Miriam Hernández Reyna


François Chevalier

University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

From Memory for Identity Recognition to Anti-colonial Memory: The Commemoration of the 500th Centennial of the Conquest of Mexico

Miriam Hernández Reyna is a philosopher and historian, specialist in the history of the present time. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre d’histoire sociale des mondes contemporains (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/CNRS).  She has been a lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Paris, as well as at various French and Mexican universities, where she has taught history and Latin American studies. In 2019 she was also visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York. Her work deals with the construction of a postcolonial memory of the indigenous past in contemporary Mexico and in the framework of cultural diversity politics. This research is at the crossroads of a critical historiography of memory and political philosophy and, beyond the Mexican case, it focuses on a general reflection on the globalization of memory as a predominant interpretation of recent or distant pasts. Her current project proposes an analysis of the politics of memory on the V centenary of the conquest of Mexico, particularly related to the emergence of new anti-colonial claims based on re-readings of the past and on specific conceptions of social identities.

Research project

This project analyzes the formation of an anticolonial memory in Mexico on the 500th Centennial of the Conquest (2021) and examine its reception in Spain. I particularly focus in the administration of the new Mexican president elected in July 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. During this political change, a new imaginary about the colonial past begins to be expressed through official rhetoric on the reparation of the past and the demand for historical apologies. In order to study this phenomenon, I use the perspective of a critical history of memory and the theory of memory regimes. This allow me to question the social arena in which the new meaning of the past makes sense, as well as to identify the actors and vectors of this memory. The methodology is the collection of press, official speeches, public controversies, observation of the commemoration and the comparison of these elements with similar data collected in Spain. I also put the case of Mexico into perspective in relation to other countries where the colonial past is still a burning topic of debate. By doing this, I observe the memory as a global concept based on the idea of the imprescriptibility of the past.

Selected Publications

2021. « Ser o no ser indígena: oscilaciones identitarias en la interculturalidad de Estado en Méxicom Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (JLACA), 0, Volume 0, pp.  1-25, DOI: 10.1111/jlca.12532


2018. « Re-escribir la historia, re-imaginar el porvenir. Sobre los usos políticos del pasado indígena en el México contemporáneo », en Raúl Alcalá Campos (coord.),  Los retos de la filosofía por venir: racionalidades interculturales y justicia social, México, UNAM, FES-Acatlán, pp. 182-212.


2018. « Le passé indien et l’avenir de la nation au Mexique : retour sur l’anthropologie critique de Guillermo Bonfil Batalla », dans Arauco Chihuailaf et Vicente Romero « Les peuples indiens de notre Amérique au XXe siècle » Revue ALHIM, 36, Université Paris 8. http://journals.openedition.org/alhim/7221


2017. “Memoria histórica y diversidad cultural: un nuevo imaginario sobre el pasado indígena para un futuro posible”, Dossier “La interdisciplinariedad en ciencias sociales: el ejemplo de los estudios sobre memoria histórica”, Cambios y permanencias, 2, vol. 8, Colombia, pp. 736-768, https://revistas.uis.edu.co/index.php/revistacyp/article/view/7811


2017. « Les politiques interculturelles au Mexique : du révisionnisme historique à une nouvelle histoire officielle ? » dans Frédérique Langue (sous la direction) Dossier « Histoire du temps présent en Amérique Latine », Revue Conserveries mémorielles, 20, (en ligne) : http://cm.revues.org/2608




29/05/2018 - 38min 19s - Anglais