This project grew out of my dissertation, Between Repression and Heroism: Young People’s Politics in Post-1968 Mexico City. It examines a relay between memory of 1968 in Mexico City and political geographies of young people, specifically how and in what spaces young people today practice politics in central Mexico.
Mexico City hosted the Olympics in 1968. But residents of the city typically invoke the year to refer specifically to a 1968 student movement that demanded freedom of speech and assembly in the face of an increasingly repressive regime’s single-minded pursuit of development in the last decades of the ‘The Mexican Miracle.’ On October 2, 1968, forces aligned with the government violently dispersed an activist meeting in Tlatelolco (northern Mexico City), killing more than 300 of the people who had converged in a plaza.
Between Repression and Heroism draws from my fieldwork since 2010 to argue that, for young people in Mexico City, the categories through which 1968 is popularly remembered are both a resource and an obstacle for political engagement. Published writing from this project (e.g., in Political Geography, ACME, and the edited book Protest Camps in International Context) suggests that popular commemoration of state repression in 1968 offers young people access to politics but also delimits, and even polices, what it means for young people in Mexico City to be political.
I aim to publish Between Repression and Heroism as a book, broken into chapters as follows:
- Young people’s politics after the second erasure of 1968
- Enacting student movement space
- The non-student ‘student,’ the state, and ‘true politics’
- Student activism and the ‘police state’ after 1968
- Memory work and the disruption of repression-heroism
- Conclusion: For Another Critique of the Pyramid