Latin American Studies

Stephen Lewis

Dept. of History


I spent much of summer 2018 researching and writing on Mexico’s democratic transition and consolidation since 1977. The end result will be a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Mexican History (forthcoming) and will eventually constitute part of a forthcoming classroom textbook on Mexico since 1960.

In May 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 Indian policy) 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 state- and nation-building project. I also hope to publish a Spanish translation of the book.


In April 2011, I was awarded the Edwin Lieuwen Award for Outstanding Teaching of Latin American Studies by the Rocky Mountain Council on Latin American Studies.

Published Books

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. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

Published articles and book chapters

“Revolution without Resonance? Mexico’s “Fiesta of Bullets” and Its Aftermath in Chiapas, 1910-1940,” in The Mexican Revolution: Conflict and Consolidation, 1910-1940. Douglas W. Richmond and Sam W. Haynes, eds. College Station: Texas A and M Press, 2013, 161-186.

“Indigenista Dreams meet Sober Realities: The Slow Demise of Federal Indian Policy in Chiapas, Mexico, 1951-1970,” Latin American Perspectives 39:5 (September 2012), 63-79.

“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