Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Activities and Initiatives


Carmen Aristegui and Aida Hernandez

Photo by Paloma Diaz

The Mexico Center organizes talks and conferences on a wide array of topics related to Mexico. Recent events have included a concert by Danzonera SierraMadre, a Mexican danzón orchestra, complementing a faculty book presentation on the history of Mexican danzón; a panel on indigenous and land rights; the presentation of an opinion study on Mexican views of foreign policy and international affairs; the Foodways of Mexico series; and lectures on gender violence in Ciudad Juárez, the history of Mexican Catholicism, the impact of the border wall, and the legal framework of human rights.

For a complete listing of past and upcoming LLILAS events, visit our Events Calendar.

Mexico Center Initiatives

The Mexico Center has a series of initiatives focused around themes of importance to the University of Texas at Austin and Mexico, and around which a critical number of UT faculty are engaged. Each initiative is seen as an opportunity to bring scholars and researchers from both countries together to establish collaborative research efforts or to extend and deepen existing ones.


The newly established annual Mexico Center Puentes Conference will be the cornerstone of Mexico Center initiatives, with new projects taking shape on the basis of emerging topics that are identified as critical.

  • Health Initiative
    During the 2017–18 academic year, the Mexico Center indentified faculty from across the university researching health-related topics. They included faculty from the College of Liberal Arts, Dell Medical School, College of Education, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, College of Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Nursing, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. In collaboration with Dell Medical School and the Latino Research Initiative, the Mexico Center helped organize the Puentes: Advancing Population Health in February 2018, a two-day summit of UT and Mexican health researchers aimed at establishing targeted collaborations and dveloping projects and grant proposals.
  • Security and Governance Initiative
    The Mexico Center will host a second Puentes summit focusing on security and governance in February 2019. Organized jointly with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, the Human Rights Clinic at Texas Law, the College of Liberal Arts, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, this summit wil focus on critical issues related to Mexico's security concerns and their implications for the United States, as well as issues in governance, electoral integrity, human rights, the role of civil society, corruption, and the structure of institutions.
  • Shared Economies Initiative
    A Puentes summit focusing on shared economies is planned to follow the Security and Governance initiative. It will focus on key aspects of US–Mexico economic relations, including NAFTA, migration, energy, and water. Collaborations are being explored with a variety of colleges and units, including the McCombs School of Business, Jackson School of Geosciences, Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts. Mexican counterparts will help shape a critical and dynamic examination of US–Mexico economic relations.
  • Shared Heritage Initiative
    A Puentes summit focusing on Shared Heritage will allow for an engagement between UT repositories of cultural and historical objects and documents, such as the Benson Collection and the Harry Ransom Center, and the wealth of scholarship taking place in the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Fine Arts and other areas on campus such as Radio-Television-Film, to engage and accelerate collaborative work with parallel institutions and collections in Mexico.

Matías Romero Visiting Scholars Program

In partnership with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations, LLILAS Benson hosts the Matías Romero Visiting Scholars Program, which brings up to ten distinguished academics from Mexico to perform research at UT Austin each year.

For more information about the program and a listing of previous Matías Romero recipients, visit Matías Romero Visiting Scholars.

The Mexico Center Award

The Mexico Center Award rewards scholars at UT Austin who publish op-eds about Mexico in prominent highly reputable newspapers. Scholars from all areas of the university are invited to participate.

Eligibility: All faculty at The University of Texas Austin are eligible, including lecturers. The written piece submitted for consideration should have a publication date between March 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. Work may be published in the US or abroad. Topics related to Mexico should be central to the writing. Work can be in any discipline. Published work will be assessed by the LLILAS Benson Mexico Center Faculty Committee based on relevance of topic to Mexico-related scholarship, visibility of the publication, and contribution to UT’s status as a leading center for the study of Mexico.

Submission Process: Please send a link to your published article, accompanied by an explanation of up to one page that includes your name, department, title, areas of interest, and the relevance of the piece to scholarship on Mexico, to Paloma Diaz.

Ricardo Ainslie speaking at the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde event

Photo by Erik Vega

Award: Up to five published pieces will be eligible for an award of US$2,000.

For more information, contact Paloma Diaz.

The Austin Lecture on Contemporary Mexico

This annual series, which features some of the most prominent Mexican public intellectuals, seeks to raise awareness about the state of Mexico's current public affairs. Keynote speakers include:

Digital Initiatives at the Benson Latin American Collection

  • Libros de Hijuelas Post-Custodial Digitization Project
    Launched in November 2016, this two-year project encompassed the digitization of 192 land deed books, called libros de hijuelas, from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The hijuelas document indigenous Michoacanos’ negotiation with the reparto de tierras, a nationwide process of communal land privatization. Michoacán’s libros de hijuelas are the only known records that document this process at a statewide level. Digital copies of the archive will reside at the British Library, LLILAS Benson, and the Archivo General e Histórico del Poder Ejecutivo de Michoacán (AGHPEM).

    The project was funded by the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, and was a collaborative effort between LLILAS Benson archivists Theresa Polk and David Bliss, UT Department of History professor Matthew Butler, Dr. Antonio Escobar Ohmstede of CIESAS, Dra. Cecilia Bautista of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, and AGHPEM. A team of four historians from the Colegio de Michoacán performed the digitization and description work.
  • Fondo Real de Cholula Post-Custodial Digitization Project
    This project will digitize and catalog the Fondo Real de Cholula, held at the Archivo Judicial del Poder Judicial del Estado de Puebla, in the city of Puebla.The collection documents Cholultecos’ interaction with colonial and modern judicial structures, from the 1580s to the late 19th century. By bringing together materials from the colonial and modern periods, this collection will allow researchers to trace the transformation of Mexican legal practices, as well as indigenous adaptation to the changes, over a long period. This project launched in summer 2018 and will conclude in May 2019. A copy of the digital archive will remain at the Archivo Judicial in Puebla, and LLILAS Benson will publish an online copy.

    The Fondo Real de Cholula project is one of several funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation currently under way at LLILAS Benson. Collaborators on this project include LLILAS Benson archivists, UT professor of Spanish & Portuguese Kelly McDonough, Dra. Lidia Gómez García of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado de Puebla, and the Archivo Judicial del Poder Judicial de Puebla. The digitization and cataloging work will be performed by a team of three local historians, with support from staff of the Archivo Judicial.

For more information on these digital initiatives, contact Theresa Polk.


  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712