The Mexican Revolution (1910-20) unleashed modern industrialized warfare in the Americas and previewed the Great War in Europe. The machine gun, trench warfare, aerial bombardment, long-range artillery and other technologies produced more than a million dead and hundreds of thousands of refugees. During a decade of multi-party civil war, there was little discernable difference between the battlefield and the homefront, and between combatants and non-combatants. The Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations played a negligible role, and homegrown analogs remain neck-deep in partisan and ideological mire. Meanwhile, legions of photographers and journalists captured the aftermath of battles and Mexico earned a dark reputation for the mistreatment of civilians and the killing of prisoners on a massive scale. Despite the devastation and a vast and rich historiography that has privileged the Revolution in many different registers, there is almost nothing in the scholarship about the ensuing transition to civilian life (as such) or the legacy of witnessing and experiencing violence up close and personal. There are hints in the political history of women who made claims based on their service as soldiers, spies, and partisans. The same is true in histories of crime and corruption where rogue military men participated in some of the more sensational cases. But, entire categories like shell shock, orphanhood, and interpersonal violence that have defined much of our interpretation of the aftermath of contemporary conflicts in other places, remain unexplored.
The idea is not to take violence out of social context, but rather to enrich that social context with transformative subjective experiences. In so doing it should facilitate of the application of social theoretical approaches that incorporate affective dimensions of social experience to Mexican History, without drifting into behaviorism. Just as important, it should create a framework for the explicit, substantive comparison of Mexicos experience of organized violence with that of others, rather than the implicit normative comparison that creeps into much of the scholarship, and which persistently relegates Mexico to failure and anti-model.
To this end, the organizers solicit papers situating the Mexican Revolution in two different chronologies.
First, the panel will trace the development of institutions that channeled and shaped the experience of war in Mexico through papers examining the following
Civilians, prisoners of war, and the law of armed conflict
Military doctors and medicine
Military and criminal justice
Prostitution, gambling, and barracks culture
Second, the panel will examine the legacies of Revolutionary violence in everyday life in post-Revolutionary Mexico, thought papers exploring the following kinds of repercussions of war:
Post-conflict trauma and mental health
Orphanhood and juvenile delinquency
Rape and abortion
Gun ownership and culture
Veterans organizations and politics
Paramilitary and private security forces
Paper proposals should include: an abstract of no more than 300 words, and an academic biography of no more than 250 words (which may include a link to an online c.v.). All panelists must be members in good standing of the AHA and CLAH.
Please send paper proposals via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by February 4, 2011.
Draft papers for pre-circulation will be due November 30, 2012.
The University of California, San Diego
Department of History
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0104
La Jolla, CA 92093
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