I am delighted to announce my acceptance of an invitation from Professor Matthew Watson and Dr. Chris Clarke, both at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, to deliver the first Annual Warwick Lecture in IPE, which will be given on 29 November. The event will be chaired by Dr. Phoebe Moore (Middlesex University), who is Convenor of the International Political Economy Group (IPEG) of the British International Studies Association (BISA), and Dr. Ian Bruff (University of Manchester), who is Chair of the Panel of Judges for theIPEG Annual Book Prize. My presentation draws on my latest book Revolution and State in Modern Mexico, which is now out in an updated paperback edition, as a springboard to analysing a critical political economy of the production of space. In order to do so, my focus is on how space is produced and reconstructed in Mexico City through civic monuments, with specific attention cast towards the Monument to the Revolution, completed in 1938.
Generally speaking, the political economy of modernity can be related to the spatial ordering of urban landscapes within capital cities that conjoins the specifics of national identity with common imitative processes. The issue of mimesis is promoted by architectural codifications, alongside other practices, in the sense that foreign ideas come to play a prominent role in the representation of space and in legitimating state power across various scales. Antonio Gramsci captured such sentiments through his understanding of the condition of passive revolution. Attention is therefore cast to both ‘vernacular architecture’ as well as cosmopolitan forms, linking Mexican-based architects and practices to nationalist aspirations and modernist ideological styles, as significant in the built expression of the political economy of the modern state.
The Monument to the Revolution is instructive due to the spatial practices linked to its status as one of Mexico’s most important historical commemorative sites as well as a site for significant protest, as witnessed not least in the most recent case of teachers affiliated to sections of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE: National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers) occupying Plaza de la República in which the Monument stands. My focus on the Monument to the Revolution, drawing from new and recently conducted archival research, will therefore reveal specific spatial practices in the state codification and political economy of architecture that have contributed to the reproduction of social relations and the construction of the modern state in Mexico. These can then be revealed as vital expressions, literally, in the architecture of passive revolution in the making of modern Mexico.
An audio recording of the talk will be made available after the lecture on the Warwick IPE group’s website here.
This is a re-post from Dr. Adam David Morton’s blog For the Desk Drawer. Dr. Adam David Morton is an Associate Professor and Co-Director and Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.