More of Lund on Altamirano

Especially as regards El Zarco, the complexity of Altamirano’s construction of racial meaning has not been appreciated well enough. He is “operating within the terms of a delicate critique of the race-nation articulation as it is being formed around the mestizo state” (44). He is trying to present a discourse of citizenship, not of racialized membership in the nation.

Important: “el indio” is a heterogeneous category, meaning different things. And Altamirano, Lund suggests, performs the operation I have identified elsewhere: raises the issue of raise and then elides it, such that it is ultimately reinforced while the possibility of addressing it is interdicted (see 46, because this is my formulation and not exactly his).

Lund: the issue is not to find racism at an individual level, but to look at the text and its context as moments in a larger set of operations of racial formation. El Zarco is about the state, which is mestizo. And the mestizo is a contradictory figure, both hero and antihero, embodying the promises and horrors of state formation … in which Altamirano himself participated.

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