s1414 - Gender and Capitalist Development in Mexico, 1840-1980

Saturday, June 3, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
SC 145 (Hofstra University)
Christy Thornton, Rowan University
Beer, Gender, and Capitalism in Modern Mexico
Susan Gauss, University of Massachusetts Boston
Barbara Weinstein, New York University

Session Abstract

In histories of global capitalism, Mexico has often taken a back seat, and many have dismissed Mexico’s rich economic history and contributions to contemporary capitalist systems.  Historians who do look at Mexico’s legacy, such as John Tutino, focus on the colonial period, when Mexico was arguably one of the wealthiest regions of the world, and, as Tutino ably shows, a major economic motor of the emerging capitalist system. Tutino’s work also shows the power that patriarchy held in the formation of modern capitalism.   Yet few have placed gender at the center of analysis in the nineteeth and twentieth centuries.

This panel builds on the work of Tutino and other historians to explore how gender's centrality to the development of industrial capitalism in Mexico.   Walker’s paper looks at nineteenth-century debtor’s courts to examine how common people, especially women, understood their position in the emerging capitalist system. Gauss’s paper examines the intersections of gender, race, capitalism, and nationalism as the beer industry sought to develop a new mass market for a seemingly foreign product and how government policies implemented to help the beer industry actually created uneven economic development.  Finally, Sanders’s paper will look at the larger issues of economic development theory.  Sanders will explore the gendered facets of modernization theory and dependency theory and argue that gender did in fact play a crucial role in the way that the Mexican economy was structured in the twentieth century although economic developmet experts at the time would not have recognized it.

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