Marco Calderón, Feb 23: Rural Education and Indigenous Incorporation in Mexico: 1910-1933

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February 16, 2015 by cfmsc

La maestra rural

We invite you to our next Mexican Monday with Anthropologist Marco Calderón, who will speak about rural education and the indigenous incorporation in Mexico. He will address several documented prejudices regarding the so-called “indigenous problem”, and the social conditions of Mexican ethnic groups. Indigenous people were regarded as a taciturn, stoic, without initiative, suspicious, unable to have fun and laugh, reluctant to socialize with people from other ethnic groups. Despite working in the field and in some trade activities, they were regarded with no aspirations, without wanting to change their situation, and not interested in introducing techniques to increase agricultural production. They were illiterate and did not speak Spanish, and lived in overcrowded conditions and “inadequate” houses. Furthermore, given the enormous cultural heterogeneity, it was not possible to build a nation. This was the ideological basis on which proposals to assimilate indigenous to the nation were developed. For revolutionary indigenists, a major cause of social “backwardness” was the ways in which indigenous people socialized. In the absence of public schools in rural communities, the church was not only a space of indoctrination in the catholic faith; but also a meeting point. Rural education administered by the Secretariat of Public Education was a cultural and political project that sought to displace the family and the church as the primary socialization forces. Calderón will analyze how the itinerant teachers, the Casas del Pueblo, or rural schools, cultural missions, rural teacher colleges, technical and agricultural schools, and indigenous boarding schools were part of a chain that contributed to the construction of a populist state and a nationalist sentiment, despite the hierarchies and social differences in which this process resulted.

Marco Calderón has a Doctorate in Anthropology from the Universidad Metropolitana, specializes in Political Anthropology, and is a Professor of Anthropology at the Colegio de Michoacán where he has been a member of the faculty for twenty years. His current research deals with citizenship, democracy and the history of rural education. During 2013-2014 academic year he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin and is writing a book on the history of Social Experiments and Indigenous Education in Mexico.

The seminar will take place at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), Columbia University. International Affairs Building (IAB), Room 802 at 5pm.

This text will support Marco Calderón’s work, on social experiments and citizenship: Marco Calderon (2014) Edu indígena, caso Actopan, Hidalgo

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