Professor Catalina Muñoz (Princeton University/Universidad de los Andes)
A Fervent Crusade for the National Soul examines cultural policies and the contested configuration of citizenship in Colombia in the 1930s and 1940s. At a time when national identities were re-imagined all over the Americas, progressive artists and intellectuals affiliated with the liberal governments that ruled Colombia established an unprecedented bureaucratic apparatus for cultural intervention that celebrated so-called “popular culture” and rendered culture a social right. This book challenges pervasive narratives of state failure in Colombia, attending to the confrontations, negotiations, and entanglements of bureaucrats with everyday citizens that shaped the relationship between the ruler and the ruled. Catalina Muñoz argues that while culture became an instrument of inclusion, the liberal definition of popular culture as authentic and static was also a tool for domination that reinforced enduring structures of inequality founded on region, race, and gender.