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Theresa Avila

Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar

Independent Scholar

Photo: Theresa  Avila

Theresa Avila received a Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar award in Summer 2013 to support research on Rebellion in the Archive: The Mexican Revolution in The University of New Mexico’s Latin American Collections. At the time of the award, Avila was an independent scholar and curator with a PhD in Art History from UNM.

Avila’s research emphasizes history, theory, and criticism of modern and contemporary Latin American Art with a concentration in Modern Mexican Art. At the time of her UNM residency, recent projects and publications included serving as co-editor for a forthcoming special issues of Third Text (2014) entitled "Art and The Legacies of the Mexican Revolution," and her dissertation on “Chronicles of Revolution and Nation: El Taller de Gráfica Popular's ‘Las Estampas de la Revolución Mexicana’” (2013), and "Zapata: Figure, Image, Symbol" (2007) as part of The University of New Mexico Latin American and Iberian Institute's Research Paper Series.

Title of Research : Rebellion in the Archive: The Mexican Revolution in The University of New Mexico’s Latin American Collections

While at UNM, Avila focused on the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and considered how, although extending only 10 years, the war’s legacy is an ongoing concept that has evolved over one hundred years, which frames and informs present day politics, struggles, and art in Mexico and beyond. The Revolution manifests in various forms, one being the archive. Due to its impressive and vast collections, the University of New Mexico is a key site for research of the history of Mexico. This project was the result of a focused investigation seeking visual material from the UNM Latin American Library Collections that stems from or is related to the Mexican Revolution. Material examined includes caricatures, photographs, graphic prints, posters, excerpts from news journals and publications, bulletins, and book covers. Who participated in the Mexican Revolution? What did life during the war look like? How was the rebellion remembered and constructed? What formats were engaged to invoke and disseminate information and narratives about the revolt, the ideas of revolutionaries, and to establish the pantheon of revolutionary leadership? How does post-war Mexico and Mexicans connect to their revolutionary past? This presentation addresses these questions and more. Themes and topics of particular focus are the social and political conditions in Mexico particularly related to the outbreak of the war, civil liberties and human rights, labor laws, access to education, the control of natural resources, the Mexican Revolution and the actors involved, nation building after the war, and the legacy of the insurgency.