The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
As part of his research into the rumors and the legend concerning the Baile de los 41 [Dance of the 41]—a scandalous police raid in Mexico City in which 42 homosexual men were arrested—Carlos Monsiváis turns to contemporary newspaper reports. He reads books on the period of the Porfirio Díaz administration and scours a variety of documents in search of the truth. Among other goals, Monsiváis seeks to discover the present name of the street known as “calle de la Paz,” clarify the scandal surrounding the involvement of Porfirio Díaz’s family and members of Mexico’s high society, and explore the presence of homosexuality in Mexico’s nineteenth-century literature.
The writer and journalist Carlos Monsiváis (1938-2010) provides hitherto unknown information about the legendary dance of The Forty One, held in 1901, that was disrupted by a scandalous raid that led to the arrest of 42 men, many of whom were dressed as women. Monsiváis refers to contemporary attitudes to homosexuality by quoting from an excerpt from the novel La linterna mágica [The Magic Lantern] by José Tomás de Cuellar titled “Chucho el Ninfa” [Chucho the Hooker] (1871). This excerpt depicts the tacitly accepted lifestyle of men who eschewed accepted rules of morality and lived alone in the shadows, hung around public baths, arranged secret parties, and possessed a heart divided in two. All this allowed them to live unmolested during the nineteenth century. After that night, the term “forty one” in Mexico has come to imply homosexuality and intolerance. There are paintings by José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), Diego Rivera (1886-1957), José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), and Antonio Ruiz—which refer to the event in a grotesque, mocking manner—that reveal the effeminate nature of a certain Mexican subculture.