Indigenismo and its Discontents: Bilingual Teachers and the Democratic Opening in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca, Mexico, 1954-1982


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation asks why twentieth-century Mexican education policy shifted from a homogenizing focus on Spanish-language learning to a pluralist approach toward Mexico’s diverse languages. Based on the Mixteca Alta, a indigenous highland region of southern Mexico, it hypothesizes that a confluence of factors—including development policy based on indigenous brokers, transnational discourses of anti-colonialism, and grassroots struggle with an authoritarian regime—crystallized in the late 1970s and shifted official policy to the recognition and celebration of indigenous language. Finally, the project examines the historical trajectory of indigenous education from 1954 to 1990 as a window onto state designs for indigenous people, exploring indigenous participation with and subversion of State policy.