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Interactions Seminar Series, "Playing Mestizo: The Politics and Performance of Race-Mixture in Yucatán, Mexico"

Start Date and Time:

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 1:00PM

End Date and Time:

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 2:45PM


Prof. Paul Eiss (Carnegie Mellon University)

ABSTRACT: Mestizaje—ethnic, racial and cultural mixing—is a common characteristic of Latin American societies formed out of the amalgamation of indigenous, European and African populations. From the late 19th century forward, mestizaje also figured as an official ideology, as national elites embraced the mestizo as an icon of national unity. In contrast with historical, anthropological and literary studies of mestizaje from above (as ideology, discourse or trope) or below (as social identity). Paul Eiss explores mestizaje in Yucatán, Mexico, as an “in-between” phenomenon to analyze in performative terms: i.e. through a focus on political and theatrical “acts” of racial impersonation that level social critiques even as they may ratify racial or racist stereotypes, as found in Yucatecan teatro regional, a popular 20th century theatrical form that foregrounds features of indigenous Maya origin, from Maya words and phrases, to forms of dress, music and dance associated with rural Maya speakers.

All are welcome, but RSVP’s are requested to by February 25.


  • Department of Historical & Cultural Studies-UTSC

Contact Information

Prof. Jayeeta Sharma


HW525C, 1265 Military Trial, Toronto, ON view full map




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