My research expertise lies in three connected fields. First, the history of Mexico, focusing on post-Revolution state formation and party politics during the Cold War. Second, this domestic political history is set within twentieth-century comparative and transnational history, with emphases on Latin America, the USA and the Cold War. Finally, the ideological and organisational aspects are part of the international history of communism, in both its intellectual and institutional forms.
While I have undertaken a good deal of research on Mexican political and intellectual history, my work has always been transnational in nature, concentrating increasingly on networks of radicals, revolutionaries, writers, publishers, political parties and thinkers in the Western Hemisphere, as well as examining regional and bilateral relationships between governments and parties.
There are three related threads running through my primary research strand: first, the nature of the relationship between the Marxist left and the ruling PRI in Mexico; second, the extent to which the Cold War arrived in Mexico prior to 1959, incorporating both intergovernmental relations and the influence of hemispheric political tendencies; and third, how significant and/or representative Mexico is (both within Latin America and more widely) in the previously-identified frameworks, i.e. Marxism and nationalism on the one hand, and the early Cold War in Latin America on the other.
I have developed a secondary research strand examining the relationship of various writers with politics and race in post-revolutionary Mexico, including B. Traven, Martín Luis Guzmán and Langston Hughes; the latter forms the focus of a current project examining Hughes’ idea of Mexico as a ‘brown man’s country’ and the absence of Afro-Mexicanity in his earlier work. I am also interested in the relationship between radical politics and science fiction, particularly in the work of Kim Stanley Robinson and Margaret Atwood.