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"Mujeres que se visualizan" : (En)gendering archives and regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico Aceves Sepúlveda, Gabriela

Abstract

This study analyzes the fundamental role played by a group of artists and feminist activists including Ana Victoria Jiménez, Rosa Martha Fernández, Mónica Mayer, and Pola Weiss in developing and transforming regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico. It considers this process as indicative of larger and potential transformations in historically constituted fields of power and knowledge in the context of the emergence of new wave feminisms and the broad shift in Mexican intellectual sectors away from an exclusive emphasis on literate-print culture and towards an embrace of audiovisual communications. Throughout this dissertation, the concept of visual letradas is developed to describe women who by the second half of the twentieth century became more openly concerned with performing and recording audiovisual information about how their bodies were visually construed and politicized. Using recently opened archives of the Mexican secret services as well as photographic documentation on feminist demonstrations, oral testimonies, interviews, videos, performances, and films, this study shows how visual letradas transformed intellectual spheres of influence previously conceptualized as privileged masculine territory, the space of the letrado. The term visual letradas is also used to map out how the increased participation of women in Mexico's mediascapes shaped the emergence of competing political subjectivities that posited the female body, gender difference, and sexual violence at the forefront of public debates during the last decades of the twentieth century. Moreover, in contrast to the closed disciplinary focus and national parameters that have characterized the twentieth-century Mexican historiography of feminisms, media, art, and women's history, this dissertation emphasizes the interconnections between these fields by focusing on three main categories—the city, the archive, and the media. By bringing an interdisciplinary, local, and transnational lens to bear on these categories and by showing how visual letradas appropriated them as key spheres of action, this project narrates how normative representations of the female body (visually and in formal politics) were contested throughout Mexico City and how, in turn, such challenges affected and effected politics.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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