Class of 2017 History Comps/ Spring 2016 Timeline
Every rising senior must have a defined and doable comprehensive thesis research project with potential for exciting, critical analysis in order to register for HIST 490. This proposal process is structured to help you meet that goal and allow you to begin comps research over the summer break.
Class of 2017 History Comps/Spring 2016 Timeline
Monday, Feb. 29: Mandatory Junior Orientation Meeting. 12:00-12:30 p.m. Location TBA.
March 16, 2016: Contract with advisor’s signature due to Prof. Puerto, Swan Hall #306 by NOON
March 21, 2016: By this date, all rising seniors should have received confirmation of their contract submission as well as instructor permission to register for HIST 490. You cannot register for HIST 490 without a contract submission.
April 11, 2016: 2 page double-spaced proposal plus bibliography. Please email as an electronic attachment to both your thesis advisor and Prof. Puerto.
April 25, 2016: Your thesis advisor and either Prof. Hong or Prof. Puerto will provide comments on your proposal draft by this date. If you do not have a strong research question with accessible primary sources, you will be asked to revise and resubmit your proposal. You cannot proceed in HIST 490 without an approved proposal.
Sample Comps Proposal
After the Mexican Revolution, politicians were entirely engrossed with forming a modern Mexican state and a singular national identity. This was achieved partly in an effort to instill values in children through a secular, public education. A political agenda was pushed through the public education system in order to instill revolutionary ideals in children so as to create a generation of modern Mexicans that shared a cohesive national identity. This necessarily targeted indigenous and poor populations because they were marginalized by society. Therefore, these same people were often not considered fully apart of Mexican society and the Mexican state. Instead, they were perceived as the problem. To remedy this internal division, the Mexican government focused its efforts in creating a centralized identity by incorporating indigenous cultures and identities. This was attempted through the use of murals as a form of public education, especially for the illiterate. To inculcate the Mexican citizenry with a distinct set of values, the state commissioned Mexican muralists to forge a national identity. The topic of my paper will be centered on post-revolutionary thoughts on indigenismo. How and why did the Mexican state utilize the muralist movement as a form of public education to promote revolutionary ideology of indigensimo as a way to achieve a national identity? Despite the intentions to incorporate and valorize indigenous culture, ultimately the murals helped to create a limited monolithic national identity and did not accept the plurality that existed in the Mexican state.
The primary and secondary sources that I have so far compiled consist of both literary and visual sources that will show the relationship between state formation, education, and the muralist movement. The primary sources that I will utilize as of yet include the autobiography of Jose Vasconcelos, Ulises Criollo which is widely available in both a Spanish edition and in English translation (Mexican Ulysses). I intend to use this source in order to gain insight into the official perspective on the propagation of state formation, since Vasconcelos was the Secretary of Public Education in post-Revolutionary Mexico and worked on commissioning the muralists. I will also rely heavily on the murals of Diego Rivera that were commissioned by the Mexican state in order to show a set of particular values stemming from the Revolution continued to be promoted through public education by the state. A complete collection of his murals can be found in the Oxy library’s Special Collections, in Luis Martin Lozano’s, Diego Rivera, The Complete Murals. Of these I will focus on the murals commissioned by the government. Of the all these murals, I will specifically incorporate, “Creation,” “Entry into the Mine,” The Sacrificial Offspring- Day of the Dead,” “Good Friday on the Santa Anita Canal,” “Pre-Hispanic Mexico—The Early Indian World,” “History of Mexico from the Conquest to 1930,” and/or “Mexico Today and Tomorrow.” These murals all depict distinct messages, though there are some thematic similarities. Depending on which murals best support my argument I may decide to exclude some of these murals. However, if it turns out Rivera consistently promoted a specific national identity, in other murals not commissioned by the state it may also be necessary to include these because it could demonstrate the inculcation of certain values in Rivera as an individual. I will further supplement my analysis of this process of state formation with the writings of prominent indigenistas. For example, Manuel Gamio’s Forjando patria, speaks to the issue of state formation and indigenista identity. Gamio has also written other papers and articles on the subject that I will be using as well. Works from other indigenistas may also be crucial.
My first objective is to read Vasconcelos’ autobiography in order to keep the reasons and framework of revolutionary state formation in mind. Next will be Manuel Gamio’s Forging Patrimony. Then I will compile a list of all the murals that the State commissioned Diego Rivera to paint. At this point it will be necessary to read articles written on those particular murals and determine if Rivera‘s murals were true emulations of revolutionary values. It would be at this point I would read the secondary source material I have found pertaining to state formation and education such as Mary Kay Vaughan’s, Cultural politics in revolution: teachers, peasants, and schools in Mexico, 1930-1940 and David Craven’s, Art and revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990. It will be important to also read pertinent information available in The Hispanic American Historical Review, Latin American Perspectives, and the Journal of Latin American Studies. It will also be necessary to search art history journals to determine the interpretations of Rivera’s artwork and the way in which he achieves his goals. At this point I will re-read Desmond Rochfort’s Mexican Muralists in order to incorporate the significance of the muralist movement on the formation of national identity. All the while, I will continue to search the online records of the Benson Archival Collection at the University of Texas and the archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkley. I am currently planning to travel to the Bancroft Library this summer.
Gamio, Manuel. Forjando patria. México: Editorial Porrúa. 1960.
Gamio, Manuel. Consideraciones sobre el problema indígena. México: Instituto Indigenista Interamericano. 1948.
Lozano, Luis Martin. Diego Rivera, The Complete Murals. Translated by Mary Blackman and
“Entry into the mine”
“ The Sacrificial Offspring- Day of the Dead”
“Good Friday on the Santa Anita Canal”
“Pre-Hispanic Mexico—The Early Indian World”
“ History of Mexico from the Conquest to 1930”
“Mexico Today and Tomorrow”
Deidre MacCloskey. Los Angeles: Taschen, 2008.
Vasconcelos, José. El amable duelo: un maestro, una generación y un libro. México: M.A. Porrúa, 1999.
Molina, Alicia. Antología de textos sobre educación. 1981.
Rivera, Diego, and Justino Fernández. Diego Rivera.: [Reproductions of Mexican frescoes]. Mexico: E. Fischgrund. 1948.
Vasconcelos, José. “Carta a la intelectualidad mexicana.” 1933.
Vasconcelos, José, and Manuel Gamio. Aspects of Mexican civilization <lectures on the Harris foundation 1926>. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press. 1926.
Alonso, Ana Maria. "The politics of Space, Time and Substance: State Formation, Nationalism and Ethnicity." Annual Review of Anthropolgy. 23. (1994): 379-405. http://0-www.jstor.org.oasys.lib.oxy.edu/stable/2156019 (accessed April 3, 2012).
Barkley, Karen, and Sunita Parikh. "Comparative Perspectives on The State." Annual Review of Sociology. 17. (1991): 523-549. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2083353 (accessed April 3, 2012).
Craven, David. Art and revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2002.
Hilliard III, Asa G. "Equal Educational Opportunity and Quality Education." Anthropology & Education Quarterly. 9. no. 2 (1978): 110-126. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3216193 (accessed April 3, 2012).
Horton, Sarah. "Where is the "Mexican" in "New Mexican"? Enacting History, Enacting Dominance in the Santa Fe Fiesta." The Public Historian. 23. no. 4 (2001): 41-54. http://0-www.jstor.org.oasys.lib.oxy.edu/stable/10.1525/tph.2001.23.4.41 (accessed April 3, 2012).
Mraz, John. Looking for Mexico: modern visual culture and national identity. Durham [N.C.]: Duke University Press. 2009.
Rochfort, Desmond. 1998. Mexican muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Romanell, Patrick. Making of the Mexican mind; a study in recent Mexican thought. [Lincoln]: University of Nebraska Press. 1952.
Vaughan, Mary K. Cultural politics in revolution: teachers, peasants, and schools in Mexico, 1930-1940. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1997.
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