Gilbert Joseph

Gilbert Joseph's picture
Farnam Prof History & International Studies

Gilbert M. Joseph received his doctorate from Yale University in Latin American history in 1978.  In 1993, after teaching for fifteen years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he returned to Yale, where he is presently Farnam Professor of History and International Studies.  In January 2005 he finished an eleven-year term as director of Latin American and Iberian Studies (Yale’s Comprehensive Title VI Center), and as Yale’s representative on the New England Consortium of Latin American Studies (a 4-campus arrangement that also includes Brown, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Massachusetts). He has also been a visiting professor at Duke University, Florida International University, and the University of Connecticut.  

Professor Joseph’s research and teaching interests focus on the history of modern Latin America, particularly Mexico and Central America, on revolutionary and social movements, and U.S.-Latin American relations.  He is the author of Revolution from Without: Yucatán, Mexico, and the United States, 1880-1924 (Cambridge University Press, 1982; rev. ed., Duke University Press, 1988; Spanish ed., Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992); Rediscovering the Past at Mexico’s Periphery (University of Alabama Press, 1986); and (with Allen Wells) Summer of Discontent, Seasons of Upheaval: Elite Politics and Rural Insurgency in Yucatán, 1876-1915 (Stanford University Press, 1996; Spanish ed. forthcoming). He is currently completing Mexico: The Once and Future Revolution (with Duke University Press), and working on a new project, Transnational Lives in the American Century, in collaboration with cultural anthropologist Patricia Pessar, which draws upon fieldwork in Peru, Central America, and the Dominican Republic.  The author of numerous articles on modern Mexico, the Mexican revolution, social movements, and the history of rural crime and protest, he is also the editor of thirteen books, including (with Daniel Nugent) Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico (Duke, 1994; Spanish ed., Ediciones Era, 2002); (with Catherine LeGrand and Ricardo Salvatore) Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin American Relations (Duke, 1998); (with Anne Rubenstein and Eric Zolov), Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico Since 1940 (Duke, 2001); (with Ricardo Salvatore and Carlos Aguirre) Crime and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society Since Late Colonial Times; Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History (Duke, 2001); (with Timothy Henderson) The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke, 2002); (with Daniela Spenser) In from the Cold: Latin America’s New Encounter with the Cold War (Duke, 2008); (with Greg Grandin) A Century of Revolution: Insurgent and Counterinsurgent Violence during Latin America’s Long Cold War (Duke, 2010); and (with Ben Fallaw and Edward Terry) Peripheral Visions: Politics, Society, and the Challenge of Modernity in Yucatán (Alabama, 2010).  

Professor Joseph edited the Hispanic American Historical Review (with Stuart Schwartz) from 1997-2002, and has served on the editorial boards of historical journals in the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela, and the U.K.  With U.S. historian Emily Rosenberg, he edits the book series “American Encounters/Global Interactions” for Duke University Press (about 40 titles to date).  He has advised a three-part PBS television series on the Mexican Revolution, served on the Latin American Regional Advisory Committee of the Social Science Research Council and the “Twenty-first Century Committee” of the Latin American Studies Association, and is the former North American Chair of the Joint Organizing Committee of the Conference of Mexican, U.S., and Canadian Historians.   Professor Joseph has sat on national screening and selection committees for fellowships administered by the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fulbright program.  He has been nominated for the presidency of the Conference on Latin American History (American Historical Association) and served as president of the New England Council on Latin American Studies. 

Among Professor Joseph’s academic honors are the Sturgis Leavitt Prize (twice awarded by the Southeastern Council on Latin American Studies for the best article on a Latin American subject); induction into the Academia Yucatanense de Ciencias y Artes; the Tanner Award (for excellence in undergraduate teaching at the University of North Carolina); the inaugural Graduate Mentor Award in the Humanities from Yale University; and the Geoffrey Marshall Faculty Mentoring Award, bestowed by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.  Over the course of his career he has directed 39 Ph.D. students (31 at Yale and 8 at UNC-Chapel Hill).  He has been awarded resident fellowships at the National Humanities Center, the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  His research has been supported by a multi-year NEH Interpretive Research Fellowship, and year-long research grants from the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright, the Organization of American States, and the William and Grace Doherty Foundation. 

Throughout the 1980s, Professor Joseph led or participated in several interfaith delegations to Nicaragua (one of which gave rise to “Witness for Peace”), and he helped to found Chapel Hill’s Sister City program with San Jorge, Nicaragua.  He has served on the advisory boards of Dwight Hall (the Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale), the New Haven-León Sister Cities Project, and the executive committee of Yale’s Program in Agrarian Studies.  He currently sits on the boards of the Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders, the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery and Abolition, the Albert Schweitzer Institute for International Human Rights (at Quinnipiac University), the Roothbert Educational Fund, and Just Foreign Policy.