Who belonged in the past — and who in the future — of a modern nation? As the three essays in this issue make clear, contests over the definition and protection of national patrimony recurred across Latin America at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. Those who wished to narrow or broaden the bounds of inclusion in the evolving republics had to make their case with reference to biological and cultural inheritance understood as national in scope. Which immigrants could be admitted, and with what consequences? Which Indians merited a voice, or a vote? Whose biological reproduction should states facilitate? Whose cultural production should states claim as their own?

As Christina Bueno demonstrates in “Forjando Patrimonio: The Making of Archaeological Patrimony in Porfirian Mexico,” Porfirian intellectuals countered North Atlantic assessments of Mexicans as racially inferior and...

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