San Miguel de Allende


San Miguel de Allende

Mexicans, Foreigners, and the Making of a World Heritage Site

Lisa Pinley Covert

The Mexican Experience Series

324 pages
10 photographs, 4 maps, index


June 2017


$30.00 Add to Cart

June 2017


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2017


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2017


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Struggling to free itself from a century of economic decline and stagnation, the town of San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the hills of central Mexico, discovered that its “timeless” quality could provide a way forward. While other Mexican towns pursued policies of industrialization, San Miguel—on the economic, political, and cultural margins of revolutionary Mexico—worked to demonstrate that it preserved an authentic quality, earning designation as a “typical Mexican town” by the Guanajuato state legislature in 1939. With the town’s historic status guaranteed, a coalition of local elites and transnational figures turned to an international solution—tourism—to revive San Miguel’s economy and to reinforce its Mexican identity.
Lisa Pinley Covert examines how this once small, quiet town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of Mexico’s largest foreign-born populations. By exploring the intersections of economic development and national identity formation in San Miguel, she reveals how towns and cities in Mexico grappled with change over the course of the twentieth century. Covert similarly identifies the historical context shaping the promise and perils of a shift from an agricultural to a service-based economy. In the process, she demonstrates how San Miguel could be both typically Mexican and palpably foreign and how the histories behind each process were inextricably intertwined.


Author Bio

Lisa Pinley Covert is an assistant professor of history at the College of Charleston.


"From its striking cover to its engaging prose, Lisa Pinley Covert's San Miguel de Allende: Mexicans, Foreigners, and the Making of a World Heritage Site enriches a growing, and increasingly sophisticated, body of historical scholarship on twentieth-century Mexican tourism development."—Evan Ward, H-LatAm

"Covert’s study is invaluable. . . . Its breadth of sources includes several private archives and interviews with dozens of residents. The study enriches the historiographies of Mexican-US relations, Mexican industrialization, cultural imperialism, gender, and inequality. . . . Given these advantages and a longue durée scope, running from 1935 to the near present, San Miguel de Allende is instructive reading for a host of scholars and eminently assignable to undergraduates."—Andrew Paxman, Hispanic American Historical Review

"San Miguel de Allende is a valuable contribution to new fields that reveal a shared urban history in Mexico and the United States."—Marcel Sebastian Anduiza Pimentel, Pacific Historical Review

San Miguel de Allende explores Mexican national identity from a bold new perspective. Drawing on a remarkably broad range of sources Covert makes a convincing case that the remaking of San Miguel de Allende’s past anticipates the modern Mexican right’s cultural and economic project for the country’s future.”—Ben Fallaw, author of Religion and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Mexico


“A richly detailed work that blends history with cultural politics, San Miguel de Allende is a major contribution to several related fields, most clearly Mexican history, transnational history, and American studies. Its clear, concise, and compelling prose makes it easy to recommend and teach.”—Jason Ruiz, author of Americans in the Treasure House: Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Empire

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Making a Typical Mexican Town
2. Good Neighbors, Good Catholics, and Competing Visions
3. Bringing the Mexican Miracle to San Miguel
4. Containing Threats to Patriarchal Order and the Nation
5. San Miguel’s Two Service Economies
Epilogue: From Typical Town to World Heritage Site

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