UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A bundle of gestures : personal archives, family, and history on the Mexican stage Carrillo, Jorge Alberto


The archives of Delfina Garmendia (1877-1952) and Arturo Monroy (1865-1917) have been bypassed by historians of Mexico even though their contents suggest that they were actively involved in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and mingled with some of its key figures that appear in most history books. These private archives reveal a form of life writing in which family life is imagined and performed as a way to navigate and transact class positionality in the public sphere, but also as a way to insert oneself in the narrative of the newly defined nation. The performativity captured in these archives shows how notions of history and memory are not necessarily mutually inclusive, and how there is not much of a divide between private and public life. As is the case with the Garmendia-Monroy archive and other family archives found in institutional repositories, most of the material found in them is composed of official documentation and a large collection of photographs and letters addressed to friends and acquaintances originally intended as tokens of appreciation, known in Spanish as detalles. Honing our attention onto these type of archives reveals the epistemological processes involved in the act of archiving, and by extension how history works: for those who create the archive, for those who inherit it, and for those who come into contact with it.

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