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A History of Infamy

Crime, Truth, and Justice in Mexico

Pablo Piccato (Author)

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ISBN: 9780520966079
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A History of Infamy explores the broken nexus between crime, justice, and truth in mid-twentieth-century Mexico. Faced with the violence and impunity that defined politics, policing, and the judicial system in post-revolutionary times, Mexicans sought truth and justice outside state institutions. During this period, criminal news and crime fiction flourished. Civil society’s search for truth and justice led, paradoxically, to the normalization of extrajudicial violence and neglect of the rights of victims. As Pablo Piccato demonstrates, ordinary people in Mexico have made crime and punishment central concerns of the public sphere during the last century, and in doing so have shaped crime and violence in our times.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION: A NATIONAL HISTORY OF INFAMY

PART ONE: SPACES

1 • FROM TRANSPARENCY TO DARKNESS: JUSTICE AND PUBLICITY IN THE MIRROR OF CRIMINAL JURIES
2 • A LOOK AT THE CRIME SCENE: THE NOTA ROJA AND THE PUBLIC PURSUIT OF TRUTH

PART TWO: ACTORS

3 • LOST DETECTIVES: POLICEMEN, TORTURE, LEY FUGA
4 • HORRIBLE CRIMES: MURDERERS AS AUTHORS
5 • CAREFUL GUYS: PISTOLEROS AND THE BUSINESS OF POLITICS

PART THREE: FICTIONS

6 • OUR TIMES, OUR PERSPECTIVES: THE EMERGENCE OF MEXICAN CRIME FICTION
7 • OUR MODELS OF DREAD: CRIME AS REVENGE, JUSTICE, AND ART
CONCLUSION: TRYING TO KEEP OUR EYES OPEN

APPENDIX: QUANTITATIVE EVIDENCE ABOUT CRIME IN MEXICO IN THE LAST CENTURY
ABBREVIATIONS FOR ARCHIVAL SOURCES
NOTES
INDEX
PICCATO
Pablo Piccato teaches Latin American history at Columbia University. He studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the University of Texas at Austin. His books include City of Suspects: Crime in Mexico City, 1900–1931 and The Tyranny of Opinion: Honor and the Construction of the Mexican Public Sphere.

"This is a highly original, important, and compelling contribution to the history of modern Mexico specifically and to the history of crime and punishment more generally. Pablo Piccato's broad range of primary sources is remarkable, as is his thoughtful engagement with scholarship from an equally broad range of disciplines."— Robert Buffington, Professor of Women and Gender Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder

"A History of Infamy is one of the first studies to address the critical questions of crime and punishment in twentieth-century Mexico. More than a simple critique of state fecklessness in the administration of justice, it is a study in the expression of critical public opinion and the making of civil society. A History of Infamy is a highly original and timely contribution to our understanding of a country currently plagued by the very problems and promises the book addresses."— Mary Kay Vaughan, author of Portrait of a Young Painter: Pepe Zuñiga and Mexico City's Rebel Generation

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