Christy Thornton

Christy Thornton

I am a interdisciplinary scholar researching Mexico, Latin America, and global political economy. I currently hold the position of Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and I’m 2017-2018 WIGH fellow in the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Transformations at Harvard University. I received my PhD from NYU in 2015, and previously taught in History and International Studies at Rowan University. My research interests beyond Mexican and Latin American history include the historical sociology of development, systems of global governance, as well as the study of labor, women and gender, and critical social theory.

Before graduate school, I was for five years the Executive Director of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), a 50-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 Washington Post, 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 manuscript, “Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy,” under contract with the University of California Press, examines the transnational afterlives of the Mexican Revolution within the rapidly changing global economic system of the twentieth century. It argues that Mexican political figures, diplomats, and economists repeatedly drew on the ideological legacy of the Revolution to intervene in the conception, creation, and governance of global institutions, from the Pan-American Union to the New International Economic Order. The book analyzes how Mexican actors sought to project outward, into the international arena, the social and economic principles embodied in Revolution’s 1917 constitution. It uncovers decades of Mexican advocacy of economic cooperation, international financial redistribution, and equitable global governance, and it reveals how these ideas shaped the U.S. postwar project of international development. Arguing for the rights of small states as well as the responsibilities of large ones within an emergent global order, Mexican internationalist advocacy shaped not only ideas about sovereignty, self-determination, and economic development during the twentieth century, but also the codification of those ideas in international law, agreements, and institutions.

Fellowships and Awards