Program in the History of the Book  in American Culture

Ink Under the Fingernails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
with Corinna Zeltsman

Thursday, October 28, 2021, 2 pm EDT

Approx. 1 hour

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This program is free but requires advanced registration.

During the independence era in Mexico, individuals and factions of all stripes embraced the printing press as a key weapon in the broad struggle for political power. Taking readers into the printing shops, government offices, courtrooms, and streets of Mexico City, historian Corinna Zeltsman reconstructs the practical negotiations and discursive contests that surrounded print over a century of political transformation, from the late colonial era to the Mexican Revolution.

Centering the diverse communities that worked behind the scenes at urban presses and examining their social practices and aspirations, Zeltsman explores how printer interactions with state and religious authorities shaped broader debates about press freedom and authorship. Beautifully crafted and ambitious in scope, Ink under the Fingernails sheds new light on Mexico's histories of state formation and political culture, identifying printing shops as unexplored spaces of democratic practice, where the boundaries between manual and intellectual labor blurred.

Corinna Zeltsman is an assistant professor of history at Georgia Southern University. She is the author of Ink under the Fingernails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (University of California Press, 2021). Her research on the history of printing and the book, political culture, and labor has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council. Trained as a letterpress printer, she is also a fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School and a member of the Seminario Interdisciplinario de Bibliología at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

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Corinna Zeltsman

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