Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies

First Advisor

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Second Advisor

Namita Vijay Dharia

Third Advisor

Nicole Merola


In Mexico, there are currently several collections of photographs which depict the history and development of public gardens and ecological corridors under the management of the National Institute of Anthropology and History. By focusing on two exemplary collections—the Nacho López Collection and Vicente Luengas Collection—I apply a visual studies approach to the photographic archive in order to formulate the Mexican public garden as a branching set of aesthetic (sub-)categories, all of which take into account the creation of garden landscapes vis-à-vis land use policies and historical accounts during the rise of Mexican modernity. In so doing, the primary sub-categories of the Mexican public garden, namely the everyday garden and the stately garden, are intended to elucidate the shifting degrees of publicness rendered visible from the years 1912 to 1982, or the end of the Porfiriato to the final decade of the Mexican Miracle years. Crucially, I view these photographic compositions through the Nahuatl poetic and epistemological tradition known as in xochitl in cuicatl (“flower-and-song”); i.e., the photographs showcase the alignment of the evocative (flower) and the variable (song). I conclude that public gardens were visually, territorially, and aesthetically activated through diverging modes of viewing in order to openly resist or, conversely, advance ironclad regimes of government.



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