I will join the Johns Hopkins faculty full-time in July 2018 as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latin American studies. In 2017-2018 I will be on research leave as a WIGH Fellow in the Research Cluster on Global Transformations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. A specialist in the political economy of Latin America, I received my PhD in 2015 from New York University and taught at Rowan University prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins. I hold a BA from Barnard College and Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, and before graduate school, I was for five years the Executive Director of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), a 50-year-old research and advocacy organization. My research interests include comparative-historical sociology, global inequality and development, labor and social movements, Latin American political economy, and Mexican state formation.
My current manuscript project, Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy, under contract with the University of California Press, uses a case study of post-revolutionary Mexico to reexamine the origins of development as an international project. Using a comparative-historical analysis, the book traces how 20th-century Mexican diplomats, political figures, and economists mobilized the social and economic tenets of the Mexican Revolution to advocate for an international regime of redistributive multilateralism. The book argues that this Mexican advocacy had a profound impact on the creation and reform of international development institutions, as well as on how planners in the United States understood and executed the development project. This project therefore argues for the need to move beyond frameworks of diffusionist modernization or dependent development to retheorize the emergence of development from the Global South.
In addition, I am also working on a theorization of the links between neoliberalism, democracy, and the drug trade in contemporary Mexico, and have begun research for an incorporating comparison of the relations between and within the state and left movements in Mexico and Chile in the 1970s.
“A Mexican International Economic Order? Tracing the Hidden Roots of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States,” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 9:3 (Winter 2018).
“‘Mexico Has the Theories’: Latin America and the Invention of Development in the 1930s,” in The Development Century: A Global History, Stephen Macekura and Erez Manela, eds. (New York: Cambridge, forthcoming).
“Voice and Vote for the Weaker Nations: Mexico’s Bretton Woods,” in Bretton Woods: Global Perspectives on the Conference and the Post-War World Order, G. Scott-Smith and J. Simon Rofe, eds. (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).
Audio: Christy Thornton: Confronting the Neoliberal Narco-State in Mexico, The Dig (podcast), August 8, 2017
“Mexico’s Ruling Party is in Free Fall,” Washington Post, July 27, 2017
“An Empire Upside Down,” Dollars & Sense, (cover story) July/August 2017
“Estado de México: Grietas en la fortaleza,”Aristegui Noticias, Mexico, June 7, 2017
“Ending U.S. Support for Mexican Repression Starts at Home,” NACLA Report on the Americas, December 2016
“Unraveling Drug War Capitalism,” Introduction to NACLA Report forum, July 2016
“Peña Nieto’s Strategy of Denial is Undermining His Promises,” Al Jazeera America, September 26, 2015
“Obama’s Support for Mexico Prioritizes Investors over Citizens,” Al Jazeera America, January 13, 2015
“Pressure Mexico to Respect Human Rights,” New York Times Room For Debate, December 2, 2014
“White House Silence on Mexico Protests Speaks Volumes,” Al Jazeera America, November 20, 2014
“Mexican Mass Graves Point to the Failure of National Reforms,” Al Jazeera America, October 11, 2014
“How the Mexican Drug Trade Thrives on Free Trade,” with Adam Goodman, The Nation, July 9, 2014.