Rethinking Latin America on a Global Scale: In Conversation with Christy Thornton and Amy Offner


Wednesday, September 8, 2021, 6:00pm to 7:15pm

For a recording of this event, please click here.

Speakers: Christy Thornton, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University; Amy C. Offner, Associate Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Moderated by: Gabriela Soto Laveaga, Professor of the History of Science and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico, Harvard University

Join us for a conversation on the global and domestic forces that shaped the political economy of the Americas in the 20th century, with an emphasis on Mexico, Colombia, and the United States. In her book Revolution in Development, Christy Thornton examines the crucial role of Mexican officials in the shaping of the twentieth century global economic order to advance their national development project. In Sorting Out the Mixed Economy, Amy Offner looks at Colombia and the United States to show how the developmental projects consolidated in the first half of the twentieth century planted the seeds of their own fall and replacement by neoliberal practices in the 1980s.

Amy C. Offner is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies twentieth-century US history in global perspective, with special focus on Latin America; the history of capitalism and political economy; empire and foreign relations; and social and intellectual history. Her book Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas (2019), won book prizes from the Economic History Society, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Association, and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.  Before beginning graduate studies, she worked as a union organizer and an editor at Dollars & Sense, a magazine and book publisher analyzing economic affairs.

Christy Thornton is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, where she serves as a core faculty member for the Latin America in a Globalizing World Initiative and is affiliated with the Program in Latin American Studies. Her research interests include comparative-historical sociology, global inequality and development, labor and social movements, Latin American political economy, and Mexican state formation. She has been a visiting fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She was previously an assistant professor of history and international studies at Rowan University, and the executive director of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). She holds a Ph.D. from New York University, a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Barnard College.

Gabriela Soto Laveaga is Professor of the History of Science and Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests include modern Latin America, the intersection of science and culture, public health, and scientific and medical exchange in the Global South. Her first book, Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects and the Making of the Pill, won the Robert K. Merton Best Book Prize in Science, Knowledge, and Technology Studies from the American Sociological Association. Her second monograph, Sanitizing Rebellion: Physician Strikes, Public Health and Repression in Twentieth Century Mexico, examines the role of healthcare providers as both critical actors in the formation of modern states and as social agitators. Her latest book project seeks to re-narrate histories of twentieth century agriculture development aid from the point of view of India and Mexico. She has held numerous grants, including those from the Ford, Mellon, Fulbright, DAAD, and Gerda Henkel Foundations. Most recently she was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, 2019-2020.

Presented in collaboration with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

See also: Virtual, Mexico