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Grant number like: FB-50271-04

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Adriana Zavala
Tufts University (Somerville, MA 02144-2401)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 8/31/2005

Images of Women in 20th-Century Mexican Painting, Cinema, and Visual Culture

This project will examine images of women in 20th-century Mexican art and visual culture. It will culminate in a book manuscript and several scholarly articles. The project will analyze and contextualize the representation of women in relation to period debates in Mexico about cultural identity and concerns about moral, social and racial hygiene. Despite the abundance of gender analysis on European and U.S. art, no such study exists in the field of Mexican art. Instead, scholarship on images of women in 20th-century Mexican art has focused on several national icons including the Virgin of Guadalupe, Malinche, and more recently, Frida Kahlo. While the significance of these icons and their archetypical sources (the Virgin/whore) is certain, this focus has tended to obscure the enormous symbolic and aesthetic complexity of images of women in Mexico, and the specific social and cultural issues referenced therein. Images produced in a variety of media will be analyzed in historical and social context over a forty-year period, spanning the decades before and after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917). By including the pre- and postrevolutionary decades, this study will complicate current understanding of the cultural continuities and ruptures manifest in the first half of the 20th-century. This book will contribute to the art historical discipline and to the study of Latin American art, to gender studies, and to Mexican area and cultural studies. By taking an interdisciplinary approach that considers images of womanhood in socio-political context, and by moving beyond biographical analysis or a focus on images in a single artistic medium this book will significantly complicate and expand current scholarship on 20th-century Mexican art.