1. See Edward Said’s article on the discursive fallout of the atrocities of September 11,
2001, where he excoriates Samuel Huntington’s ‘‘clash of civilizations’’ thesis for its woe-
fully uncritical characterization of modernity, late-twentieth-century geopolitics, and
cultural difference. Said takes Huntington to task for naively pitting a monolithic ‘‘West’’
against an undifferentiated Islamic world; Said, ‘‘Clash of Ignorance’’; Huntington, ‘‘Clash
1. In his architectural study of Oaxaca City, Carlos Lira Vásquez points out that the
capital owes much of its appearance to Porﬁrian-era construction and renovations. Visi-
tors to Oaxaca City today usually marvel at its colonial-era churches and the surrounding
precolonial indigenous pyramids. However, it was during the Porﬁriato that city oﬃcials
built and adorned many of the buildings and public spaces in the city that attract tourists
from all over the world; Lira Vásquez, ‘‘Ciudad de Oaxaca,’’ 415–37. All translations in this
book are by the author unless indicated otherwise.
2. The moniker ‘‘the Emerald City’’ also resonates with L. Frank Baum’s allegorical
wizard of Oz. Like the deceptive wizard, Porﬁrio Díaz attempted to run his hometown
from behind the scenes. While his modern technical and economic might may have
seemed to a minority of ruling elites to be the magical solution to Mexico’s century
of instability, Díaz’s gimmicks ultimately failed. He was unable to improve the lives of
Mexico’s middle class and destitute masses, both of which grew signiﬁcantly under his
regime. The 1910 revolution that resulted from this social unrest sealed the dictator’s fate.
Throughout this work I also refer to Oaxaca de Juárez interchangeably as ‘‘Oaxaca City’’
and ‘‘the city of Oaxaca.’’
3. Mitchell, ‘‘Stage of Modernity.’’
4. Piccato, City of Suspects, 47; Van Young, Conclusion, 346.
5. El centenario: Revista mensual ilustrada, October 15, 1910. According to the 1895 fed-
eral census, the average population in Mexico’s thirty state and district capitals (exclud-
ing Mexico City) was 28,998. Oaxaca City had the country’s eleventh-largest population;
Resumen del primer censo.
6. Wells and Joseph, ‘‘Modernizing Visions,’’ 180–81; Morse and Hardoy, Rethinking the
Latin American City, 22; Scobie, ‘‘Growth of Latin American Cities.’’
Oaxaca City was part of a larger ‘‘urban network’’ in the state’s central valleys, one that
also included the towns Zaachila, Zimatlán, Tlacolula, Ejutla, and Miahuatlán; Chassen-
López, ‘‘Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca,’’ introduction, 2–3.
[ 163 ]