31st Keniston Lecture "Taking Action and Sharing Responsibility for Mexico’s Violence"
Lecture by Claudio Lomnitz. Lecture presented by Claudio Lomnitz (Columbia University). Abstract: President Barack Obama presented a gun control bill to congress barely a month after the dreadful assassination of 20 schoolchildren and teachers at Newtown, Connecticut. “Our hearts are broken,” Obama said on the day of the shooting, as he vowed to take meaningful action.
Between 2006 and 2012 more than 60,000 people were killed in Mexico with guns purchased legally in the United States—more than 300 for every person killed at Newtown. Often those assassinations have been accompanied by rape, torture, and the defilement of the bodies of the victims. The people doing the killing, and some of those doing the dying, were either involved in producing and selling drugs for the US market, or were military personnel devoted to enforcing drug policies that have been actively promoted by the United States. And yet, public discussion of drug and gun policies in the United States have reflected practically no sense of accountability with regard to the effects that US “domestic” policy has on its closest neighbor. This lecture offers an analysis of this situation, and calls for an ethical grass-roots response.
Professor Lomnitz is the William H. Ransford Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Before going to Columbia U in 2006, Prof. Lomnitz was a professor of history at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and his research focuses on the history, politics and culture of Latin America, particularly that of Mexico. His books include Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books, 2005) and Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2001).