Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Friday, October 24, 2014

#FridayReads: ¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico by Marie Gaytán

Italy has grappa, Russia has vodka, Jamaica has rum. Around the world, certain drinks—especially those of the intoxicating kind—are synonymous with their peoples and cultures. For Mexico, this drink is tequila. 

For many, tequila can conjure up scenes of body shots on Cancún bars and coolly garnished margaritas on sandy beaches. Its power is equally strong within Mexico, though there the drink is more often sipped rather than shot, enjoyed casually among friends, and used to commemorate occasions from the everyday to the sacred. Despite these competing images, tequila is universally regarded as an enduring symbol of lo mexicano.

¡Tequila! Distilling the Spirit of Mexico traces how and why tequila became and remains Mexico's national drink and symbol. Starting in Mexico's colonial era and tracing the drink's rise through the present day, Marie Sarita Gaytán reveals the formative roles played by some unlikely characters. 

Although the notorious Pancho Villa was a teetotaler, his image is now plastered across the labels of all manner of tequila producers—he's even the namesake of a popular brand. Mexican films from the 1940s and 50s, especially Western melodramas, buoyed tequila's popularity at home while World War II caused a spike in sales within the whisky-starved United States. 

Today, cultural attractions such as Jose Cuervo's Mundo Cuervo and the Tequila Express let visitors insert themselves into the Jaliscan countryside—now a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site—and relish in the nostalgia of pre-industrial Mexico.

Our understanding of tequila as Mexico's spirit is not the result of some natural affinity but rather the cumulative effect of U.S.-Mexican relations, technology, regulation, the heritage and tourism industries, shifting gender roles, film, music, and literature. Like all stories about national symbols, the rise of tequila forms a complicated, unexpected, and poignant tale. 

By unraveling its inner workings, Gaytán encourages us to think critically about national symbols more generally, and the ways in which they both reveal and conceal to tell a story about a place, a culture, and a people. In many ways, the story of tequila is the story of Mexico.

Marie Sarita Gaytán is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

NYC Invite: American Bar Association's Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities Event




The American Bar Association's Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities will be hosting an event focused on a landmark desegregation case, Mendez v. Westminster (1947).
 
It is the fascinating true story of a Japanese farming family from California sent to an American internment camp during World War II and the Mexican-Puerto Rican family who leased their farm. When the Mendez family tried to enroll their children in the local school, they were denied access due to anti-Mexican segregation laws! The Mendez family became lead plaintiffs in a successful class action lawsuit on behalf of Latinos who were denied the right to a public education.

Thurgood Marshall provided an amicus curiae brief in Mendez that contained the arguments he would later make in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).  In fact, following the Mendez decision, then California Governor Earl Warren signed a law repealing all remaining segregation laws within the state. Later, as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, he wrote the Brown opinion which repealed "separate but equal" schools as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

This event will include a conversation between Janice Munemitsu, whose family owned the farm, and Sylvia Mendez who was one of the children denied enrollment. CNN Legal Analyst Asunción “Sunny” Hostin will moderate. Filmmaker Sandra Robbie will show excerpts from her Emmy Award-winning documentary on the subject titled For All Chrildren/Para Todos Los Niños. Children’s book author Winifred Conkling will sign free copies* of her book on the subject, Sylvia and Aki.

There will be a reception with complimentary food and refreshments. The event is free of charge.

If you wish to attend this historic event the details are as follows:

Tuesday June 5th at 5:30-8:00

McNally Amphitheatre/Fordham University Law School

160 West 62nd Street New York, NY

RSVP: CHLRR@americanbar.org 



 
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