This article offers a close reading of two sites of memory in Oaxaca's Sierra Zapoteca: a community museum about mining in the region and the ruins of a giant textile factory. While the factory ruins are difficult to find and effectively hidden by the Zapotec peasants using the land for farming, the museum at Natividad is open to the public and celebrates the role of Zapotec miners in this industrial sector. Together, both of these sites reveal a Zapotec people's history of industrialization and the complicated nature of capitalism and ethnic identity. In addition to dealing with each site, the essay proposes that “sites of memory” require for their meaning interactions with people through bodily experiences based on movement, sight, and touch—a sensory experience that activates memory formation. Finally, the essay reflects the author's attempt to consider the violence of capitalism that remains largely hidden within each site.
Patrick J. McNamara; My Zapotec Museum: Violence, Capitalism, and Memory in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ethnohistory 1 October 2014; 61 (4): 671–679. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2717822
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