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From the Revolution to the Drug War: Mexico’s Twentieth Century (AM219)


Tutors: Benjamin Smith and Rosie Doyle

Office: Room H338, third floor of the Humanities Building

Office Hours: Monday 1pm-2pm and Tuesday 11am-12pm (BS) or by appointment.

Just email me with a time you can make.

Phone: +44 (0)24 76523422 (internal extension 23422)

Emails: and

Lecture Time: Monday, 10-11 MS.03

Seminar Times: There are 4 seminars on Tuesday. 9 am (OC1.04), 10am (OC0.01), 11am (H4.45), and 2pm (H4.45). Please sign up on Tabula

Rescheduled Classes: Tuesday 23 October 9am and 10am classes in OC1.04 and OC0.01 will be rescheduled for 1 November 10-11 and 11-12 in R1.13.

Over the past century, Mexicans have endured a revolutionary civil war, two religious uprisings, a vicious Cold War counter-insurgency, nearly fifty years of authoritarian government, countless devaluations, and nearly a decade of violent confrontations between drug cartels. Yet Mexicans have also experienced far-reaching social reforms, unparalleled levels of economic growth, rapid rates of industrialization and urbanization, and seventy years of relative political stability. This module seeks to understand these contradictions and the ways in which they have affected Mexicans’ everyday lives.

Students will be asked to examine at a range of subjects including the ideologies of revolutionary leaders, like Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa, and Subcomandante Marcos; the politics of the world’s longest running one party state; the long struggle for indigenous rights; the experiences of Mexico’s urban poor; and the machinations of the country’s cartels.

Beyond this general political history, certain themes or organizing frameworks structure this course. They have been chosen because of their importance to Mexican political history or because they are very different to traditions in the United States or Northern Europe.

They are:

1) Gender

2) Race and ethnicity

3) National culture

4) The region,

5) The Catholic Church,

6) Land tenure.

Students are advised to consider these themes when doing the reading, engaging in discussion, and preparing for exams.

A note on emailing: We will try to respond to e-mails in as timely a fashion as possible within normal working hours (i.e. 9-5.30 Monday to Friday). Please add 'AM219' to the start of your subject line so that we can spot course-related e-mails. Those that do not contain this often go into my junk mail. Please also understand that we often cannot give an instant reply.