Skip to main content

2018 Callahan Lecture

The Shadow of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico

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. 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 50 years. 

William Beezley

William Beezley

William 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 fundamental anthologies like “A Handbook of Mexican History and Culture” and “The Oxford History of Mexico,” edited with Michael Meyer. He has authored or edited over 25 additional books. He has taught at SUNY and North Carolina State University, held endowed chairs at TCU and Tulane and served in visiting positions at the University of Texas, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, the Colegio de Mexico and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He currently teaches at the University of Arizona, directs the Oaxaca Summer Institute and sits on the editorial boards of  “The Americas,” “Mexican Studies” and University of Santiago’s “Revista Iberoamericana de Viticultura, Agroindustria y Ruralidad.” He is the editor-in-chief of “The Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Latin America.” 

About the Callahan Lecture 

The Callahan Lecture series was established in 1964 in honor of the eminent historian James Morton Callahan, who served as chair of the Department of History from 1902 to 1929, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1916 to 1929 and university research professor from 1929 to 1956.