A New Series in Latin American Visual History
The University of Texas Press is pleased to share the first books in our new series Visualidades: Studies in Latin American Visual History. Edited by Dr. Jessica Stites Mor and Ernesto Capello, the series seeks to further the exploration of visual history as a distinct field of inquiry on Latin America in dialogue with other disciplinary fields. Caitlin Frances Bruce’s Voices in Aerosol (out January 9, 2024) explores how a city government in central Mexico evolved from waging war on graffiti in the early 2000s to sanctioning its creation a decade later, and how youth navigated these changing conditions for producing art. Mónica M. Salas Landa’s Visible Ruins (out May 7, 2024) examines the failures of the Mexican Revolution through ethnography and visual and material records from archives.
Read more about these first two books and learn how to query this exciting new series below! Order both forthcoming books at 40% off with our holiday sale discount code UTXGIFTS through January 31, 2024.
Youth Culture, Institutional Attunement, and Graffiti in Urban Mexico
By Caitlin Frances Bruce
The local government, residents, and media outlets in León, Mexico, treated graffiti as a disease until the state began sponsoring artistic graffiti through a program of its own. In Voices in Aerosol, the first book-length study of state-sponsored graffiti, Caitlin Frances Bruce considers the changing perceptions and recognition of graffiti artists, their right to the city, and the use of public space over the span of eighteen years (2000–2018). Focusing on the midsized city of León, Bruce offers readers a look at the way negotiations with the neoliberal state unfolded at different levels and across decades.
Issues brought to light in this case study, such as graffiti as a threat and graffiti as a sign of gentrification, resonate powerfully with those germane to other urban landscapes throughout the Western Hemisphere and beyond. Combining archival work, interviews, considerations of urban planning, local politics in Mexico, and insights gained by observing graffiti events and other informal artistic encounters, Bruce offers a new lens through which to understand the interplay between sanctioned and unsanctioned forms of cultural expression. Ultimately, Voices in Aerosol builds a strong case for graffiti as a contested tool for “voicing” public demands.
Voices in Aerosol is a formidable study of graffiti practice and youth culture in León, Mexico. Bruce’s rich rhetorical ethnography and its attendant theorizing—particularly her treatment of “attunement” as a means by which writers, media, public institutions, and the state orient to one another—make this book a must-read for anyone studying contemporary visual culture, urban rhetorics, or neoliberal governance.Christa J. Olson, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Constitutive Visions: Indigeneity and Commonplaces of National Identity in Republican Ecuador
With Voices in Aerosol, Caitlin Bruce has solidified her place as a foremost thinker in the field of visual rhetoric. Moreover, by attending to the productive tensions between graffiti and institutions, Bruce challenges how scholars of resistance and expressive culture have reductively characterized the way rhetorical agents engage with power. Visually captivating, masterfully written, and theoretically sophisticated, this book will change the way you think and see.Karma R. Chavez, University of Texas at Austin, author of The Borders of AIDS: Race, Quarantine, and Resistance
The Politics of Perception and the Legacies of Mexico’s Revolution
By Mónica M. Salas Landa
Coming May 2024
The Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) introduced a series of state-led initiatives promising modernity, progress, national grandeur, and stability; state surveyors assessed land for agrarian reform, engineers used nationalized oil for industrialization, archaeologists reconstructed pre-Hispanic monuments for tourism, and anthropologists studied and photographed Indigenous populations to achieve their acculturation. Far from accomplishing their stated goals, however, these initiatives concealed violence, and permitted land invasions, forced displacement, environmental damage, loss of democratic freedom, and mass killings. Mónica Salas Landa uses the history of northern Veracruz to demonstrate how these state-led efforts reshaped the region’s social and material landscapes, affecting what was and is visible. Relying on archival sources and ethnography, she uncovers a visual order of ongoing significance that was established through postrevolutionary projects and that perpetuates inequality based on imperceptibility.
Edited by Dr. Jessica Stites Mor and Ernesto Capello
Visualidades: Studies in Latin American Visual History seeks to further the exploration of visual history as a distinct field of inquiry on Latin America in dialogue with other disciplinary fields. This series conceptualizes visual history as the study of images and the past in the broadest sense and asks how images have shaped Latin American cultures. The series editors invite projects that both ground visual forms of communication in the rich and complex histories through which they took shape and that examine the direct agency of images in crafting historical narratives, stimulating change, and reshaping thought.
Proposals and queries may be sent to the series editors, Ernesto Capello at email@example.com and Jessica Stites Mor at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the acquiring editor Kerry Webb: email@example.com.
Dr. Jessica Stites Mor is an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. She is the author of Transition Cinema: Political Filmmaking and the Argentine Left since 1968 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), editor of Human Rights and Transnational Solidarity in Cold War Latin America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), and coeditor of The Art of Solidarity: Visual and Performative Politics in Cold War Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2018).
Ernesto Capello is an associate professor of history at Macalester College. He is the author of City at the Center of the World: Space, History, and Modernity in Quito (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011).