A Mexican Conquest of Space? Cosmopolitanism, Cosmopolitics, and Cosmopoetics in the Mexican Space Industry


Mexico cannot be considered a 'spacefaring nation,' as it does not have the capability to build or launch space crafts into orbit. However, for many engineers, scientists, students, and entrepreneurs, outer space represents an important opportunity for economic development and job creation, as well as the resolution of earthly social problems, and a means to globally position the Mexican technology sector. Although they rely on international agreements for scientific, technical, and logistical collaboration, many of these space enthusiasts allude to a “Mexican Conquest of Space,” a discursively potent term given Mexico’s colonial history. In this paper, I examine how Mexican imaginaries of outer space, tied to perceptions of past knowledge, present social issues and future projections, are limited by geopolitical realities, even as they are informed by cosmic imaginaries at various scales. I focus on the recently created Mexican Space Agency, its programs, practices, discourses and alliances, as a starting point for a Mexican astronoetics, a term coined by the philosopher Hans Blumenberg during the Space Race in an attempt to balance the centripetal and centrifugal forces exerted by outer space. From this perspective, I reflect on the ways in which being tethered to Mexico influences the possibility of being untethered to Earth.


Mexico; Outer space; Cosmopolitics; Cosmopolitanism; Social imaginary; Astronoetics

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Published : 2020-12-31

JohnsonA. (2020). A Mexican Conquest of Space? Cosmopolitanism, Cosmopolitics, and Cosmopoetics in the Mexican Space Industry. Review of International American Studies, 13(2), 123-144. https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.9808

Anne Warren Johnson  anne.johnson@ibero.mx
Universidad Iberoamericana  Mexico

Anne W. Johnson (PhD University of Texas at Austin 2009) is a Full Professor and Researcher at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Her research interests include the anthropology of outer space, social studies of science and technology, performance studies and collective memory. She has published on Mexican outer space culture, historical commemoration in the state of Guerrero, and the relations between performance and representation. Her latest book is Diablos, insurgentes e indios: Política y Poética de la historia en el Norte de Guerrero (Secretary of Culture/National Institute of Anthropology and History, Mexico, 2016). Her current reserach revolves around scientific, political and artistic imaginaries of outer space in Mexico.

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