Persistent Voices: Domestic Workers and Indigenous Households in Mexico City


Thursday, April 25, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Floor 2, Suite 200N

Join Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, Stanford University, in discussion at a Comparative Democracy Seminar Series event. Candelaria Garay, Harvard Kennedy School, will moderate. Refreshments will be served.

Diaz-Cayeros will discuss a paper that presents the preliminary findings of an ongoing study of the persistence of indigenous identity and domestic workers in Mexico City. The paper provides evidence of a spatially concentrated pattern of employment for domestic workers in the municipality of Mexico City in the 19th century. The analysis confirms a long-term practice of ethnic labor specialization in home and caregiving activities. Women employees, most of them indigenous, came to represent almost half of the composition of rich households. Further, the analysis shows that indigenous inhabitants living today in downtown areas are located in close proximity to the indigenous palaces (Tecpan) of 16th century Mexico-Tenochtitlán. The paper concludes with a discussion of the persistent legacies of indigenous identity and domestic employees on wage inequality, racial discrimination, punitive criminal enforcement, as well as some speculative thoughts on political polarization and attitudes towards redistribution by the rich and the middle class.
About the Comparative Democracy Seminar Series
The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series, run by Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Quinton Mayne, Associate Professor of Public Policy, brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.