Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Coloniality in Mexico: perspectives from anthropology and history

23 January 2020, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm


This panel will discuss the concept of Coloniality and its relevance for explaining present and historical contexts in Mexico.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jennie Gamlin


IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

Recent calls to decolonise the curriculum have renewed discussions of colonial legacies and the politics of knowledge across disciplines. Bringing together anthropologists and historians, this seminar will examine Quijano’s concept of the ‘coloniality of power’ in the context of Mexico. Our speakers will focus on Mexico’s northwest, a region often neglected by scholars, despite being home to diverse geographies, ethnicities, and political cultures. Across deserts, mountains, coast and plains many of the northwest’s inhabitants, including indigenous Yaquis, Mayos, Huichols, Coras, Tarahumaras and Tepehuanos, as well as Spanish-speaking mestizos, have managed to preserve a high level of religious, political, cultural and territorial autonomy. A range of strategies from community activism and legal wrangling to obfuscation and dissimulation, from armed rebellion to militia violence, have been used to negotiate the pressures of modernizing governments, an expansionist Catholic Church and dominance of drugs cartels in the region. How do colonial legacies weigh upon contemporary social orders, forms of knowledge, and ideas of gender and race? How should these continuities be conceptualised and studied? What are the limitations and problems of viewing Mexican society and history through the lens of coloniality? We are delighted to host a panel of distinguished scholars for a wide-ranging discussion of this timely theme: M. Teresa Fernández (CIESAS, Guadalajara), Jennie Gamlin (UCL), Regina Lira (UNAM), Isabel Martínez (UNAM); Alan Knight, discussant (University of Oxford).

Supported by UCL Institute for Global Health, UCL Department of History; UNAM Instituto De Investigaciones Históricas; Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL.

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