconciliation. Varieties of Marxism, the economics of narco-trafficking, peasant land hunger, poverty, and oppression mix together in a toxic stew that has claimed the uncounted lives of peasants, conscript soldiers, and those who simply got in the way.

Kline believes that the changes of the President, although dramatic, are not necessarily permanent. He discusses what challenges must be overcome for the permanent reduction of organized violence in this war-torn nation.

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State Formation in the Liberal Era
Capitalisms and Claims of Citizenship in Mexico and Peru
Edited by Ben Fallaw and David Nugent
University of Arizona Press, 2020
State Formation in the Liberal Era offers a nuanced exploration of the uneven nature of nation making and economic development in Peru and Mexico. Zeroing in on the period from 1850 to 1950, the book compares and contrasts the radically different paths of development pursued by these two countries.

Mexico and Peru are widely regarded as two great centers of Latin American civilization. In State Formation in the Liberal Era, a diverse group of historians and anthropologists from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America compare how the two countries advanced claims of statehood from the dawning of the age of global liberal capitalism to the onset of the Cold War. Chapters cover themes ranging from foreign banks to road building and labor relations. The introductions serve as an original interpretation of Peru’s and Mexico’s modern histories from a comparative perspective.

Focusing on the tensions between disparate circuits of capital, claims of statehood, and the contested nature of citizenship, the volume spans disciplinary and geographic boundaries. It reveals how the presence (or absence) of U.S. influence shaped Latin American history and also challenges notions of Mexico’s revolutionary exceptionality. The book offers a new template for ethnographically informed comparative history of nation building in Latin America.

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Unintended Consequences
The United States at War
Kenneth J. Hagan and Ian J. Bickerton
Reaktion Books, 2008

“The United States does not do nation building,” claimed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld three years ago. Yet what are we to make of the American military bases in Korea? Why do American warships patrol the Somali coastline? And perhaps most significantly, why are fourteen “enduring bases” being built in Iraq? In every major foreign war fought by United States in the last century, the repercussions of the American presence have been felt long after the last Marine has left. Kenneth J. Hagan and Ian J. Bickerton argue here that, despite adamant protests from the military and government alike, nation building and occupation are indeed hallmarks—and unintended consequences—of American warmaking.

In this timely, groundbreaking study, the authors examine ten major wars fought by the United States, from the Revolutionary War to the ongoing Iraq War, and analyze the conflicts’ unintended consequences. These unexpected outcomes, Unintended Consequences persuasively demonstrates, stemmed from ill-informed decisions made at critical junctures and the surprisingly similar crises that emerged at the end of formal fighting. As a result, war did not end with treaties or withdrawn troops. Instead, time after time, the United States became inextricably involved in the issues of the defeated country, committing itself to the chaotic aftermath that often completely subverted the intended purposes of war.

Stunningly, Unintended Consequences contends that the vast majority of wars launched by the United States were unnecessary, avoidable, and catastrophically unpredictable. In a stark challenge to accepted scholarship, the authors show that the wars’ unintended consequences far outweighed the initial calculated goals, and thus forced cataclysmic shifts in American domestic and foreign policy.

A must-read for anyone concerned with the past, present, or future of American defense, Unintended Consequences offers a provocative perspective on the current predicament in Iraq and the conflicts sure to loom ahead of us.


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Visible Ruins
The Politics of Perception and the Legacies of Mexico's Revolution
Mónica M. Salas Landa
University of Texas Press, 2024

An examination of the failures of the Mexican Revolution through the visual and material records.

The Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) introduced a series of state-led initiatives promising modernity, progress, national grandeur, and stability; state surveyors assessed land for agrarian reform, engineers used nationalized oil for industrialization, archaeologists reconstructed pre-Hispanic monuments for tourism, and anthropologists studied and photographed Indigenous populations to achieve their acculturation. Far from accomplishing their stated goals, however, these initiatives concealed violence, and permitted land invasions, forced displacement, environmental damage, loss of democratic freedom, and mass killings. Mónica M. Salas Landa uses the history of northern Veracruz to demonstrate how these state-led efforts reshaped the region's social and material landscapes, affecting what was and is visible. Relying on archival sources and ethnography, she uncovers a visual order of ongoing significance that was established through postrevolutionary projects and that perpetuates inequality based on imperceptibility.


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