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EIHS Lecture: Zorro and the Curse of History: Swashbuckling Through the United States' Mexican Past

Anthony P. Mora (University of Michigan)
Thursday, November 30, 2023
4:00-6:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Zorro’s flowing black cape, mysterious mask, and pencil mustache make him instantly recognizable as one of the most enduring fictional characters in US media. Since he first appeared in 1919’s The Curse of Capistrano, this heroic Latino character has been righting wrongs in a romanticized nineteenth-century Los Angeles. Anthony Mora asks what we can make of Zorro’s popularity in a nation with such a long history of anti-Latine sentiment. Returning to Zorro’s origin story offers us a quirky view into the contradictory impulses that shaped popular understandings about the United States’ Mexican past and its Mexican present.

Anthony Mora's principal research interests focus on the historical construction of race, gender, and sexuality in the US Southwest. His book Border Dilemmas explores how the first generations of Mexicans living in the United States grappled with the racial and national ideologies that circulated along the nineteenth-century border. He is currently writing a history of the fictional character of Zorro from 1919 to the present. The iconic character serves as a means of tracing changing representations of Mexican Americans, historical memory, and US regionalism.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: History, Latin America, Latina/o Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History