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William McMahon, Class of 2015, History, with his faculty mentor, Dr. Jaime Pensado
The aim of my research trip to Chiapas, Mexico was to discover, photograph, and catalog the murals and other revolutionary art of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), or the “Zapatista Army of National Liberation.” A libertarian socialist revolutionary movement influenced by anarchism, Marxism, and traditional Mayan communalism, the EZLN began its rebellion against the Mexican state on 1 January 1994, the date that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. My senior thesis in the history department examines the ideological development of the EZLN. I have previously published a paper on revolutionary imagery in southern Mexico, and given the important role of art for the Zapatistas, the symbolism of their murals will be key to tracing their ideological roots. The most transformative period of my trip was the two days I spent in the rebel compound of “La Realidad,” where I saw the EZLN's revolution as truly alive.
Dr. Jaime Pensado is the Carl. E. Koch Associate Professor of History and a Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on Modern Mexican history, student movements, youth culture, Latin American Revolutions, and the Cold War.