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Modernity at Gunpoint: Firearms, Politics, and Culture in Mexico and Central America (Pitt Illuminations)

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Modernity at Gunpoint provides the first study of the political and cultural significance of weaponry in the context of major armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America. In this highly original study, Sophie Esch approaches political violence through its most direct but also most symbolic tool: the firearm. In novels, songs, and photos of insurgency, firearms appear as Modernity at Gunpoint provides the first study of the political and cultural significance of weaponry in the context of major armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America. In this highly original study, Sophie Esch approaches political violence through its most direct but also most symbolic tool: the firearm. In novels, songs, and photos of insurgency, firearms appear as artifacts, tropes, and props, through which artists negotiate conceptions of modernity, citizenship, and militancy. Esch grounds her analysis in important rereadings of canonical texts by Martín Luis Guzman, Nellie Campobello, Omar Cabezas, Gioconda Belli, Sergio Ramirez, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and others. Through the lens of the iconic firearm, Esch relates the story of the peasant insurgencies of the Mexican Revolution, the guerrilla warfare of the Sandinista Revolution, and the ongoing drug-related wars in Mexico and Central America, to highlight the historical, cultural, gendered, and political significance of weapons in this volatile region.


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Modernity at Gunpoint provides the first study of the political and cultural significance of weaponry in the context of major armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America. In this highly original study, Sophie Esch approaches political violence through its most direct but also most symbolic tool: the firearm. In novels, songs, and photos of insurgency, firearms appear as Modernity at Gunpoint provides the first study of the political and cultural significance of weaponry in the context of major armed conflicts in Mexico and Central America. In this highly original study, Sophie Esch approaches political violence through its most direct but also most symbolic tool: the firearm. In novels, songs, and photos of insurgency, firearms appear as artifacts, tropes, and props, through which artists negotiate conceptions of modernity, citizenship, and militancy. Esch grounds her analysis in important rereadings of canonical texts by Martín Luis Guzman, Nellie Campobello, Omar Cabezas, Gioconda Belli, Sergio Ramirez, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and others. Through the lens of the iconic firearm, Esch relates the story of the peasant insurgencies of the Mexican Revolution, the guerrilla warfare of the Sandinista Revolution, and the ongoing drug-related wars in Mexico and Central America, to highlight the historical, cultural, gendered, and political significance of weapons in this volatile region.

10 review for Modernity at Gunpoint: Firearms, Politics, and Culture in Mexico and Central America (Pitt Illuminations)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I primarily read this as an example of cultural-studies methodology and academic-writing structure, and it was fascinating for both purposes. The actual content of the argument isn't hugely interesting to me but I learned a TON from this. I primarily read this as an example of cultural-studies methodology and academic-writing structure, and it was fascinating for both purposes. The actual content of the argument isn't hugely interesting to me but I learned a TON from this.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Morgan

  3. 4 out of 5

    Camilo

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meg

  5. 4 out of 5

    Soph

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eko Marzuki

  7. 5 out of 5

    pplofgod

  8. 4 out of 5

    Breanna S

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Pancerella

  10. 5 out of 5

    G

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