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Mexican Textile Factories 1843-1857

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Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

The Mexican Textile Factory 1843-1857 digital project aims to make publicly available data on individual textile factories in Mexico in the mid nineteenth century. While a great deal of analysis has emerged on textile factories in places such as Lowell and Manchester, far less information is publicly available about the textile factories that arose in Mexico during this period or the people who labored there. Through constructing an online database where historians can curate and download datasets, this project seeks to enhance scholarship that engages with topics such as industrial development in nineteenth century Mexico, gender and labor history, and global economic history. It hopes to put data in the hands of researchers who can further explore these topics and include more specific details on Mexican textile factories in their work.

The project also makes available the methodology utilized to construct the database and the sources in which researchers can find further data. Far from simply focusing on the data itself, it demonstrates how data can be transformed into visualizations that challenge common narratives about the lack of capability of Mexican factories and workers, while suggesting that a wide variety of techniques and conditions arose in mills. Data on textile factories can challenge imperialist narratives about Anglo textile superiority, but also reinforce historical framings of industrial development that uphold the power of elite Mexican officials and industrialists, while ignoring the labor and lives of indigenous people and women. Therefore, the website offers a broad overview of the factories in Mexico including their impacts on everyday people and worker resistance. All information on the website will be available in English and Spanish.

Principal Investigator

Hunter Moskowitz, Graduate Student, History

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