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Francie Chassen-López

Research Interests:
Postcolonial Mexico; Latin American culture and society; gender history
History and Biography
War and Gender

Ph.D., National Autonomous University of Mexico


Francie Chassen-López has had the honor of being named Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, University Research Professor, and the  Provost´s Distinguished Service Professor, and most recently she was appointed to the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and her B.A. from Vassar College.  Before she returned to the U.S., she taught in Mexico City for ten years, first at the National University and later at the Autonomous Metropolitan University, where she attained the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. She continues to work closely with colleagues in Mexico City and Oaxaca.  She has been visiting researcher at both the Institute for Sociological Research and also at the Humanities Institute of the University of Oaxaca. She has served as Director of Latin American Studies three times and was the first woman to chair the UK Department of History. In 2017, the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece awarded her a Doctor Honoris Causa.

She has produced three single-authored books; two co-authored books; two short books; three edited short anthologies, and over 40 journal articles and books chapters. She writes fluently in both Spanish and English, and several of her articles in English have been translated into Spanish. Her article “Maderismo or Mixtec Empire?  Class and Ethnicity in the Mexican Revolution: Costa Chica of Oaxaca, 1911,” published in The Americas (55:1, 1998) earned her the Tibesar Article Prize from the Council on Latin American History and also the Hallam Article Prize awarded by the UK Department of History. Her first book was Lombardo Toledano y el movimiento obrero mexicano, 1917-1940 (Editorial Extemporáneso, 1977).

Her  book, From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South, Mexico 1867 -1911, was awarded the Thomas McGann Prize for the Best Book published on Latin American History in 2004 by the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies. The American Historical Review described it as “a powerful and remarkably comprehensive study that will be an essential reference on the subject for many years to come.”

Dr. Chassen-López recently finished a biography, Mujer y poder en el Siglo XIX: La vida extraordinaria de Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica de Tehuantepec, which she wrote in Spanish, published by Penguin Random House and Editorial Taurus, Mexico City (2020). She is presently translating it into English with the tentative title, Gender and Power in Nineteenth Century Mexico: Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec. While tracing Romero’s breathtaking transformation from humble cigarette vendor to wealthy entrepreneur and behind-the-scenes politician, this monograph explores the interplay of gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and power in the context of nineteenth century nation building. It reveals how women could attain and exercise power without the privileges of citizenship, and how others have represented that power.  

Dr. Chassen-López has worked with the Latinx community both on campus and in the community. Dr. Chassen-López and Dr. Lourdes Torres were the first faculty advisors to LASO, the UK Latino American Student Organization (now LSU) when it was founded in the 1990s. She has done spots on local TV and radio in Lexington as well as Oaxaca, and written an occasional piece for the Bluegrass’s bilingual newspaper, La Voz de Kentucky.  Committed to issues of diversity, fairness, and human rights, she was a founding member of the Kentucky Coalition on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. More recently, she served for a number of years on the Board of FLACA, the Foundation for Latin American and Latin@ Culture and Art, which organizes the yearly Latino Festival as well as supporting Latin American and Latino cultural events in the community.

Areas of Specialization

Postcolonial Mexico, especially nineteenth century, with an emphasis on gender, ethnicity, nation-building, and capitalism; women’s and gender history in Latin America since Independence; culture and society in Latin America.

Selected Publications:

Books Sole author:

  • Mujer y poder en el Siglo XIX: La vida extraordinaria de Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica de Tehuantepec. Mexico City: Penguin Random and Taurus Editorial, 2020
  • From Liberal to Revolutionary Oaxaca: The View from the South, Mexico 1867-1911. University Park: Penn State Press, 2004, 608 p.
  • Lombardo Toledano y el movimiento obrero mexicano, 1917-1940. Mexico City: Editorial Extemporáneos, l977, 285p.

Books Co-author:

  • Diccionario histórico de la Revolución en Oaxaca with Anselmo Arellanes, Héctor Martínez Medina, Víctor Raul Martínez Vásquez, Francisco José Ruiz Cervantes and Carlos Sánchez Silva. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 2000, 3rd ed.
  • La Revolución en Oaxaca 1900-1930 co-authored with Héctor Martínez, Carlos Sánchez, Francisco José Ruiz Cervantes, Víctor Raúl Martínez Vásquez, and Anselmo Arellanes. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1993.

Selected Articles:

  • “The Weaponizing of Women’s Bodies in the Wars of Reform and French Intervention in Mexico, 1857-67” Gender and History 35 No. 2 (June 2023) forthcoming.

  • “Biography or History? The Formation of the Biographical Turn and Its Impact on the Writing of History” in Collected Papers of History Studies 6 (197) (2021), Jilin University, Changchun, China, 67-81.
  • “’No podemos ni debemos permanecer impasibles’: Las oaxaqueñas en la Revolución de 1910” (‘We Cannot Remain Passive:’ The Women of Oaxaca in the 1910 Revolution), Historias (Journal of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico) 98 (2017), 69-101.

  • “Biografiando mujeres: ¿Qué es la diferencia?” (Writing Women’s Biography: What is the Difference?) for the journal Secuencia: Revista de Historia y Ciencias Sociales 100 (Instituto Mora, Mexico), (Jan.-April 2018), 133-162.

  • The Extraordinary Career of Juana C. Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec” for Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History 2017

  • “Las hijas de Oaxaca: Las mujeres liberales en las guerras de Reforma y de Intervención Francesa, 1857-1867” (The Daughters of Oaxaca: Liberal Women in the War of Reform and the War of French Intervention in Mexico) in Carlos Sánchez Silva, coord. La ciudad de Oaxaca: Pasado, Presente y Futuro (Mexico: Universidad Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, 2016), 265-295.

  • “El istmo de Tehuantepec en la mira extranjera y nacional” (Tehuantepec in the foreign and national gaze) in Pablo Serrano, coord. Inmigrantes y diversidad cultural en México, siglos XIX y XX, Homenaje al doctor Carlos Martínez Assad (Immigrants and Cultural Diversity in Mexico, In Honor of Dr. Carlos Martínez Assad) (Pachuca: Consejo Estatal para la Cultura y las Artes de Hidalgo y el Colegio de Hidalgo, 2016), pp. 179-200.

  • “Porfirio Díaz y Oaxaca durante el Porfiriato” Carlos Sánchez Silva and Francisco José Ruiz Cervantes, coords. Porfirio Díaz: de soldado de la patria a estadista 1830-1915 (Oaxaca: Carteles Editores and Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, 2015), pp. 104-135.

  • 'The Traje de Tehuana as National Icon: Gender, Ethnicity, and Fashion in MexicoThe Americas 71 No. 2 (October 2014), pp. 281-314.
  • "Distorting the Picture: Gender Ethnicity, and Desire in a Mexican Telenovela (El Vuelo del Aguila),"  Journal of Women’s History 20:2 (June 2008): 106-29.“Patron of Progress: Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec” Hispanic American Historical Review 88:3 (August 2008): 393-426.
  • La mujer en la construcción de la nación en el siglo XIX: Juana Catarina Romero, Cacica de Tehuantepec” in Brian Connaughton, ed. Prácticas populares, cultura política y poder en México, Siglo XIX. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and Imprenta Juan Pablos, forthcoming 2008.
  • “¿Una derrota juarista?: Benito Juárez García vs. los Juchitecos” in Antonio Escobar Ohmstede, ed. Los pueblos indígenas en los tiempos de Juárez. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana and Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, 2007, 37-68.
  • “’La rebelión contra los pantalones’: Oaxaca, 1896.” In Carlos Sánchez Silva, Coord. Historia, sociedad y literatura de Oaxaca. Nuevos enfoques. Oaxaca: Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca and Instituto Estatal de Educación Pública de Oaxaca, 2004, 135-48.
  • El café: los orígenes del grano de oro en Oaxaca" Cuadernos del Sur 13 (1999): 25-40.
  • “El Ferrocarril Nacional de Tehuantepec” Acervos 10 (1998): 10-16.
  • "Maderismo or Mixtec Empire? Class and Ethnicity in the Mexican Revolution (Costa Chica of Oaxaco, 1911)" The  Americas 55:1 (1998): 91-127.
  • "From Casa to Calle: Latin American Women Transforming Patriarchal Spaces." Journal of Women's History 9:1 (1997): 174-191.
  • "Cheaper Than Machines: Women in Agriculture in Portifirian Oaxaca" in Mary Kay Vaughan and Heather Fowler Salamini, eds. Creating Spacesm Shaping Transitions: Women of the Mexican Countryside, 1850-1990. Tuscon: University of Arizona, 1994, 27-50.
  • "Los orígenes de la Revolución en Oaxaca: Juarismo y porfirismo contra precursores y revolucionarios" in Eslabones 5, (1993): 118-137.
  • "La hacienda en Oaxaca" Guchachi' Reza Iguana Rajada  36, (1992): 13-21.
  • "El boom minero porfirista" in Lecturas históricas del estado de Oaxaca. Vol IV, 1877-1930, ed. María de los Angeles Romero, Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1990, 73-106.
  • "Elecciones y crisis política en Oaxaca: 1902" written with Héctor G. Martínez, Historia Mexicana XXXIX:2 (1989): 523-554.
  • "Oaxaca: del porfiriato a la revolución, 1902-1911"  Revista Mexicana de Sociología, 50th Anniversary Edition, Visiones de México, LI:3 (1989): 163-79.
  • "La expropiación petrolera y la CTM." Memoria del Primer Coloquio Regional de Historia Obrera  México City: CEHSMO, l977, 91-113.
  • "El movimiento obrero y la revolución mexicana" in Latinoamérica 7, (l974): 181-206.

HIstory 207 Modern Latin America

HIstory 562 Modern Mexico

HIstory 563 Women and Gender in Latin America

History 638 Readings in Contemporary Latin American History

LAS 601 Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

History 499 Biography and History

History 355 Women, Gender, and War