Tuesday 17 April 2018, 16:15 - 18:00

The Religion of the Knights Templar (Michoacán, Mexico)

Claudio Lomnitz, Professor and Director of the Center for Mexican Studies, Columbia University

ANSO Seminar

Room S1
Maison de la Paix, Geneva

The Mexican "drug cartel" known as the Knights Templar flourished briefly, between 2011 and 2014, and was peculiar in its degree of ideological investment in organisation's alleged relationship to community.  The cartel was also unusual because it had a leader who actually functioned as an ideologue, and even took the time to publish his ideas, Nazario Moreno. 

This presentation is a consideration of the nature of these ideas, and of the Templar's complicated and uneven attempts to institutionalise them. The case offers a window into a more general problem, which is the construction of a moral economy by actors identified with organised and disorganised crime.

About the Speaker:


Claudio Lomnitz is Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University.  His books include Evolución de una sociedad rural (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1982); Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in Mexican National Space (University of California Press, 1992); Modernidad Indiana: nación y mediación en México (Planeta, 1999); Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books, 2005); El antisemitismo y la ideología de la Revolución Mexicana (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010) and, with Friedrich Katz, Una conversación sobre México, su revolución y su historia (Edicioines Era, 2011), and The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón (Zone Books, 2014).   Most recently he has published a book of essays entitled La nación desdibujada: México en trece ensayos (Ediciones Malpaso, 2016).  His most recent book Nuestra América: Memoria de familia, a study in Jewish and Latin American family history, is due to appear in 2018 with Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Professor Lomnitz is also the author of journalistic essays and writes a bi-monthly column for the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada, as well as a monthly column in Nexos.  He also wrote a historical play, co-authored with his brother Alberto Lomnitz, which received Mexico’s National Drama Award; a second play, also written in co-authorship with Alberto Lomnitz, is slated to open with Mexico's Compañía Nacional de Teatro in the fall of 2018.  Lomnitz served a 6-year term as editor of the journal Public Culture, and is currently co-editor of the books series Umbrales published by Fondo de Cultura Económica.  Claudio Lomnitz was a Fellow at the Wissenchaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2011-12 and won a Humboldt Research Award in 2016.  This year he is a visiting professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin and at CIDE in Mexico City.