Oberlin College and Conservatory

Liberalism as Illness in 19th Century México

Monday, April 16, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Spanish House (La Casa Hispanica; Harvey House)
96 South Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

On two occasions, during the Mexican Reform War (1857-60) and the French Intervention (1862-67), Benito Juárez’s liberal administration, defeated and displaced, became an archive on wheels. Moving from town to town to avoid capture, the black stagecoach that carried Juárez and his followers came to be known in the conservative press as “la familia enferma” (“the sick family”)

Using “la familia enferma” as a beginning point, in this talk Ty West will explore how conservative writers countered liberal dogmatism, moving beyond debates over religion and property, through an engagement with questions of the visibility of power and how the notion of aimless progress invades and infects the national body. West is an assistant professor of Modern Languages at Saint Mary College

The talk is based on a group of understudied texts by conservative Mexican authors, including articles that appeared in La Sociedad, the combative Catholic newspaper published during the late 1850’s; La quinta modelo (1857), a short novel by José María Roa Bárcena (1827-1908) published serially in La Cruz; and La Familia Enferma, a calendar published by fervent conservative and unabashed monarchist Ignacio Aguilar y Marocho. 

Event Type



Academic, Hispanic Studies, History, Latin American Studies

Contact Person

Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón

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