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Eminent Historian of Mexico to be honored at conference Friday and Saturday

Sept. 27, 2007

Leading historians of 19th and 20th Mexico from Mexico, as well as from the United States and Europe, will come to campus Friday and Saturday to honor Friedrich Katz, the Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, at a conference that will mark his 80th birthday this year.

The conference, “Land, Politics and Revolution” which begins at 8 a.m. Friday, will focus on the comparative and transnational history of Mexico during the formative years of the modern nation, from about 1880 to 1940. The conference will be held in the third floor lecture room, Swift Hall, 1025 E. 58th St.

“The aim of the conference is to produce a book of exceptional interest not only to historians of Mexico, but also to social scientists, students, and the reading public,” said Emilio Kourí, Associate Professor in History and Director of the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University.

The papers presented at the conference will address a broad range of issues, including the social roots of Mexican nationalism and internationalism, the transformation of the MexicoĐU.S. boundary into a distinctive borderland, and the Mexican Revolution.

A member of the University of Chicago faculty since 1971, Katz is surely one of the most eminent historians of modern Mexico working in the United States today, Kourí said.

“His books are widely recognized as brilliant works of scholarship,” Kourí added. “A generous and wise teacher and mentor, many of his students have become well-known academics in the United States, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.”

He has received numerous awards for his work, including three 1998 book awards. Those awards were the Bryce Wood Award for the best book on Latin America, The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, from the Latin American Studies Association; the Beveridge Prize for best book on the history of the Americas from the American Historical Association; and the Bolton Prize for best book on Latin American History from the Conference on Latin American History.

In 1988, Katz received the Orden del Águila Azteca, the highest honor Mexico can bestow on a foreign national. In 2004, Mexican president Vicente Fox inaugurated the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Chicago, which is already widely recognized as a vibrant center of international intellectual discussion on Mexican matters.

More information on the conference is available at

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Last modified at 07:15 AM CST on Thursday, September 27, 2007

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