The Cold War Politics of Literature and the Centro Mexicano de Escritores

Margaret Shedd

An article I’ve written, “The Cold War Politics of Literature and the Centro Mexicano de Escritores,” was published in the Journal of Latin American Studies vol 48., no. 2 (May 2016). It is available at the link.

Here is the article abstract:

This article describes the relationship of the Centro Mexicano de Escritores, Mexico’s most important writing center in the second half of the twentieth century, to the U.S. foundations that funded it. The Center was founded by a North American writer, Margaret Shedd, with the financial support of the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation understood the Center as a “Pan-American” effort to improve relations between the U.S. and Mexico by bringing its writers closer together. Later, there were also contributions from two CIA fronts, the Farfield Foundation and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, to the Center and its star graduate, Juan Rulfo. However, this paper argues that none of the U.S. foundations realized the ambitions that they had for the Center. Through a process of “Mexicanized Americanization,” a project that had elements of Yankee cultural imperialism instead simply produced one of the world’s finest institutions for the training of writers.

When I previously wrote about this subject for the USIH blog, it stirred up a bit of controversy.


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