News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Prof wins grant to study indigenous politics in Mexico

By Randall S. Barton on July 08, 2015 11:13 AM

Prof. Dillingham will study the history of indigenous education and development in Southern Mexico.

Prof. Alan Shane Dillingham [history 2014-] has won a $6,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue an historical study of incorporating native peoples into the national political and economic structures of Latin America.

Prof. Dillingham’s book project, “Speaking of Difference: The Politics of Indigenous Education and Development in Southern Mexico,” examines the relationship between indigenous peoples and modernization in the state of Oaxaca.

Last year, 43 male students from a rural teachers’ college in southern Mexico went missing after commandeering buses and traveling to Iguala, Guerrero, to hold a protest at a conference. Details of what happened to them are unclear, but an official investigation concluded the students were intercepted by local police, handed over to a local crime syndicate, and presumably killed.

“The violent assault on teachers in training from a predominantly poor and indigenous state emphasizes the centrality of teacher activism in Mexico’s past and present,” Prof. Dillingham says. “Understanding this history is crucial for formulating informed education policy that conceives of education practice as intricately tied to democracy and a robust civil society.”

Nominated for the competition by Reed College, Dillingham competed nationally for the award to fund his work on how historical legacies of marginalization interacted with 20th century processes of integration.