1968 Mexico

Constellations of Freedom and Democracy

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: Published: August 2018

Author: Susana Draper

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies > Mexico, Theory and Philosophy > Feminist Theory

Recognizing the fiftieth anniversary of the protests, strikes, and violent struggles that formed the political and cultural backdrop of 1968 across Europe, the United States, and Latin America, Susana Draper offers a nuanced perspective of the 1968 movement in Mexico. She challenges the dominant cultural narrative of the movement that has emphasized the importance of the October 2nd Tlatelolco Massacre and the responses of male student leaders. From marginal cinema collectives to women’s cooperative experiments, Draper reveals new archives of revolutionary participation that provide insight into how 1968 and its many afterlives are understood in Mexico and beyond. By giving voice to Mexican Marxist philosophers, political prisoners, and women who participated in the movement, Draper counters the canonical memorialization of 1968 by illustrating how many diverse voices inspired alternative forms of political participation. Given the current rise of social movements around the globe, in 1968 Mexico Draper provides a new framework to understand the events of 1968 in order to rethink the everyday existential, political, and philosophical problems of the present.


"Draper's study is probably of greatest interest to scholars of social studies and Mexican cultural studies. A thorough bibliography and an index enhance the text's scholarly utility. . . . Recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above." — J. S. Bottaro, Choice

"The student of the 1968 events in Mexico will find Draper’s framing of the movement instructive. . . . Draper refocuses attention on those whose participation in the protests had a profound effect on the way they perceived social justice, organizing, and their relationship to the state." — Matthew Maletz, H-1960s, H-Net Reviews

"1968 Mexico should be considered among the most important books written on the period. . . . Draper’s powerful critical analysis of ’68 is crucial for a reframing of our understanding of this seminal movement and time." — Enrique C. Ochoa, H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews

"Mexico 1968 wants to redirect our thinking about the past away from the assessment of failures and successes in terms of causes and effects, and towards the spaces it opens up for thought and action. Draper enters the texts of her corpus—in Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s terms—to speak from inside; she appropriates and further develops the modes of thinking that she analyzes. In doing so, she offers a valuable model for transdisciplinary cultural studies work that seeks to move beyond a descriptive mode of inquiry." — Anne Freeland, Marginalia

"Draper’s most interesting contributions to our understanding of 1968 as a democratizing event refer to processes that reveal the pedagogical foundations of a rethinking of freedom and democracy." — Ella Dixon, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research

 “Draper’s book is original, theoretically provocative, and often moving.”

— Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh, Social Movement Studies

1968 Mexico is a philosophical masterwork by a skilled writer, researcher, and thinker.”

— Susana Draper, Labor

"Historians will find Draper's work a useful challenge to more traditional accounts of Mexico's era of student activism." — Suzanne B. Pasztor, American Historical Review

"Part historical investigation, part philosophical essay, Susana Draper's work consists of a scattering of protagonists, voices and concepts that she unifies around the idea of 'encounter' and a reflection about freedom as a brief intensity that arises in the midst of repression and imprisonment." — Camille Gapenne, Bulletin of Latin American Research

"Appealing to the figure of the encounter as a light that flashes and crystallizes different memories of the movement, [Draper's] project illuminates unexpected connections by tracing critical constellations between instants of collective freedom in the dialectics between the open past and the present." — Christina Soto van der Plas, Revista de Estudios HIspanicos

"Draper does not set out to be a  historian, but rather to theorize the political from and through history. The lessons she draws about the power of the micropolitical, shifts in individual consciousness and lived experience vis-à-vis the other (or ethics), and the perception of new temporalities outside those of history–literal or otherwise—speak not to one event or even one moment in history, but rather to our understanding of what the struggle for new worlds meant, means, and could mean in the future." — Laura Isabel Serna, The Americas

"1968 Mexico is an excellent work that pushes our understanding of the 1968 student-popular movement in Mexico by highlighting voices and discourses that have largely remained on the margins for more than fifty years.…Students and specialists in the field should certainly consult [Draper's] work if they wish to learn more about Mexico's 1968 experience from diverse viewpoints." — Sofia Paiva de Araujo and David S. Dalton, The Latin Americanist

“At once creative and philosophical, poetic and scholarly, Susana Draper’s powerful new book on the long-term and often hidden effects of the watershed year of 1968 in Mexico will no doubt be the most original and forceful reinterpretation of any of the global ’68s.” — Bruno Bosteels, author of Philosophies of Defeat: The Jargon of Finitude

“Creating a new environment to rethink the events of ’68, Susana Draper shows how 1968 is not merely a year nor an event, but a ‘constellation’ of events, practices, values, affects, identities, and positions. 1968 Mexico invites us to redefine the Global Sixties.” — Graciela Montaldo, coeditor of The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics


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Price: $26.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Susana Draper is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University and author of Afterlives of Confinement: Spatial Transitions in Postdictatorship Latin America.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xv
Introduction. The Movement of 1968  1
1. The Philosophical and Literary Configuration of '68: José Revueltas on Cognitive Democracy and Self-Management  35
2. The Effects of '68 on Cinema: The Image as a Place of Political Intervention  91
3. Where are the Women of '68? Fernanda Navarro and the Materialism of Uncomfortable Encounters  127
4. Remembrances from the Women's Prison and the Popular Preparatory:
Of Freedom and Imprisonment by Roberta "La Tital"
Avendaño and Ovarimony by Gladys López Hernández  157
Conclusion. '68 After Ayotzinapa  191
Notes  199
Bibliography  229
Index  245

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0143-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0101-0
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