Infrastructure and the Environment in Mexico


I have conducted research in the National Archives in Surrey, England; the British Library; the Massachusetts State Archives; the Massachusetts Historical Society; the Peabody Museum Archives in Salem, Massachusetts; the Vera Harmsworth Library in Oxford; and Berkeley’s own Bancroft Library. This summer was my first time in Mexico, although I had previously studied Spanish at an immersive language school in Guatemala (the Proyecto Lingüistico Quetzalteco) and had visited a number of museums in Spain. The purpose of my summer travel was as an exploratory trip to the archives in Mexico to identify the scope and location of research materials in order to help me better plan future archival research for my Ph.D. dissertation, as well as to familiarize myself with a place where I intend to conduct more extensive research in the future (the Yucatán Peninsula and more specifically the Caribbean coast of Mexico), and to hone my Spanish language skills. To this end, I started out in the state of Quintana Roo (as a historian of Latin American and the Atlantic World interested in the projection and negotiation of state power in inter-and non-state spaces, this is the region of Mexico in which I expect most of my future research will be concentrated). I soon discovered that it will be necessary, on future archival visits, to plan further in advance: the local archives I had hoped to visit were closed or required prior permission to access and were located so far apart that traveling between them was prohibitively expensive. Following advice from my advisor, I, therefore, spent the bulk of my archival time in the Archivos General de la Nación (AGN) in Mexico City, where I found a wealth of primary source material (much of it relating to the areas whose local archives I had initially planned to visit – Vera Cruz, Campeche, Mérida). I intend to use this archival material in my Ph.D. dissertation.

Sophie Fitzmaurice
Publication date: 
August 27, 2016
Publication type: 
Student Research