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Zachary Brittsan
Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX 79409-0006)
Murder and Justice in Mexico’s Age of Conflict, 1847-1871

Research leading to a book-length study criminal courts in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, 1847-1871.

By examining hundreds of wrongful death investigations and death sentence appeals in nineteenth-century Mexico, Trying Modernity captures how alleged criminals drew from their life experiences, cultural foundations, and legal understandings to defend themselves in the courtroom. Such testimonies give voice to the voiceless and tell us something about how everyday members of civil society understood and asserted their rights. Plotting the trajectory of individual voices across gender, racial, and social lines also reveals the meaning behind the contentious language deployed by judges, investigators, and witnesses. The quiet battle of words in the courtroom, too often overshadowed by the overt violence of military uprisings and civil war playing out at the same time, ultimately shaped a cultural consensus in 1871 that would be foundational for both the authoritarian peace of the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship and notions of citizenship and criminality that extend into the present.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Latin American History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 7/31/2018