College Of Humanities and Fine Arts

Stephen Lewis

Latin American Studies, History
  • Email:
  • Phone: 530-898-6244
  • Location: Trinity 201
  • Office Hours:
    • Tuesday: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Wednesday: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Thursday: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


I spent much of summer 2021 finishing a classroom textbook for Wiley-Blackwell on Mexico’s “unscripted” revolutions since 1958. The book will feature chapters on the Long Sixties in Mexico, the country’s democratic transition and consolidation, its growing religious diversity, the revolution in women’s lives and political representation, and the increasing autonomy and assertiveness of Mexico’s indigenous populations. An epilogue assesses President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s self-proclaimed “Fourth Transformation” of Mexican political life.

In 2018, the University of New Mexico Press published my second monograph, Rethinking Mexican Indigenismo: The History of the INI’s Coordinating Center in Highland Chiapas and the Fate of a Utopian Project, 1951–1976. This book traces the history of Mexican indigenismo (official policy directed at indigenous peoples) during its heyday, from the early 1950s through 1976. The book is primarily focused on Chiapas, where Mexico opened its pilot and most important indigenist Coordinating Center, but it also draws broader, national conclusions about the rise and fall of this crucial and controversial state- and nation-building project. Rethinking Mexican Indigenismo received Honorable Mention for the Thomas McGann Book Prize in Modern Latin American History by the Rocky Mountain Conference on Latin American History.

The Spanish translation of Rethinking Mexican Indigenismo was published by the CIMSUR-UNAM in fall 2020.


HIST 380: Colonial Latin America

HIST 381: Modern Latin America

HIST/LAST 382 and HIST/LAST 382W: Modern Mexico

HIST 480: Social Revolutions in Latin America

HIST 482: Indigenous Latin Americans and Indigenismo

HIST 490W: Seminar: Historical Research

LAST 495W: Seminar on Selected Topics (usually indigenismo)

HIST 680: Historiography of Latin America

Published Books

Repensando el indigenismo mexicano: El Centro Coordinador del Instituto Nacional Indigenista en los Altos de Chiapas y el destino de un proyecto utópico. Trad. Silvia Barba Jiménez. San Cristóbal de Las Casas: UNAM/CIMSUR, 2020.

Rethinking Mexican Indigenismo: The History of the INI’s Coordinating Center in Highland Chiapas and the Fate of a Utopian Project, 1951–1976. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2018.

La revolución ambivalente. Forjando Estado y nación en Chiapas, 1910-1945 (translation of The Ambivalent Revolution, Albuquerque, 2005). Ciudad de México: UNAM: CIMSUR/CONACULTA: CONECULTA/UNACH/UNICACH/UNICH/COCYTECH, 2015.

With Margarita Sosa Suárez, coord., Monopolio de aguardiente y alcoholismo en Chiapas: Un estudio ‘incómodo’ de Julio de la Fuente. México, D.F.: Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas, 2009.

With Mary Kay Vaughan, The Eagle and the Virgin: Nation and Cultural Revolution in Mexico, 1920-1940. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

The Ambivalent Revolution: Forging State and Nation in Chiapas, Mexico, 1910-1945. University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

Published Articles and Book Chapters

“No Place in the Cosmic Race? The Empty Promises of Mestizaje and Indigenismo in Postrevolutionary Mexico,” in Race and Transnationalism in the Americas, eds. Benjamin Bryce and David M.K. Sheinin (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021), 91-105.

“Modernizing Message, Mystical Messenger: The Teatro Petul in the Chiapas Highlands, 1954-1974,” The Americas 67:3 (January 2011). This article can be downloaded here. In January 2012, this article won Honorable Mention for the Tibesar prize, awarded by the Latin American branch of the American Historical Association for the best article published in The Americas

Portrait of Stephen Lewis