Diablos, machos, broncos and indios : the politics and poetics of history in northern Guerrero



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The tropes of the diablo, the macho, the indio and the bronco have served as a means by which the state of Guerrero, Mexico, has been discursively defined, both externally and internally. I employ a critical reading of these tropes in an analysis of several commemorative performances that characterize the historical imaginary of northern Guerrero. The heart of the study is a description and analysis of the Diablos of Telolopan, a tradition which is celebrated as part of the Fiestas Patrias, and commemorates local participation in Mexico’s War for Independence, 1810-1821. I compare this tradition with other regional commemorations, including alternative fiestas patrias, the Abrazo of Acatempan, and the Festival of Cuauhtémoc, arguing that commemorative performance forms part of a poetics of history which resists the imposition of national hegemonic historiography. I complement the study of local history-making with an analysis of the way in which space and memory come together in the practices that surround death in Teloloapan.