Performing Conquista. Kulturelle Inszenierungen Mexikos in europäischen und U.S.-amerikanischen Medien im 20. Jahrhundert

Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag 2005
331 pp., Euro 49.80; ISBN 3-503-07928-9

Performing Conquista. The cultural stage-setting of Mexico in European and US-American media of the 20th century
Solloch analyzes levels of meaning in recollections of the Conquista (H. Cortés, 1519). The Conquista is a continuing topos circulating in ´circum-Atlantic performances´ (J. Roach), and a model for ´performing history´ (F. Rokem), that is, new interpretations of historical events, or stage-setting historical data for certain purposes. In a theoretical chapter Solloch discusses the stage-setting and appropriation of history, conquest and genealogy, performative practices and their locations, and the Conquista as a cultural performance, ´performative practices´ understood as practices of negotiation and memory media. He then discusses various Conquista perspectives - cultures of conquest: traveling to Mexico as a form of discovery, Mexico in the works of poets (Majakowski, A. Artaud, W. Rihm) and S. Eisenstein´s films. While the ´dominant´ media succeeded in portraying Mexicans as ´illegal aliens´, uncontrollable and threatening, intruding the USA (as in the science fiction comedy "MLB - Men in black, USA 1997), the next chapter deals with the Re-Conquista: forms of resistance and performative practices against hegemonial action, like the Chicano theater in postcolonialism, new diaspora (Aztlán as an identity-forming concept of space), multilingualism, told and untold stories, and especially female agents and images in plays such as La Malinche and La Llorona, or ´Latina´ (M. Sánchez-Scott & Blahnik). The last chapter deals with the logic of ´border studies´, and the border as a performative location, asking: "Can there be a counter-theatre to the theatre of control?" So cultural recollection and replacement by performances represent extremely complex processes.

Keywords: Conquista re-interpretations, interpreting Conquista, colonialism, conquest, imperialism, border studies, performance, postcolonialism, theater and dominance, dominance and performance, subalternity, aliens, alterity