Book cover image for: Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910

Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910


Claudia Agostoni

$49.95 CAD / $49.95 USD

245 pages, 13 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-094-9 (Hardback)

Latin American & Caribbean Studies

April 2003

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About the Book

In this groundbreaking book, Claudia Agostoni examines modernization in Mexico City during the era of Porfirio D’az. With detailed analyses of the objectives and activities of the Superior Sanitation Council, and, in particular, the work of the sanitary inspectors, Monuments of Progress provides a fresh take on the history of medicine and public health by shifting away from the history of epidemic disease and heroic accounts of medical men and toward looking at public health in a broader social framework. She outlines the relationship between “enlightened” ideals of orderliness and hygiene to Mexican initiatives in public health. The implementation of new health policies and programs were of utmost importance for the symbolic legitimization of Porfirio D’az’s long-lasting regime (1876-1910), which emphasized modernization over individual rights and liberties. Agostoni’s unique study builds on a small, but fast-growing, body of literature on the history of public health in Latin America and represents a growing interest in the social and cultural history of public health in this area.

Claudia Agostoni is a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Hisóricas, at Universidad

Praise for Monuments of Progress

Until now there has been no adequate English-language study of the fascinating history of Mexican public health before the 1910 Revolution… The author makes a valuable effort—with few precedents in Latin American historiography—to link environmental, urban, and public health histories.

– Marcos Cueto, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 

This book is well written and well organized… very interesting and useful.

– John Tiefenbacher, Environmental History