Joshua Mentanko

Joshua Mentanko's picture

I am interested in racial thought and the politics of social reproduction in the Americas. My dissertation is titled “Making Medicine Traditional: Racial Thought and Health Politics in Modern Mexico.” In it, I seek to show how racial thought in twentieth-century Mexico changed between an economic development agenda which was hostile to traditional medicine in the 1950s and 1960s, to one which openly promoted the “opportunities” of indigenous people’s medical knowledge and resources in the 1980s. By paying attention to the role of gender and race in the everyday politics of health care provided by the Mexican state and delivered by indigenous medical staff to their communities, I also contribute to our knowledge of how economic modernization initiatives were signified and their resources redeployed for contrary ends by people in local communities. More broadly, the numerous transnational links in ideas, people, and institutions that I bring into my analysis make it a useful case study to understand global changes on the questions of health and development in the late twentieth century.

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