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Alejandra Osorio

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Postcards in the Porfirian Imaginary

By studying the postcard during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, known in Mexico as the Porfiriato (1877-1911), this essay reveals the ways in which the mass production of a series of celebrated representations of Mexicanness established a racialized imaginary around competing nationalist themes of progress and tradition. The author argues that the study of postcards is of particular importance during a period of strong state normalization, as was the case during the Porfiriato. Postcards functioned as vital modes of visual representation that, under the concept of state progress and modernization, institutionalized a series of cultural goods and homogenized symbols of the national imaginary. The postcard, Osorio argues, contributed significantly to the state’s discourse around how, what, and who should be represented as “typically Mexican.”

Mexican types, Mexicanness, national imaginaries, Porfiriato, postcards, representation

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 1 (2007): 141-154