Format and Medium

Photograph of a Pro-Nazi Demonstration in Mexico, Circa 1937

The format and medium of the presentation of these findings is particularly important to the conclusions this research draws. In historical research, scholars often implement images in various forms to support claims and develop evidence. However, in academic journals and texts, images get lost in appendices as mere decorations to the larger emphasis on text based primary sources and secondary scholarship. Part of what this project aims to do is utilize images as primary sources to their full potential and recognize their critical value as historical evidence. Therefore, throughout this project, the analysis of primary source images will drive the argument and answer to the research question. However, the limitations of primary images is also important to discerning an accurate historical narrative. As British geographer Gillian Rose points out, “[v]isual imagery is never innocent,” and is often produced and manipulated with specific perspectives and intentions that inevitably alter what the image portrays and how scholars perceive them (Rose, 23). In short, images are not magic windows into the past, but rather a lens into a unique interpretation of historical events. 

Throughout this project, I analyze photographs, pamphlets, and federally commissioned propaganda posters produced and at times distributed throughout Mexico between 1935 and 1943. This exhibit organizes the images chronologically and uses visual analysis along with secondary scholarship to determine what they reveal about the internal and external factors that shaped Mexico's attitudes toward Jewish refugees amid the global crisis in these critical years.