Launch Event for Natasha Varner’s La Raza Cosmética

Natasha Varner in conversation with María L.O. Muñoz to celebrate Varner’s new book, La Raza Cosmética: Beauty, Identity, and Settler Colonialism in Postrevolutionary Mexico with Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle.

When: Thursday, November 12, 7 p.m. MST

This is a free online event. Registration is required, please go here.

From Elliot Bay:

We have long had the pleasure of working with the multitalented activist and scholar Natasha Varner, Communications and Public Engagement Director at Densho, who joins us tonight to speak about her own work as an historian focusing on race, identity and settler colonialism in Mexico and the United States. She will speak about her new book, La Raza Cosmética: Beauty, Identity, and Settler Colonialism in Postrevolutionary Mexico (University of Arizona Press) with María L.O. Muñoz, author of Stand Up and Fight: Participatory Indigenismo, Populism, and Mobilization in Mexico, 1970–1984.

La Raza Cosmética uses popular visual culture, such as photography, film, mural art, and beauty pageants to critically examine constructions of Mexican identity. While the book focuses on the 1920s-40s, the author makes the case that many of the visual tropes created at that time still inform how Indigenous women are depicted today.

“Placing the visual politics of beauty at the center of a wide-ranging analysis, La Raza Cosmética reminds us that the racial politics and modernist designs of settler colonial nationalism depend on the presence of Indigenous women—and, in Mexico, of their simultaneous displacement by the logic of mestizaje. Drawing together subtle cultural interpretation, rich historical context, and deft theoretical insight, Natasha Varner has crafted a powerful and compelling narrative, one not to be missed.”—Philip J. Deloria, author of Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract

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