This book presents a spatial history of modern Mexico. Using materials from various archival sources, Raymond Craib pieces together several narratives to illustrate the ongoing, yet never completed, creation of Mexico as a socially constructed reality. He thus follows in the footsteps of scholars like Derek Sayer and James Scott, and the expression “state fixations” in the title immediately brought to mind Scott’s book Seeing Like a State. It came as no surprise to learn that Craib spent time at Yale’s Centre for Agrarian Studies. What makes Cartographic Mexico unique is that it focuses on the long and arduous task of surveying Mexico’s varied terrain in order to establish clear land boundaries, as well as administrative borders. As its title indicates, the book shows that this process was not a straightforward technical undertaking.

State fixations refers to the process of codifying the Mexican landscape in order to facilitate tax...

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