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Visual Narratives of Religious Violence in Post-Revolutionary Mexico 1
Visual Narratives of Religious Violence in Post-Revolutionary Mexico 1

Mexico’s bloody Cristero War (1926-1929) saw Catholic partisans rise up against the anti-clerical policies of President Plutarco Elías Calles. Although the conflict officially came to a close in 1929, the introduction of a socialist education programme in 1934 sparked a wave of Catholic violence against federal teachers known as the “Segunda Cristiada” (1934–1938).

These struggles played out as much in the realm of images and symbols as they did through real-world violence. This talk will explore the competing visual narratives of religious and revolutionary martyrdom that emerged from these periods of conflict by analysing the works of revolutionary artists alongside examples of Cristero visual propaganda.

Focusing on murals and prints by Leopoldo Méndez, Aurora Reyes and Alfredo Zalce, it will discuss the role of artists in Mexico’s religious conflicts and the complex and often contradictory ways in which they turned to Catholic and even Cristero strategies of visual representation to construct images of revolutionary identity.

Lucy O’Sullivan

About the author

Lucy O’Sullivan

Lucy is an Assistant Professor in Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham where her research focuses on Mexican visual and cultural studies. She is currently working on her second book which re-examines Mexico’s religious conflicts of the early post-revolutionary period through the lens of visual culture. Her first book Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo: Post-revolutionary Body Politics (1922-1965) (2022) comparatively examined contrasting representations of the body in the works of Diego Rivera and Juan Rulfo to trace changing interpretations of post-revolutionary nationhood in Mexico from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Event details

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