‘Latin race science in a Mestizo State: racialized biopolitics in post-revolutionary Mexico’

Carlos López Beltrán (Institute of Philosophical Research)

I use the historiographical notion of “Latin race science” to examine early 20th century Post-Revolutionary projects aimed at homogenising and improving a racially diverse populations in Mexico. In seeking to unearth the tensions within Mexican early 20th century biopolitics with the question of traditional Latin and Hispanic traditions, I contrast the international Latin Eugenics scene with locally produced Mexican Indigenismo and “mestizophilia” during the first Revolutionary decades. Two trends emerge from such analysis: 1) the existence of not one, but a plurality of “mestizophilias”, and 2) the weakening of Latinity and Hispanophilia as a necessary counterpoint with which to assess rising State sponsored Indigenismo. These distinctions help to flesh out the tensions and convergences between coexisting biopolitical projects, and modulate the contributions of the Latin Eugenics framework to the context of early 20th century Mexico. The softness and relative marginality of the Eugenic movement in Mexico is thus explained by the occupation of the field of Population biopolitics by nationalist Indigenismo.

The seminar in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology is convened by Alex Aylward (University of Oxford), Erica Charters (Wolfson College), Mark Harrison (University of Oxford), Catherine Jackson (Harris Manchester College), and Sloan Mahone (University of Oxford)