Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico's Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States (Politics and Culture in Modern America)

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9780812246209: Backroads Pragmatists: Mexico's Melting Pot and Civil Rights in the United States (Politics and Culture in Modern America)

Like the United States, Mexico is a country of profound cultural differences. In the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), these differences became the subject of intense government attention as the Republic of Mexico developed ambitious social and educational policies designed to integrate its multitude of ethnic cultures into a national community of democratic citizens. To the north, Americans were beginning to confront their own legacy of racial injustice, embarking on the path that, three decades later, led to the destruction of Jim Crow. Backroads Pragmatists is the first book to show the transnational cross-fertilization between these two movements.

In molding Mexico's ambitious social experiment, postrevolutionary reformers adopted pragmatism from John Dewey and cultural relativism from Franz Boas, which, in turn, profoundly shaped some of the critical intellectual figures in the Mexican American civil rights movement. The Americans Ruben Flores follows studied Mexico's integration theories and applied them to America's own problem, holding Mexico up as a model of cultural fusion. These American reformers made the American West their laboratory in endeavors that included educator George I. Sanchez's attempts to transform New Mexico's government agencies, the rural education campaigns that psychologist Loyd Tireman adapted from the Mexican ministry of education, and anthropologist Ralph L. Beals's use of applied Mexican anthropology in the U.S. federal courts to transform segregation policy in southern California.

Through deep archival research and ambitious synthesis, Backroads Pragmatists illuminates how nation-building in postrevolutionary Mexico unmistakably influenced the civil rights movement and democratic politics in the United States.

Published in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.

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About the Author:

Ruben Flores teaches American studies at the University of Kansas.

Review:

Flores' contribution is not simply the comparative approach he takes which convincingly traces the legacy of Mexican state policies as resonating beyond Mexico's northern border, nor is it the compelling narrative of friendships and intellectual relationships between social scientists in both the US and Mexico. In reminding us that intellectual networks can anticipate and be brokers for national change, Flores warns us against isolationist views of intellectual history.  - Zalfa Feghali, Review of Books, London School of Economics and Politics

Ruben Flores has written a startlingly original book about border-crossing theorists of education reform in Mexico and the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. In a work that represents transnational intellectual history at its best, rooted as deeply in the historiography of modern Mexico as in the US field, Flores reveals an unsuspected case of what might be called reverse modernization. We recognize Backroads Pragmatists as a major, stunning achievement. -Howard Brick, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, and Robert Westbrook at the Society for US Intellectual History

Backroads Pragmatists is an outstanding work that has broad application and relevance well beyond its Mexican-US context to scholars of studies of social reform, struggles over national membership, and political formation the world round as well as of borderlands and transnational history.    - Mark Overmyer-Velázquez (University of Connecticut), Hispanic American Historical Review

Flores's book powerfully reminds us of the central role academics played in determining state policy on issues of diversity and ethnic difference, the hemispheric contours of struggles for social justice in the United States and Mexico, and the intertwining of Mexican and U.S. history. It is an important work with profound lessons for Chicana/o, border, Mexican, and transnational American Studies.  - Luis Alvarez (UC San Diego), Western Historical Quarterly

In Backroads Pragmatists Ruben Flores weaves together an intriguing tale, exploring how postrevolutionary Mexico's grand experiments in educational and social reform became important sources of inspiration for a group of social scientists central to the civil rights movement in the American Southwest. This ambitious book traces the rich cross-border exchange between Mexican and American scholars who were looking for ways to manage diversity and social conflict.       Cybelle Fox (UC Berkeley), Journal of American History

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Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Like the United States, Mexico is a country of profound cultural differences. In the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), these differences became the subject of intense government attention as the Republic of Mexico developed ambitious social and educational policies designed to integrate its multitude of ethnic cultures into a national community of democratic citizens. To the north, Americans were beginning to confront their own legacy of racial injustice, embarking on the path that, three decades later, led to the destruction of Jim Crow. Backroads Pragmatists is the first book to show the transnational cross-fertilization between these two movements. In molding Mexico s ambitious social experiment, postrevolutionary reformers adopted pragmatism from John Dewey and cultural relativism from Franz Boas, which, in turn, profoundly shaped some of the critical intellectual figures in the Mexican American civil rights movement. The Americans Ruben Flores follows studied Mexico s integration theories and applied them to America s own problem, holding Mexico up as a model of cultural fusion. These American reformers made the American West their laboratory in endeavors that included educator George I. Sanchez s attempts to transform New Mexico s government agencies, the rural education campaigns that psychologist Loyd Tireman adapted from the Mexican ministry of education, and anthropologist Ralph L. Beals s use of applied Mexican anthropology in the U.S. federal courts to transform segregation policy in southern California. Through deep archival research and ambitious synthesis, Backroads Pragmatists illuminates how nation-building in postrevolutionary Mexico unmistakably influenced the civil rights movement and democratic politics in the United States. Published in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780812246209

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