Skip to main content
  • Home
  • News
  • Events
  • Callahan Lecture 2018: William H. Beezley, "The Shadow of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico"

Callahan Lecture 2018: William H. Beezley, "The Shadow of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico"

The Shadow of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico

William H. Beezley 

Investigador visitante, UNAM and Professor, University of Arizona


The massacre of more than 300 peaceful demonstrators in Tlatelolco’s Plaza of Three Cultures by military and paramilitary troops on October 2, 1968 destroyed most of the creditability of the revolutionary regime and shaped the history of recent Mexico. In the short run, the event ensured that the Olympics Games, beginning in just weeks, would occur without disruption, at least by Mexican students and other demonstrators, but in the long run it cast a shadow that motivated political, social, and cultural efforts to change the nation. A generation of politicians, students, workers, women, and indigenous leaders have endeavored to democratize Mexico. Their efforts have focused on creating much more than an electoral democracy, but a society of laws, built on recognition and respect for individual civil, human, and social rights free of violence. This presentation, which features a visual case study, examines the shadow cast by Tlatelolo over the past fifty years.

Lecturer: William H. Beezley


William H. Beezley has achieved an international reputation for his investigations of Mexico’s history and culture through such publications as the classic Judas at the Jockey Club, other books such as Mexican National Identity: Memories, Innuendos, and Popular Culture, and such fundamental anthologies as A Handbook of Mexican History and Culture and The Oxford History of Mexico, edited with Michael C. Meyer. He has authored or edited over twenty-five additional books, including Mexicans in Revolution, written with Colin M MacLachlan, Latin American Popular Culture: An Introduction, edited with Linda Curcio-Nagy, and the volumes of The Human Tradition in Latin America with Judy Ewell. His books have been translated into Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. His interests extend throughout Latin America and to the topics of craft brewing and Malbec wine.  He has appeared as a guest expert in over twenty PBS episodes of “The Desert Speaks” and “In the Americas with David Yetman” and currently he and Rod Camp are doing interviews with former Mexican presidents and others for a video-production on the democratization of Mexico. He has taught at SUNY and North Carolina State University and held Endowed chairs at TCU and Tulane and visiting positions at Universities of Texas, Calgary, British Colombia, the Colegio de Mexico, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He now teaches at the University of Arizona, directs the Oaxaca (Mexico) Summer Institute in its seventeenth year, sits on the editorial boards of The Americas, Mexican Studies, and University of Santiago (Chile)’s Revista Iberoamericana de Viticultura, Agroindustria y Ruralidad, and serves as a member of the technical commission of   "Wines, vines and winemakers: voyages, messages and métissages" at Toulouse University. He is the editor-in-chief of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Latin America. His current research projects investigate “Objects and Episodes in Latin America’s Lively Arts,” “Porgy & Bess Battle the USSR in Cold War Latin America,” "Malbec Matters: The History of a Variety,” (an online essay is on the Wines of Argentina website) and a documentary video project on the African runaway slave communities in Latin America. In May, 2017, in recognition of his contributions to the knowledge of Mexico’s history and culture, the Mexican government awarded him the Ohtli medal

About the Callahan Lecture

The Callahan Lecture series was established in 1964 in honor of the eminent historian James Morton Callahan, who served as Department Chair from 1902 to 1929, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1916 to 1929, and University Research Professor from 1929 to 1956. A student of Herbert Baxter Adams, Callahan received his Ph.D. from the John Hopkins University and is considered one of the founders of modern diplomatic history. He wrote numerous works, including The Alaska Purchase and Americo-Canadian Relations, American Foreign Policy in Mexican Relations, American Relations in the Pacific and Far East, 1784-1900, Cuba and International Relations: A Historical Study in American Diplomacy, and The Diplomatic History of the Southern Confederacy.