Claudio Lomnitz

Professor Claudio Lomnitz works on the history, politics and culture of Latin America, and particularly of Mexico. He has a PhD from Stanford in 1987, and his first book, Evolución de una sociedad rural (Mexico City, 1982) was a study of politics and cultural change in Tepoztlán, Mexico. Following the publication of this book, he developed an interest in conceptualizing the nation-state as a kind of cultural region, a theme that culminated in Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in Mexican National Space (California, 1992). In that work, he concentrated on the social work of intellectuals, a theme that he developed in various works on the history of public culture in Mexico, including Modernidad Indiana (Mexico City, 1999) and Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (Minnesota, 2001). About a decade ago he began working on the historical anthropology of crisis and published Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books, 2005), a political and cultural history of death in Mexico from the 16th to the 21st centuries.  His most recent book The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014) is about exile, ideology and revolution.

Professor Lomnitz also writes in non-academic genres, including a a bi-weekly column in the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada.  He has also written an historical play on intellectuals and power in collaboration with his brother, Alberto Lomnitz, that won Mexico’s National Drama Award in 2010.  They are currently working on a play on the fantasies of military power, based on Prof. Lomnitz recent historical research.

Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology
CSER and Anthropology
955 Schermerhorn Extension
Columbia University
1200 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, New York 10027
On academic leave 2017-18

Interview Highlight:

Prof. Lomnitz talks about Mexico's relationship with the US with Ricardo Raphael in "No Hay Lugar Común

Recent Publications

  • "Governing Coalitions and the Plunder of the Amazon", commentary in Hau Forum: Indigenous Peoples Boxed in by Brazil's Political Crisis", by Manuela Carneiro da Cunha. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7(2): 403-426.

  • Forward to the 40th-year commemorative edition of Héctor Aguilar Camín’s La frontera nómada.  Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

  • "La Santa Muerte: estigma e intercambio"  Revista M. Estudos sobre a morte, os mortos e o morrer (forthcoming).

Op-Eds 2017-18

La Jornada Articles: 


  • October 25: La Jornada, "Desde Berlín"

  • Nov 8: La Jornada, "Turquía: persecusión y dictadura"

  • Nov 22: La Jornada: "Puerto Rico: Colonialismo Reloaded."

  • Dec 6: La Jornada: "La evaluación educativa sí importa"

  • Dec 20: La Jornada: "Ni juarista ni guadalupano, sino todo lo contrario"

  • Jan 3: La Jornada: "Legalización primero, amnistía parcial después"

  • Jan 17: La Jornada: "Deportación de salvadoreños"

  • Jan 31: La Jornada: "En el museo de Rigo Tovar"

  • Feb 14: La Jornada: "Fué-- y volverá a ser-- el Estado”

Nexos Articles:


  • Oct. 1, Trabajo formal, reproducción informal

  • Nov 1, Por la diversidad en la contratación

  • Dec 1, Transparencia versus confianza

  • Jan 1, Tomarse en serio la educación

  • Feb 1, “Welcome to Shithole!”

  • March 1, Etica y estética del elefante blanco

CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, and Latino Public Speaker Series and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER's most recent spaces include the Media and Idea Lab and Gallery at the Center, a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.

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Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

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