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Mestizo ModernityRace, Technology, and the Body in Post-Revolutionary Mexico$
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David S. Dalton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400394

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400394.001.0001

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Emilio Fernández, Gabriel Figueroa, and the Race for Mexico’s Body

Emilio Fernández, Gabriel Figueroa, and the Race for Mexico’s Body

Immunization and Lamarckian Genetics

(p.100) 3 Emilio Fernández, Gabriel Figueroa, and the Race for Mexico’s Body
Mestizo Modernity

David S. Dalton

University Press of Florida

This chapter looks at an especially interesting articulation of the posthuman within the indigenista films of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández. It identifies an attempt to modernize indigenous peasants by exposing their bodies to modern medicine. The chapter views these films in the context of Roberto Esposito’s “immunization paradigm,” a biopolitical theory that compares the medical process of immunization to the state’s role of subject creation. When a people lacks a natural immunity to a vice (improper performativity of race and gender in the case of these films), a new actor, such as the state, must step in and provide an artificial immunity. Using this theoretical framework, the chapter analyzes the films Río Escondido (1947), María Candelaria (1944), Enamorada (1946), and The Torch (1950). The readings suggest that we approach these films as allegories for a postrevolutionary society where immunological discourses prescribe appropriate gender and racial performativity for the nation.

Keywords:   Biopolitical theory, Modern medicine, Immunization paradigm, Cultural missions, Emilio Fernández, Performativity of race and gender

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