31 May 20165:00pm - 7:00pmSG1, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Description

A public lecture by Professor Louise Walker (Northeastern) 

Abstract

In Mexico, where power relations are not transparent and where there are many actually-existing conspiracies, theories abound about collusion and intrigue among economic and political leaders.  This talk will examine how real and imagined conspiracies have shaped Mexican history since the 1970s.  Citizens and leaders on the political Left and Right have advanced complex interpretations of events from peso devaluations to airplane crashes in which high-level politicians were killed, revealing a culture of suspicion and paranoia. The tension between real and imagined conspiracy is explored by analysing Mexico’s secret police archive, which is both a historical source for the topic and an example of how government agents colluded with criminals such as drug traffickers.  The central role of conspiracy theories in Mexican society demonstrates a need for a narrative, and especially one that accounts for myriad plausible explanations, thus preventing citizens from becoming dupes in the context of an opaque political system. 

Louise E. Walker is Associate Professor of History at Northeastern University. She is author of Waking from the Dream: Mexico’s Middle Classes after 1968 (Stanford University Press, 2013), which won prizes and honours from the Latin American Studies Association, the Social Science History Association, and the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. Her other publications include the co-edited anthology Latin America’s Middle Classes: Unsettled Debates and New Histories (Lexington Books, 2013) and “Spy Reports: Content, Methodology and Historiography in Mexico’s Secret Police Archive,” a co-edited dossier in the Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research (2013). Her current research is supported by a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. She earned her PhD from Yale University in 2008.

This event is open to all and will be followed by a wine reception. 

This is part of a series of public talks from the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy. More information at http://www.conspiracyanddemocracy.org/

Enquiries – skg41@cam.ac.uk

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