Thread of Blood: Colonialism, Revolution, and Gender on Mexico's Northern Frontier / Edition 1

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This book is about the construction and transformation of peasant military colonists on Mexico's northern frontier from the late 18th through the early 20th century. Though the majority of the data comes from the pueblo of Namiquipa in the state of Chihuahua, the argument has broader implications for the study of northern Mexico, frontier societies, and our understanding of the northern armies in the 1910 Revolution. The study is rare for its integration of several levels, placing an analysis of gender and ethnicity within a specific historical period. The author demonstrates that a distinct kind of frontier serrano society was generated in Namiquipa between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries. In exchange for keeping the Apaches at bay, colonists were provided with arms and land grants. At the same time, they developed a gendered sense of ethnic identity that equated honor with land, autonomy, and a kind of masculinity that distinguished the "civilized" colonist from the "barbarous" Indian. While this identity was itself ordered hierarchically between men and women, and between "Hispanic" and "Indian," it also provided serranos with a sense of pride and dignity that was not directly associated with wealth. After the defeat of the Apaches, and with increased state control during the last decades of the Porfiriato, the serranos on the frontier were transformed from bulwarks of order to victims of progress. The expansion of capitalism and the manipulation of local political office by men no longer accountable to communal norms eroded the legitimacy of both powerholders and the central state. In response, serranos constructed an ideology of history based on past notions of masculine honor and autonomy. This ideology motivated their confrontations with the Mexican state during the 1890s and also served as the force behind their mobilization in the 1910 revolution.

"This outstanding volume links the analysis of community and social organization with macro-level processes and history. Examines how gender, ethnicity, and local concepts of power relate to national identity, economy, and power. A fascinating discussion of Mexican society and the revolutionary change occurring along Mexico's northern border"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a most readable volume and would be useful to persons interested in Mexican history and border studies. It would also serve as a good introduction to the study of gender and power relations in anthropology." —Heritage"A study of violence in its social and historical context . . . The examples and evidence that Alonso uses to support her case are so vivid and telling that the book is sure to intrigue both students and scholars of the Mexican Revolution." —The Historian"She invites us to observe the dance of war, honor, ethnic and gender fury in the Chihuahuan village of Namiquipa. Central to this work is her insightful grasp of the complex series of equations and oppositions involved in developing a specific version of masculinity." —American Historical Review"A significant contribution to the historical anthropology of northern Mexico. I learned a great deal of history and was enlightened by the anthropological discourse the author brought to its telling." —Journal of American History
A comprehensive four-volume reference that examines the global struggle for representative government, tracing democracy's evolution from its origins in ancient Greece, and its variations throughout history, to its role in current political turmoil in nations such as South Africa, China, and the republics of the former Soviet Union. The Encyclopedia contains 417 alphabetically arranged, original, signed articles that range from 300 to 8,000 words and cover nearly all aspects of the subject. Included are biographies of over 100 statesmen and leaders; analyses of democracy's development in over 80 countries and regions; and essays on the processes and systems of representative government, democracy's impact on society, and its future. Includes numerous b&w illustrations, maps, and voting charts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816515745
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Series: Hegemony and Experience
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 318
  • Sales rank: 1,075,773
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of Cuba, Ana María Alonso is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. Thread of Blood was published with the support of the Clara Lee Tanner Publishing Fund for the first book by an anthropologist.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries - The Frontier Civilization and Barbarism 13
1 The Social Organization of Warfare 21
2 Honor and Ethnicity 51
3 Honor and Gender: Purity and Valor 73
4 Honor and Class: Wealth and Occupation 105
Pt. 2 Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Order, Progress, and Resistance 113
5 The Nation-State, Capitalist Development, and the Transformation of the Frontier 119
6 The Forms and Organization of Serrano Resistance, 1858-1920 157
7 Progress as Disorder and Dishonor: Discourses of Serrano Resistance, 1858-1920 177
8 Caciques at Home 213
Afterword. "Ya no hay Valientes": The Re-Presentation of the Past 231
Notes 239
Bibliography 265
Index 293
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