History Forum Speaker Series

Street Democracy: Vendors, Violence, and Public Space in Late Twentieth-Century Mexico.

Dr. Sandra C. Mendiola García

Assistant Professor of History

University of North Texas

Friday, April 13, 3 p.m.

Dezember Reading Room, Walter W. Stiern Library

No visitor to Mexico can fail to recognize the omnipresence of street vendors, selling products ranging from fruits and vegetables to prepared food and clothes. The vendors compose a large part of the informal economy, which altogether represents at least 30 percent of Mexico’s economically active population. Neither taxed nor monitored by the government, the informal sector is the fastest growing economic sector in the world.   

In Street Democracy Sandra C. Mendiola García explores the political lives and economic significance of this otherwise overlooked population, focusing on the radical street vendors during the 1970s and 1980s in Puebla, Mexico’s fourth-largest city. She shows how the Popular Union of Street Vendors challenged the ruling party’s ability to control unions and local authorities’ power to regulate the use of public space. Since vendors could not strike or stop production like workers in the formal economy, they devised innovative and alternative strategies to protect their right to make a living in public spaces. By examining the political activism and historical relationship of street vendors to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Mendiola García offers insights into grassroots organizing, the Mexican Dirty War, and the politics of urban renewal, issues that remain at the core of street vendors’ experience even today.

This event is co-sponsored by CSUB’s Department of History, the Walter W. Stiern Library, and the ASI Instructionally Related Acitvities program.

What is History?

As one of the oldest of the liberal arts, the study of history emphasizes the importance of reading widely and deeply in the sources of human civilization and develops in its students the skills of thoughtful analysis of evidence and effective communication.

History is also fun!  Truly understanding the past involves careful investigation and detective work. Reconstructing the past with limited (and often conflicting) evidence is an exciting challenge that often leads to the thrill of discovery.

The Department of History at California State University, Bakersfield offers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in History.

The department also offers a program of study leading to a California Teaching Credential in Social Science and a Minor in History.

Please click on the links at left for more information about the History Department at CSUB.

To learn more about why you should study history, click here. You may be surprised at some of the many famous people who studied history in their college days.

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M.A. in History, 2012

Department of History

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA  93311-1022  

Phone: (661) 654-3079
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History Forum Speaker Series, 2017-2018

Spring 2018:

April 13: Dr. Sandra C. Mendiola García, (University of North Texas): "Street Democracy: Vendors, Violence, and Public Space in Late Twentieth-Century Mexico." Friday, April 13, 3 pm, Dezember Reading Room, Walter Stiern Library