Renaissance and Counterrevolution: Anita Brenner's Mexican Education, 1923-1927 /

The period of intellectual renewal and cultural experimentation that Mexico experienced in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution of 1910-1920, sometimes known as the "Mexican Renaissance", caught the attention of an assortment of foreign intellectuals, artists, and activists. These pol...

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Torres, Marco Aurelio, author.
Imprint:Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2021
Description:1 electronic resource (301 pages)
Language:English
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/12641774
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
2021
ISBN:9798460476282
Notes:Advisors: Tenorio, Mauricio Committee members: Borges, Dain; Sullivan, Megan.
Dissertations Abstracts International, Volume: 83-04, Section: A.
English
Summary:The period of intellectual renewal and cultural experimentation that Mexico experienced in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution of 1910-1920, sometimes known as the "Mexican Renaissance", caught the attention of an assortment of foreign intellectuals, artists, and activists. These political and cultural pilgrims visited the country, sought to understand it, and went on to write about it, often relating to it as a a projection screen for their own cultural anxieties and political agendas.This dissertation focuses on one of these 1920s pilgrims, Anita Brenner, a Mexican-born, Jewish-American journalist and anthropologist whose writings influenced the international fashion for Mexican culture of the 1930s. This dissertation analyzes a brief period in the life of Anita Brenner, 1923 to 1927, a time when she became part of the vibrant, cosmopolitan "Mexican Renaissance" scene. During these years, Brenner composed an early draft of her book, Idols Behind Altars, which went on to have a lasting impact on the reception of of artists such as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Carlos Merida. Anita Brenner's papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center offered a privileged perspective on the lives and works of the transnational network of artists, activists, and intellectuals as they "discovered" the "Mexican Renaissance" and interpreted and promoted it for foreign audiences: Bertram Wolfe, Robert Haberman, Frances Toor, Ernest Gruening, Frank Tannenbaum, Jean Charlot, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, and Frances Flynn Paine, among others. Following theese figures, this dissertation offers a critical reinterpretation of the constellation of simultaneous, artistic, cultural, and political phenomena that they defined as the "Mexican Renaissance".This dissertation takes the Mexican Renaissance out of its usual political context as the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution in order to recontextualize it as the aftermath of the larger world historical crisis of the 1910s. The First World War and the international revolutionary crisis that followed it were experienced across nations as a delegitimization of bourgeois European society and culture. In the United States, this was also a period of catastrophic defeat for the socialist left and grave disappointed for progressive liberals. In the 1920s, the U.S. was emerging as the world's economic hegemony, but what this would mean politically and culturally remained uncertain. This dissertation argues that it was these conditions of uncertainty and disillusionment that led to a countercultural identification with Mexico's cultural revolution among defeated radicals and alienated artists and intellectuals.This dissertation describes how Anita Brenner and her expatriate milieu helped facilitate the process by which the "Mexican Renaissance" became an instrument of U.S.-Mexico diplomacy-the process by which the revolutionary muralists could be said to have gone from working for Jose Vasconcelos to working for U.S. Ambassador Dwight Morrow. As this dissertation argues, the reorientation of the "Mexican Renaissance" toward the United States in the late 1920s is best understood as an episode in a larger transitional period: the counterrevolutionary interregnum between the international revolutionary moment that followed the First World War and the emergence of a new U.S.-centered world capitalist order.