Claudio W. Lomnitz

Claudio W. Lomnitz

Research Interest


I work on the history, politics and culture of Latin America, and particularly of Mexico. I received my PhD from Stanford in 1987, and my first book, Evolución de una sociedad rural (Mexico City, 1982) was a study of politics and cultural change in Tepoztlán, Mexico. After that I 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, I also concentrated on the social work of intellectuals, a theme that I 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 I 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.  After that, I initiated detailed historical on exile and  ideology in the Mexican Revolution, that culminated in the publication The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014).  My most recent book is a collection of essays titled La nación desdibujada: México en trece ensayos (Ediciones Malpaso, 2016).

I am currently working on three interconnected projects that deal with strains on the institution of the family.  One is about a police raid to an orphanage in Michoacán, Mexico in 2014; the second is about exile, the destruction of Europe, and indigenismo in South America; and the third is a reading of violence and crisis in contemporary Michoacán, through the lens of family systems.

In addition to my academic publications, I also write in non-academic genres.  For many years now, I've been a regular contributor to the Mexico City press.  I write a bi-weekly column in the newspaper La Jornada, and a monthly column in Nexos.  I have also written an historical play on intellectuals and power in collaboration with my brother, Alberto Lomnitz, that won Mexico’s National Drama Award in 2010.  Our most recent play is a musical titled La Gran Familia, scheduled to open at the 2018 Festival Internacional Cervantino, in Guanajuato Mexico, with Mexico's National Theater Company.


"La Santa Muerte: estigma e intercambio"  Revista M. Estudos sobre a morte, os mortos e o morrer (forthcoming).

2017 Forward to the 40th-year commemorative edition of Héctor Aguilar Camín’s, La frontera nómada.  Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica.

2017 "Governing Coalitions and the Plunder of the Amazon", commentary in Hau Forum: Indigenous Peoples Boxed in by Brazil's Political Crisis", by Manuela Carneiro da Cunha.  Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7(2): 403-426.

2016 "Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)." Hispanic American Historical Review. 96(4): 711-714. 

2016 La nación desdibujada: México en trece ensayos. Mexico City: Editorial Malpaso.

2016 (trans. Jorge Aguilar Mora) El regreso del camarada Ricardo Flores Magón,  Ediciones ERA (Mexico City). 

2015 "Preguntas sobre el Porfiriato."  Nexos, July Issue.

2015 El primer linchamiento de México. Mexico City: El Colegio de México.

2014 The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón.  New York: Zone Books.

2014 Mexico’s First Lynching: Crime, Moral Panic, Dependency.  Critical Historical Studies 1(1).

2012 Time and Dependency in Latin America Today.  South Atlantic Quarterly, special issue on global crisis, edited by Michael Hardt and Moishe Postone, 111 (2): 348-357.

2011 Prologue to the 50th anniversary commemorative edition of Oscar Lewis, Los hijos de Sánchez, and Death in the Sánchez Family, Mexico City, Fondo de Cultura Económica.

2011 (with Friedrich Katz) El porfiriato y la revolución en la historia de México.  Mexico City: ERA.

2010 Anti-Semitism and the Ideology of the Mexican Revolution. Representations.

2009 Chronotopes of a Dystopic Nation: The Birth of “Dependency” in Late Porfirian Mexico.In Clio/Anthropos: Exploring the Boundaries Between History and Anthropology,edited by Andrew Wilford and Eric Taggliatozzo, Stanford, Stanford University Press.

2005 Death and the Idea of Mexico, New York, Zone Books.

2003 "Times of Crisis: Historicity, Sacrifice, and the Spectacle of Debacle in Mexico City," Public Culture.

2003 "The Depreciation of Life During Mexico City's Transition into the Crisis," in J. Schneider and I. Susser (Eds.), Wounded Cities: Destruction and Reconstruction in a Globalized World.

2001 Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism.

1999 Modernidad indiana: 9 ensayos sobre nación y mediación en México.

1993 "Functions of the Form: Political Ritual in the Partido Revolucionario Institucional's 1988 Presidential Campaign," in D. Levine (Ed.), Constructing Culture and Power in Latin America.

1992 Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in the Mexican National Space

1982 Evolución de una sociedad rural