Tag Archives: Mexico City

Ecatepec as Mexico City’s Peripheral Edge

CLACS Blog 1

Hank Gonzles neighborhood in Ecatepec, Mexico State (Nidia Bautista)

Posted by Nidia Bautista – MA Candidate in Global Journalism and CLACS at NYU

Sitting in a cafe in the heart of Mexico City, my source, a high school teacher and organizer working in Ecatepec, Mexico State (Edomex), describes the most populous municipality in the country as a perfect example of the peripheral edge. Ecatepec is the periphery, he says, abundant in neoliberalism’s human waste and a place especially dangerous for women.

He has been organizing youth in Ecatepec to denounce feminicide through performance and protest for years and after initially talking via telephone we agree to meet in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico. As one of my first interviews upon starting my reporting, I felt safe conducting the interview in a neighborhood I’m very familiar with. I’ve spent over three years studying, working and reporting in Mexico City. Navigating the city comes easy for me and despite reports that the violence that’s plagued the rest of the country for years is now more visible in the capital, I have always felt comfortable traveling the city by myself. I have learned to be a fearless, confident, and street-savvy denizen in Mexico City.

This familiarity however was confined to the borders of the city and before this research trip I had traveled to Mexico State only a handful of times. Among other challenges, I have confronted the fear and uncertainty that comes with learning to navigate an unfamiliar and difficult transit system and asserting myself as a woman journalist in one of the most dangerous places for women in the country.

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Confidences in La Lagunilla Market: Tracing the Untold Story of Female Magazines in Mid-Century Mexico

Posted by Alejandra Vela- PhD Student at Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, NYU

Mexican Miracle was the name given to the years that extend from 1940 to 1970 in Mexican recent history. Years of development, industry and a strong economy, Mexico was in a moment of unprecedented growth. Within this growth and restructuring of the country, the role of women was gradually modified: she went from being the selfless mother, housewife, concentrated in domestic work, to, as early as the early seventies, the working woman, the informed student, reader of feminist texts that came from France, the United States, or Spain. In the middle of this story there are many key moments. In the late forties the University City was inaugurated, which would allow a greater number of students (among them many women) to get in the country’s “máxima casa de estudios”; in 1955, Mexican women exercised the right to vote for the first time, and in the 1960s the contraceptive pill began to be commercialized. The journals, specifically addressed to women, published throughout these decades constitute a great barometer for measuring these changes.

Precisely because these are limited editorial and textual spaces (a literary genre dedicated to a specific gender), they allow us to delve into the ways in which not only the publishers, but also the subjects who consumed these cultural products were negotiating their presence and permanence in the public domain. This was the scenario before which I decided to embark on the search for these magazines, rarely preserved by their fragility and tendency to disappear, but also largely ignored for being considered frivolous, banal, “cursis”, women’s things that have no literary or academic value.

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Street Food in Mexico City: The Dirty, The Clean, The Tasty

Hayden - Mexico - Fruit juice stand in Mexico City

Fruit Juice Stand in Mexico City

One of the first impressions that I had of Mexico City upon coming here for the first time, seven years ago was that the metropolis was saturated with food.  In addition to grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes of all types, the streets themselves teem with places to eat. White metal stands line the sidewalks near major and minor thoroughfares, selling sandwiches, fresh fruits and juices, tacos, and antojitos (corn-based snacks such as quesadillas and tostadas).  Other vendors come early in the morning and set up tarps, coal-fired griddles, and a few plastic stools on street corners in residential and commercial areas, where they sell tacos, antojitos, and tamales.  Still other vendors are fully mobile, pushing carts, riding bicycles, or carrying baskets to ply their wares, often yelling out the types of products they have on offer (churros, roasted sweet potatoes, sandwiches, tamales, corn on the cob, sweet breads, tacos de canasta) as they weave their way through the city.  Street food, or comida callejera, certainly exists in other countries, but in Mexico it is particularly vibrant, omnipresent, and embraced as a part of the national identity.  People from most walks of life frequent street food stands, at least periodically, and many people depend on their products for affordable, nutritious daily meals.  Yet the majority of street food vendors, despite their iconic status and importance in the urban food landscape, exist precariously in the informal sector, where they are regularly declared to be problems by politicians and city residents alike.  Vendedores ambulantes (or mobile vendors) are commonly criticized in terms of public health, waste disposal, tax evasion, corruption, use of public space, or quality of life.  As an anthropologist, I am interested in the implications of these contradictory rhetorics and practices around street food for Mexicans, as consumers, vendors, and political actors. Continue reading