The editorial committee of Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos is pleased to announce the award for best article by an early-career scholar published in 2020-2021. The award aims to recognize contributions of the highest academic quality in the multidisciplinary field of Mexican studies for the originality of their topics, theoretical perspectives, and/or methodological strategies. In addition to the one award for best article, one honorable mention has also been recognized. Early-career scholars who have obtained a doctorate within the last five years and published an article in MS/EM during 2020-2021 were eligible for the award.
First place: Marjolein Van Bavel, “Morbo, lucha libre, and Television: The Ban of Women Wrestlers from Mexico City in the 1950s.”
The committee selected Van Bavel’s article as the winning entry due to the originality of the topic, rigorous bibliography, and incorporation of multiple research methods including oral history and analysis of print culture. The article deftly treats the various intertwining factors in order to analyze the phenomenon of female luchadoras and the ways in which they were intentionally made invisible by multiple social actors for whom their existence was problematic. The article addresses the history of sport, media history, demographic shifts, and the history of Mexico City to explain how luchadoras emerged and the reasons why they were perceived to challenge dominant attitudes regarding proper masculinity, femininity, and entertainment fit for family consumption. Van Bavel’s piece does an excellent job of illustrating how the female wrestlers were a significant phenomenon that illuminates the expectations and limitation put upon Mexican women in the mid-twentieth century when their presence in the public sphere was becoming more visible and, therefore, was also met with social and cultural anxieties.
You can read both a Q&A with Marjolein Van Bavel and her article, “Morbo, lucha libre, and Television: The Ban of Women Wrestlers from Mexico City in the 1950s,” for free online.
Honorable mention: José Ignacio Lanzagorta García, “La conquista de la Glorieta de Insurgentes de la Ciudad de México: lo abyecto en los procesos de gentrificación.”
The committee found that Lanzagorta García’s article is deserving of the honorable mention because it skillfully presents the Glorieta de Insurgentes roundabaout as a meaningful space in which classed and gendered sociabilities are negotiated vis-à-vis dominant business and political interests. The article does an excellent job of illustrating how the Glorieta came to constitute a problem in the view of middle- and upper-class city dwellers after its creation in the late 1960s and why has been blamed for the perceived decline of the once-fashionable Zona Rosa. The article perceptively points to a bifurcation between forms of LGBT+ sociabilities that are perceived acceptable and decent, and those that are treated as abject—a frame that currently determines dominant discourse on the space, which as yet has not been successfully gentrified.
We invite you to read José Ignacio Lanzagorta García’s “La conquista de la Glorieta de Insurgentes de la Ciudad de México: lo abyecto en los procesos de gentrificación” for free online.