Today, many Americans consider their nation and Mexico as polar opposites – one rich, one poor, one stable, one chaotic – whose histories have entirely distinct trajectories. In this lecture, Tore Olsson demonstrates that modern US and Mexican history share far more than we might realize. He looks at the 1930s and 1940s, when rural reformers in the United States and Mexico waged unprecedented campaigns to remake their countrysides in the name of agrarian justice and agricultural productivity. During this shared moment, US and Mexican history collided; the results were unpredictable and long-lasting.
Tore Olsson, who received his B.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004, is an assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is the author of Agrarian Crossings: Reformers and the Remaking of the US and Mexican Countryside, published by Princeton University Press in 2017.