Emilio Kourí F'10, F'05

Emilio  Kourí
Professor
History
University of Chicago

ACLS Fellowship Program 2010
Associate Professor
History
University of Chicago
The Indigenous Community in Mexican Social Thought

This study examines the origins and evolution of two persistent ideas about the character of indigenous communal organization in Mexico: harmony and cohesion as defining features of village social relations, and communal land tenure as the natural expression of this inherent cultural solidarity. Where did these unsubstantiated ideas about indigenous cultures and sociability come from? How and why did they become so influential in the social sciences? This project traces the philosophical assumptions underpinning the analysis of “native communities” in early anthropology and sociology, and describes how these conceptions shaped Mexican social thought, agrarian reform, and Indian policy from the 1890s to the 1990s.

Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2005
Associate Professor
History
University of Chicago
The "Indian Community" in Mexican Social Thought
For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Using modern Mexico as a case study, this project examines the origins and evolution of two deeply entrenched ideas about the character of indigenous communal organization: harmony and cohesion as defining features of Indian village social relations, and communal land tenure as the natural expression of this inherent cultural solidarity. Where did these unsubstantiated ideas about Indian culture and sociability come from? How and why did they become so influential? Part one, an intellectual history, traces the philosophical assumptions underpinning the analysis of “native communities” in early sociology and anthropology. Part two, an archival-based socio-political history, describes how these conceptions shaped twentieth-century Mexican social thought, agrarian reform, and Indian policy.