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Claudio Lomnitz

Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology, Departments of Anthropology and Latin American and Iberian Studies, Columbia University

Governing Board Member, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2006–2010)

Headshot of Claudio Lomnitz

Claudio Lomnitz works on the history, politics and culture of Latin America, and particularly of Mexico. He received 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. After that 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 also 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). Around 10 years 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.

He also writes in non-academic genres. He writes 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 his recent historical research.