This article finds a disjuncture between the practices associated with being a citizen of a town and those associated with being a citizen of a nation. The practices on which it focuses are the knowing of a town's history and the knowing of a nation's history. It looks at how townspeople in west Mexico talked about the history of their town, Tapalpa, in relation to how they talked about Mexico's history. In principle, the knowing of Tapalpa's history was linked to the knowing of Mexico's history. In practice, there was a disjuncture such that townspeople could aspire only to a mimetic role in the knowing of Mexico's history. The article concludes by suggesting that this was typical of the relation between being a citizen of Tapalpa and being a citizen of Mexico.