My dissertation project is an architectural history of Mexico City written from the point of view of domestic spaces, the labor required in their everyday occupation, and the people involved in these processes. I examine housing typologies from three periods—the colonial, the modern, and the contemporary—to show the variations and continuities in the landscapes of domestic labor within and outside the home. During my preliminary fieldwork, I was able to visit different archives, become familiar with certain domestic workers’ organizations, and develop relationships with activists and researchers advocating for domestic workers’ interests and making visible the value of reproductive work. Having very little experience in archival research, learning to navigate not just the bureaucratic nature of the archive, but also their vast collections, and, most importantly, designing a personalized method to select and document all the relevant information, constitute the main lessons in my field trip. Future researchers conducting similar research should be prepared to systematize their archival methods from the very beginning, even if such methodology evolves throughout the process. No methodology will be perfect, but the system that I came up with to collect information, more specifically, architectural information, will allow me to go back to it and process it with time. Once it is processed, this information will help me select the most relevant case studies of domestic architecture and Mexico City neighborhoods for my dissertation.
October 25, 2022