Mapping Mexico: illustrated travel magazines of the 1950s
(University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will consider how Mexico/This Month created an imaginative geography of Mexico at the height of the so-called miracle by invoking, sustaining and contesting particular regimes of visual and discursive representation. It will attend above all to the function of the magazine’s centrefold maps.
Paper long abstract:
From the late 1920s onwards, the magazine played a key role in the efforts of Mexico's burgeoning tourist industry to lure the tourist dollar south, through both visualizing the country for potential visitors and counteracting prejudicial views of it circulating in the US press at the time. Indeed, magazines, which included photographs and maps, were deployed by state and private actors as a central part of the 'image-making machinery of tourism' (Thomson 2006): they ranged from the Department of Tourism's inaugural English-language brochure of 1929; William Furlong's monthly newsletter, 'The Furlong Service', during the 1930s; to the AMT's brochures of the post-WWII period when North-South travel benefited from increasingly 'neighbourly' geopolitical relations. Taking into account this context (which has already been well documented in the work of Berger 2006), this paper will consider the role and ramifications of the country's illustrated travel magazines in the 1950s, at the height of the so-called miracle. Focusing on the particular case of Mexico/This Month (est. 1955), this paper will consider how the magazine continued to fashion an imaginative geography of Mexico during this period of accelerated modernisation and growth by invoking, sustaining and contesting particular regimes of visual and discursive representation. In this respect, the paper will attend to the function of what would become in the early years of Mexico/This Month its trademark centrefold maps.
Visuality, illustrated popular magazines and modernity in Latin America