Christy Thornton

Christy Thornton

I am an Assistant Professor of History at Rowan University in New Jersey, where I teach courses in World History, Latin American History, and International Studies. I received my PhD in history from NYU, focusing on Latin American history and the history of the U.S. in the world. My interests include the history of development, international institutions, and multilateral finance, as well as labor history, the history of women and gender, and critical social theory. I am particularly interested in the influences of Latin America on the modes of and mechanisms for the projection of U.S. power in the world.

Before graduate school, I was for five years the Executive Director of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), a 47-year old research and advocacy organization working on Latin American affairs and the U.S. relationship with the region, and I am currently a member of the Board of Directors there. I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, as well as a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University.

In addition to my scholarly work, I make frequent media appearances and write for popular publications such as the New York Times’ “Room for Debate,” Al Jazeera America, The Nation, and Jacobin. I am also a radio producer and host, as well as a podcast host for the New Books in History and New Books in Latin American Studies networks.

Research Description
My current research project, “Sovereignty and Solidarity: The Mexican Revolution and the Origins of the Postwar Order, 1919–1948” is a new international history of three interrelated phenomena that helped define the global twentieth century: third-world developmentalism (most often understood as a post-war phenomenon culminating in the New International Economic Order of the 1970s); liberal multilateralism (especially in the creation of international organizations, from the League of Nations to the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund); and the rise of the United States as a global power. By uncovering the decades-long history of Mexican advocacy in the international arena for the rights of the smaller states and the responsibilities of the more powerful ones, and the impact of that advocacy on U.S. plans for global institutions, my research broadens our understanding of many of the decolonizing internationalist projects that emerged in later in the twentieth century. Mexico’s internationalist projects shaped not only ideas about sovereignty, self-determination, and economic development in the first half of the twentieth century, but also the codification of those ideas in international law, agreements, and institutions.

Fellowships and Awards