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, “Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy,” is a history of 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 manuscript 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