Peter Villella has provided a welcome addition to the scholarly literature with this longue durée intellectual-cultural history. North American Anglophone scholarship on indigenous histories of Latin America have focused heavily on responses to Spanish rule and Spanish culture. This book seeks to understand, rather, the multidirectional processes of identity formation—Spanish, indigenous, mestizo—in Mexico. In the author’s words, the book “is not a story of one-way memory transmission, but rather of resonance, dialogues, intersections and parallels. The cacique agenda of self-fashioning developed in tandem with creole historiography” (5). Solange Alberro explored similar themes—of the uses by creoles of a heroic indigenous past—in her works Del gachupin al criollo and El águila y la cruz. But Villella’s work is among the first English-language studies to provide a comprehensive analysis of the confluence of indigenous elite self-fashioning and creole constructions of a uniquely Mexican...

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