Mónica M. Salas Landa, “Visible Ruins: The Politics of Perception and the Legacies of Mexico’s Revolution” (U Texas Press, 2024)

The Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) introduced a series of state-led initiatives promising modernity, progress, national grandeur, and stability; state surveyors assessed land for agrarian reform, engineers used nationalized oil for industrialization, archaeologists reconstructed pre-Hispanic monuments for tourism, and anthropologists studied and photographed Indigenous populations to achieve their acculturation. Far from accomplishing their stated goals, however, these initiatives concealed violence, and permitted land invasions, forced displacement, environmental damage, loss of democratic freedom, and mass killings. 

In Visible Ruins: The Politics of Perception and the Legacies of Mexico’s Revolution (University of Texas Press, 2024), Mónica M. Salas Landa uses the history of northern Veracruz to demonstrate how these state-led efforts reshaped the region’s social and material landscapes, affecting what was and is visible. Relying on archival sources and ethnography, she uncovers a visual order of ongoing significance that was established through postrevolutionary projects and that perpetuates inequality based on imperceptibility.

Mónica M. Salas Landa is an Associate Professor of anthropology and sociology at Lafayette College.

Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press).

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