Director: Claudio Lomnitz, Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology
The Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University was founded in 2013. Its mission is to develop Columbia University as a premier educational and research platform from which “Greater Mexico” can be studied, thought and imagined.
Mexico is a key player in the contemporary globe. It is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, and an historical leader in intellectual, scientific, and artistic innovation in Latin America and Iberia. Mexico is consistently one of the United States’ three principal trading partners—alongside Canada and China—and far ahead of the fourth (Japan). Indeed, the whole of the United States is today part of “Greater Mexico,” just as Mexico is part of a “Greater United States.” Above and beyond international interdependence, Mexicans represent more than 60% of the United States’ Latino population, and as such they are the lead players of this country’s most numerous minority.
In fact, Mexico’s situation is meaningful on a global scale. The border that divides and unites it with the United States is the most intensively crossed and perhaps also the most obsessively patrolled in the world. This combination of integration and segregation between north and south makes Mexican Studies a key area in comparative research and a significant site of conceptual innovation for the social sciences and humanities. Columbia’s new Center for Mexican Studies is committed to the study of Mexico and the United States as a deeply interrelated space.
On the home front, Mexico has undergone accelerated and deep transformation over the past thirty years. Demographically, its growth rate is now about equal to that of the United States. Last year, net emigration dropped to around zero for the first time in over a century. Politically, the country is undergoing novel processes that are baffling, even for its principal actors. These new circumstances come with their burden of challenges that require empirical study and conceptualization.
Columbia University’s Center for Mexican Studies is committed to playing a lead role in this challenging process of re-thinking.
In addition to these broad aspirations, it is relevant to notice that Mexicans are the fastest growing minority in New York City, and metropolitan New York is today one of the most important centers of Mexican population in the country. There are currently close to 1.2 million Mexicans in the tri-state area. In addition, New York City serves as a vibrant focal point for scholars, artists, businesses, non-governmental actors, and multilateral institutions with engagements in Mexican affairs. Columbia’s Center for Mexican Studies brings an internationally distinguished and interdisciplinary faculty and an accomplished and committed student body to this unique mix.
The Center for Mexican Studies is in the process of developing new programs with CIDE, El Colegio de México, El Colegio de Michoacán, Fondo de Cultura Económica, UNAM and CONACyT. We expect to announce formal agreements by the end of the 2013-14 academic year. Currently, the following opportunities are available through ILAS and the Center for Mexican Studies.
• Mexican Mondays. A lecture series sponsored by the Center for Mexican Studies that brings leading scholars, journalists, artists, and public figures to Columbia for seminar-style discussion.
• Edmundo O’Gorman Scholars. Co-sponsored by CONACyT and Columbia University, the program is named in honor of one of Mexico’s preeminent historians. The program provides financing of short-term scholars and scientists working in Mexican institutions of higher education.
• Distinguished Visiting Professors. Endowed by the Tinker Foundation, the program invites faculty from Latin America and the Caribbean to Columbia University to teach for one semester and to participate in distinctive lectures.
• Post-Doctoral Fellows and Scholars. ILAS sponsors graduate fellows and visiting scholars on a regular basis. These scholars are invited to participate in lectures and in the MARSLAC Seminar Series hosted by the Institute.
• CONACyT Post-Doctoral Fellows in Mexican Studies. The program is co-funded by CONACyT and Columbia University, and developed to bring in recent graduates from Mexican doctoral programs. Fellows are expected to apprentice and to teach at Columbia, and to participate in the intellectual life of the Center for Mexican Studies.
• MARSLAC Lecture Series. Organized by graduate students in the Latin American Studies MA degree, this new series of public lectures brings together faculty in residence at Columbia and other univesrities in the area in order to share research with Columbia students.
• Americas South: Dominant, Residual and Emergent Political Forms Workshop. Organized by Latin Americanist doctoral studients in the Anthropology Department, the workshop invites scholars and graduate students to share and discuss on-going research.
• Research funding for faculty and students from all schoolas at Columbia University to conduct research relevant to their areas of academic inquiry. Made available through grants from the Tinker Foundation, the US Department of Education, institutional and other private funds.
The Center for Mexican Studies would like to thank our patrons for their generosity and support in launching the Center at Columbia University:
Consejo Nacional para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (CONACyT)
INCA Investments, FL
The Tinker Foundation, NY
Provost’s Academic Quality Fund
Consulado General de México en Nueva York
Jorge Suárez-Vélez, SP Family Office, NY
We invite you to support the Center for Mexican Studies with a tax-deductible financial contribution. Smaller contributions may be made here. For large donations or endowments, please contact Maritza E. Colón-Fermín at 212-854-4617 for more information.
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