The Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia

Center for Mexican Studies

The Center for Mexican Studies was founded in 2013 to develop a premier educational and research platform at Columbia 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.

The Center for Mexican Studies is committed to playing a lead role in this challenging process of re-thinking.

Our Academic Mission

Stimulate Research and Debate

The center promotes collaborations between the Columbia community and Mexican scholars and institutions through special programs with CIDE, El Colegio de México, El Colegio de Michoacán, Fondo de Cultura Económica, UNAM, and CONACyT.

Create Public Programming

Each semester the center convenes seminars, lectures, and cultural events on contemporary and historical aspects of Mexico that enrich the academic environment of Columbia and the wider community of scholars in New York City.

Build Bi-national Research Capabilities

The Edmundo O’Gorman Scholars program provides financing for four- to eight‐week visits to Columbia by scholars and scientists working in Mexican institutions of higher education. For a list of current fellows, please visit our Visiting Scholars and Fellows page.

Support Students

The center provides support for students and collaborates with student groups on events and other initiatives, including the Mexican Students Association (MEXSA).

Our Team

Claudio W. Lomnitz

Director, Center for Mexican Studies;
Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology,
Department of Anthropology

Esteban Andrade
Esteban Andrade

Program Manager

Paloma Ricaño
Paloma Ricaño

Program Coordinator, Center for Mexican Studies

Ana Cardenas
Ana Cardenas

Program Assistant, Center for Mexican Studies

Pilar Arriaga in front of a bridge.
Pilar Arriaga

Program Assistant, Center for Mexican Studies

Ana Oropeza
Ana Isabel Oropeza

Program Assistant, Center for Mexican Studies

Affiliated Faculty

Regina Cortina smiles at camera in front of stacked bookshelf wearing a dark blazer
Regina Cortina

Professor of Education, Intern'l & Comparative Education, Teachers College

Jennifer Hirsch wears a dark colored blazer and gray top
Jennifer S. Hirsch

Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Dept of Sociomedical Sciences

Manuela Orjuela wears a tan turtleneck with multi colored necklace and a muave shawl around shoulders
Manuela A. Orjuela

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics (in the HICCC) at the Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Epidemiology

John Coatsworth wears a dark blazer red tie and white button down shirt.
John H. Coatsworth

John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University; Provost Emeritus, School Intl & Public Affairs

Pablo Piccato wears dark rimmed eyeglasses with a dark gray blazer and light blue button down shirt.
Pablo A. Piccato

Professor of History, Department of History

Caterina Pizzigoni is seated infront of a statue while weaing a salmon colored blazerr with a dark top and pants
Caterina Luigia Pizzigoni

Associate Professor of History, Department of History

Galia Solomonoff stands in front of a podium wearing a white blouse and dark blazer with a blue overlay filter on top of the image.
Galia Solomonoff

Associate Professor of Professional Practice in the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Architecture Planning Preserv

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The Center for Mexican Studies would like to thank its patrons for their generosity and support:

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FALL 2020 and Spring 2021 Events

Violence and New Mores Workshop Series

Fall 2020
Spring 2021

What is Happening in the Center this Semester

The Fall 2020 & Spring 2021 Buscadoras Research Unit

The Buscadoras Research Unit of the Center for Mexican Studies of Columbia University is dedicated to supporting a missing persons' organizations now operating in Mexico and Central America.  The members of these organizations, known as buscadores or buscadoras, are searching for their disappeared loved ones.  In Mexico, the official count recognizes more than 73,000 missing persons-- though this tally is by all accounts an underestimate.  The numbers of disappeared in Central America are also very high, but still largely untallied.

The Research Unit is dedicated to doing library, archival, and data-base research, at the behest of organized groups of buscadoras from various parts of Mexico, offering their time, skill sets, and perspectives to help with a variety of needs. The unit is involved in an exchange of theoretical and technical knowledge, as well as data collection and analysis from historical, social science, and media resources. In addition to analyzing the contextual situation of the countries and institutions to better improve the livelihoods of the Buscadoras.

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