Posted by: | April 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Desde el comienso de los tiempos han habido siempre una mescla de culturas y de gente. Pero nose porque siempre que uno habla de mestizaje lo primero que le viene a la mente cuando se habla de mestizaje (o al menos a mi y a gente que conosco es latino …

Theories of Mixture 1: Mestizaje

Posted by: | February 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture 1: Mestizaje

I found this past weeks reading on the mestizaje by Vasconcelos and Wade to be much different than I expected. I was not prepared to read about Vasconcelos’ “solution” to the problems of having a hierarchy of races. His plans were very far out and I wa…

Theories of Mixture…

Posted by: | February 11, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture…

I really enjoyed these two articles. I often find when reading articles for this class that i doubt myself or feel like I’m not getting what we’re supposed to be getting out of the readings. However I suppose it’s all up to the readers own interpretation…

Anyways, in the article by Vasconcelos I was initially captivated by his seemingly utopian ideas about the 5th race, and the processes in which to get humanity to that point. I did wonder if what I was reading was a story or the writers’ actual opinion. It has fairy tale qualities that made me question what exactly the article was trying to do. After a few pages I became aware of racist undertones, comments that made me check to see what year the article was written. The undertones quickly became stronger and I became aware of a ‘bad taste in my mouth’, if you will. His arguments and statements are so controversial and offending that it is difficult to even begin to break them down. He says on page 32 that, “in a few generations, monstrosities will disappear…uglier stocks will give way to the more handsome.” I just don’t really see how this would work out… Everyone in the world has different views about who or even what “handsome” is. Even people within the same “race” are attracted to different ‘types’. There is no universal ‘Handsome’.


However I do have to add that his idea for a single ‘race’ is “nice” I suppose. I mean he is arguing that everyone gets together “blends” the races, and we can all become one and live happily ever after.. Very nice. I guess what I mean is that at least he’s not calling for total elimination of any race by using violence.

Its all a very lovely idea I guess… except for all the problems with it. It’s idealistic and ultimately wouldn’t work. He continuously contradicts himself with talk of Atlantis and scientists. It seems like he says a lot but doesn’t really have much to back himself up with.


The second reading by Wade was also really interesting explaining the mestizaje as mixture, a mosaic, a patchwork quilt. The word ‘mestizaje’ means mixture. He uses the metaphor of the mosaic throughout. People who are mestizaje are able to identify and express whatever part of their background that they feel they identify with, or that they wish to present. 


I really enjoyed both of these articles, and I would like to write more on the second but I must study for my exam tomorrow. I was already late writing this blog because of my exam yesterday! I look forward to discussing these readings further in class on Thursday!





Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

I must admit, I enjoyed the first reading by Vasconcelos but struggled through the Wade article. While I feel that Vasconcelos is clearly somewhat of a mad-man, I was engaged in the text and continually wondering what he might say next. In his essay, “…


Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

I loved both of the pieces this week, not only because they were easier to grasp than previous weeks, but also because they both conveyed quite interesting perspectives of the meaning of mestizaje in Latin America.
The first piece ‘A Cosmic Race’ by Jose Vasconcelos, was actually quite a fun read. Written in 1948, it […]


Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestisaje

I found the first text quite long and too dense so I had some difficulties to remain concentrated while reading. On contrary, I really enjoyed reading the second one which was very clear and explained very well the different conceptions of « mestisaje ». It’s very interesting to compare these two texts.The first one is very optimistic, enthusiastic about mixture. It celebrates the cultural and spiritual mix generated by mestisaje but doesn’t analyze the different kinds of mestisaje contrary to the second one. According to Vasconcelos, mestisaje is a cultural wealth so he emphasizes the idea of inclusion but doesn’t refer to the reverse side explained by Wade: the exclusion of one of the two parts. A mix doesn’t mean that two parts are equally mixed, one could dominate on one another.

I found Wade’s article very interesting because it really analyzed the different faces of mestisaje so I would like to focus on it. The first idea one could have about mestisaje is a mix but Wade shows this mix is more complex. According to him it’s not rigid, it’s a lived experience and also a matter of perception. He develops three main issues: mestisaje as inclusive, exclusive and as different powers.
It’s inclusive insofar as mixture implies that theoretically no part predominates on the others. They are all mixed together in order to produce something else. Vasconcelos emphasizes this idea of creation of something new through the mix. However, Wade shows that sometimes one part could dominate or tuned attractive in relation to the other one. Mixed people have the choice to express one particular side of what they are. For Wade, blackness or indigenousness tend to be erased by whiteness because it is what is made attractive by the Latin American institutions so one part could be repressed that’s why it is exclusive. Being mestizo is an inside feeling but this feeling could be biased by both the political and societal institutions.

Finally, Wade uses the metaphor of a mosaic. A mosaic is an accumulation of different colors which are not mixed together. Thanks to this image he describes mestisaje as different and separated strengths, powers. Mestisaje doesn’t produce a new race but gives birth to people with multiple cultural backgrounds as assets.

I’m also a mixed-race people because my father is Cambodian and my mother is French so it was interesting to think what I felt about that, to try to find in which category I could be. I can’t say that my feelings correspond exactly to one particular category but I think I view my Cambodian legacy as an asset, a cultural wealth that‘s why I like turning attractive this aspect of me. I’m interested in the culture and the political situation. I can’t say I express my Cambodian part in my daily life or that I know what Cambodian people feel because my habits are totally European and I’ve never been to Cambodia however it’s a part of me, of my physical appearance.


Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizage

Mestizage Una de las lecturas de esta semana fue de un escritor mexicano, José Vasconcelos. Quizá para algunos la primera impresión de esta lectura fue que era sumamente racista. Para entrar en contexto con la lectura primero debemos conocer algunos…

Theories of Mixture

Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture

I found the Cosmic Race to be a bit offensive in the way it categorizes people by their color and stresses the mixture as something intrinsically important. Mostly it just seemed out of touch with what is real and off base with it’s presupposition that…

Magical Unrealism? Did Atlantis Exist?

Posted by: | February 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Magical Unrealism? Did Atlantis Exist?

I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like we’re reading some form of magical unrealism this week. I have a ton of problems with a lot of what he says, but I think we’re supposed to try and understand the idea of mestizaje he’s proposing. If that’s the case, I hope it […]


Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Mestizaje in my opinion is one of those things that most people refuse to talk about because they are afraid that they may offend someone. For the most part, these people are right, race in Latin America is still a very sensitive issue and racism is very much alive. Going trough some responses, for […]

Rethinking Mixing

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Rethinking Mixing

Originally when I started reading this weeks reading I was completely frustrated. The first reading I found very degrading and racist… I couldn’t see the point in reading it. Why were we studying this dominating ideological discourse and what purpose…

mestizaje unfolds: as a stage of mystic humankind ~ and a bodily experience that shapes personal identities

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on mestizaje unfolds: as a stage of mystic humankind ~ and a bodily experience that shapes personal identities

The Cosmic Race (by José Vasconcelos) and Rethinking Mestizaje (by Peter Wade)Starting with ‘The Cosmic Race’ the approach to the history of human civilization back to the Atlantean built a coherent thought of how dominant societies raise and collapse…


Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Throughout the first reading, it was apparent that Vasconcelos viewed the indigenous cultures as inferior to the Europeans and the mestizos. Much of his writing is devoted to predicting the formation of a ‘fifth race’, one that is the product of th…


Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Mixture theories: Mestizaje. I found both articles quite interesting but I think it should be noted that they are completely polar opinions. Despite disagreeing with most of the text from "The Cosmic Race" I found it very invigorating and passionately argued. I was not completely surprised by what they author had to say, even though it is very controversial. Jose Vasconcelos race thoughts could be the topic of many debates, but I enjoyed how much he had to say about it. He claims that Latin’s, who got their name from Spain and Portugal, are actually more Anglo-Saxon. Page five is a prime example of his even more out there thoughts, when he talks about the Christianity as being the civilized. One of his more passive looks at the sphere of race appears on page nine, when he talks about the 5th race coming. Jose believes that 4 races are prevalent in the world and that a new one that is a hybrid of the 4 is soon to come. This hopeful look at the world shows that he is optimistic on the future studies and realities of race.

Jose does focus on one race in particular, his own. He believes that the Latinos must come together and reclaim their unity to lead this push for this ultimate race. He says that in order to do this you do not have to destroy the dominate race but instead amalgamate them. He uses LA as a prime example of a homogenized city. Mixture, since colonization, has been a fundamental building block for much of Latin America as well as Latino’s, so this is why they should lead the brigade to create this synthesized race. Despite saying that because Latin’s are trying to destroy race, there is a clear undertone in Jose’s writing that give the feel of Latin American superiority. He says that Latin’s are the only race to have integrated all the races together, which is easily contestable or deniable.

I enjoyed the approach of the second reading more. I think that it is true that we need to talk about race as not a black or white picture but as a complex system. I also found it quite interesting the Mexico example the author gives. In which the indigenous people of South America are often left out of the national body, until the government finds use or excuse to put them into it.

Mestizaje: theories of racial difference

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje: theories of racial difference

After this week’s readings, I find myself asking, "what is our definition of race, anyway?"  I’m well aware that as conscientious university students we are not supposed to make judgments about people based on racial difference, but no one can tell me that assumptions about race don’t exist on UBC campus…not when I hear people raving about the success of Obama’s election or joking about having to compete with all the "Asian intellectuals."  So what is our definition of race? According to many academics, race is a social construct, not a biological truth–so why do we cling to it so fervently?  

The first article, "The Cosmic Race" by Jose Vasconcelos was surely shocking for many people.  I personally had a difficult time choking that article down, yet I think that it says a lot of important things about the way that we view race in contemporary times–after all, it was only written roughly 60 years ago.  Throughout Vasconcelo’s many disturbing generalizations about racial identity and biological difference I caught glimpses of underlying trends that I believe permeate our thoughts and  speech today.  One of the initial items that piqued my interest was the author’s assertions that the "red race" or the indigenous people of the Americas have degenerated from the "extraordinary flourishment" of "Atlantean" (whatever that is…) culture to the Aztec, Inca, Maya and, later, contemporary people today and are "totally unworthy of the ancient and superior culture" (9).  Wow, what a comment…But really, this concept of indigenous people persists in the minds of many scholars and laypeople today.  How many times have we heard of the "Maya decline" from the Classic period–deemed so based on the prevalence of writing, painting and other cultural symbols so valued by the West?  Or what about Vasconcelo’s assumptions about the inherent industriousness and "clarity of mind that resembles his skin and his dreams"(22).  Can we not see later vestiges of this in mid-twentieth century development theory which assumes that the economic domination of Europe and the U.S. over states in the Global South is due to a more "developed" or advanced (white) civilization?  While I found Vasconcelos’ article incredibly strange and a little difficult to stomach, I can’t say that his opinions reflect those of a fanatic, nor that they have left no legacy for future generations.

Which brings me to the second article we read by Peter Wade. I found Wade’s analysis of mestizaje very interesting, especially his arguments regarding the difference between academic/ideological mestizaje and the "lived experience" of mestizaje.  While I’m not sure if I totally agree that the discourse of mestizaje has so much potential for social inclusion, I do feel that this is an aspect that has generally been ignored.  And while I appreciate Wade’s use of the "mosaic" metaphor to describe national identities, I feel that this is too often the ideal and not the reality: again I refer back to my own experiences of racial discourses on UBC campus.  I’ve heard the "ethnic mosaic" line used to distinguish Canada’s approach to immigrant assimilation (in contrast to the "melting pot" of the U.S.) and I’m not really sure I buy it.  Anyway, I feel that there’s a lot more to say on this subject that could be included here, but I have a feeling that class discussion on the topic will open up all kinds of different perspectives, so I’ll leave it at that.  

Theories of Mixture: Mestizaje

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Mestizaje

The idea of a cosmic race seems very appealing.  The blending of the many different “races” to create one with a common goal seems almost like wishful thinking.  This entire idea seems impossible, but it has been happening for hundreds of years (many…

theories of mixture 1: metizaje

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on theories of mixture 1: metizaje

 This weeks topic of mestizaje was very interesting to read. I enjoyed both Jose Vasconcelos and Peter Wade’s essays. The topic alone of mestizaje is one of emotion and strong opinion and thought for many people. In Vascolcelos paper i found the facts…

Theories of mixture: mestizaje

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of mixture: mestizaje

The readings for this week are about mestizaje, an ideology of mixture in Latin America. The first one is old and obviously a little-outdated while the second is more recent and brings many of the questionable, naive arguments of the latter into a mor…

Theories of mixture I: MESTIZAJE

Posted by: | February 9, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of mixture I: MESTIZAJE

Mixture of cultures has been present since the earliest civilizations, and it seems that the mixture between similar races gives a better and more beneficial effect than the mixture of different races., for example the United States and Argentina are a…

The pernicious side of the term “mestizaje”

Posted by: | February 8, 2009 | Comments Off on The pernicious side of the term “mestizaje”

Before reading the text, I only consider the positive side of the term « mestizaje ». Indeed, I think that term implies that the two cultures are considered as equal and that their specificities are recognized. Nevertheless, throughout my reading, I understood that the term « mestizaje » is more complex. In fact, the mixing of people also implies […]


Posted by: | February 8, 2009 | Comments Off on Mestizaje

Theories of mixture I: Mestizaje In the first reading Jose Vasconcelos writes about different issues related to “race”. At the beginning he explains that even though the Latin American countries got their independence from the “Latins”(Spain an…

Theories of mixture; mestizaje

Posted by: | February 8, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of mixture; mestizaje

Before starting, I have to say that I found these two articles extremely interesting although they clearly arguing in favour of two very different opinions. Despite there are numerous points which I do not agree with, The Cosmic Race wri…

Theories of Mixture: Mestizaje

Posted by: | February 7, 2009 | Comments Off on Theories of Mixture: Mestizaje

I’ve covered the topic of “mestizaje” in my previous Latin American Studies course, and what I got out of previous discussions was that this idea of mestizaje is a complex topic. My perceived complexities of mestizaje were furthered confirmed after rea…

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