Glitter, Grit, and Graphics: How do the gold and the gold market look from the perspective of a historic Mexican mining city?
The central Mexican city of Guanajuato, like Zacatecas (home of Spanish New Mexico's founder, the silver-mining Juan de Oñate), was founded as a mining town, primarily of silver, but also gold. In the eighteenth century, its mines were the world’s leading producers of silver and it was the center of a complex and cosmopolitan economy, called “the first economic world system” by the eminent Spanish-Mexican anthropologist Angel Palerm. The city’s fortunes have waxed and waned with global metals markets for hundreds of years. In the 1990s, this seemed a fading history, and the city sought to make a transition, common to mining areas, from silver and gold to the memory of silver and gold and to the practices of heritage surrounding that memory. However, the precious metals boom from 2005 to the present has changed the view of gold as a present reality. In this JAR Distinguished Lecture, I explore how Guanajuatenses, miners and others view the recent gold market, and how it affects their sense of the city’s history and self-conception. The case of Guanajuato provides insight into how changing values of precious metal commodities affect the places around the world (including New Mexico) from which those commodities come, in complex social and material ways.
Dr. Eizaeth Ferry (Anthropology Ph.D. and M.A. from Johns Hopkins University; B.A. cum laude from Columbia University) is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. She is author or author/editor of four books on commodities in Mexico, author of 15 journal articles and book chapters, as well as of numerous book reviews, comments, popular publications or blogs, and poems. She has presented lectures and papers at many universities and professional meetings in the U.S., Latin America & Europe.
Both events are free, wheelchair-accessible, and open to the public. The UNM Anthropology Building is immediately east of Redondo Road between M.L. King and Las Lomas. If you do not have a UNM parking permit, to avoid a ticket, please park in a metered space adjacent to the Maxwell Museum on Redondo or on Las Lomas at Redondo, just east of University Blvd.
The Journal of Anthropological Research has been published quarterly by the University of New Mexico in the interest of general anthropology since 1945. To subscribe, visit www.journals.uchicago.edu/JAR
Lawrence G. Straus, Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor Emeritus/Editor-in-Chief