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Mallon, Florencia E. (1951–) - Latin American History

university teaching received research

Florencia Elizabeth Mallon was born on October 28, 1951, in Santiago, Chile, of South American ancestry. Her mother was an educator; her father was an economist. She was an international student as a child, attending elementary school in the United States, Pakistan, Chile, and Argentina, and high school in Argentina, Colombia, and the United States. Her early influences included her paternal grandfather, after whom she was named. This grandfather, an amateur historian, spent a lot of time with Florencia, his first grandchild. She was also influenced by her family’s travels, especially by the poverty she witnessed in Pakistan when she was between seven and nine years old.

Mallon attended Harvard University, earning a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude in history and literature, in 1973. When she entered college she wanted to be a writer and to work on issues related to Latin America. As a junior, though, she took a graduate research seminar with John Womack, who asked the students to study the influence of one of a number of intellectuals on the development of the Mexican Revolution. He sparked her interest in history, and Mallon went on to complete a master of arts degree, a master of philosophy degree, and a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Yale University, in 1975, 1976, and 1980.

Mallon began her teaching career at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima, Peru, where she co-taught a mini-seminar on Latin American history with Steve J. Stern, her husband. She also taught as instructor and then assistant professor at Marquette University from 1979 to 1982, in the Latin American and Third World history program. Mallon shared a visiting position at Yale University with Steve Stern during the spring semester of 1982. She then accepted a position as assistant professor of modern Latin American history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she continues to teach. Mallon was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and professor in 1988. During the summer of 1990 she taught a graduate seminar, “The Nation-State in the Andes,” at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Quito, Ecuador.

Mallon is the author or co-author of three books, the most recent of which, Lucha campesina y transicion capitalista, 1860–1940: En defensa de la comunidad en la sierra central , is in progress. Her previous books both received critical acclaim. Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru , published in 1995, was designated a Centennial Book by the University of California Press and received the Bryce Wood Award from the Latin American Studies Association. Her 1983 publication, The Defense of Community in Peru’s Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–1940 , is in its fourth paperback printing and received an honorable mention for the Bolton Prize. Mallon has also written over thirty scholarly articles and edited a special issue of Latin American Perspectives .

Florencia Mallon has received grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, the Tinker Foundation, and the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies of the American Council on Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. She has also provided a great deal of service to the profession, chairing the selection subcommittee for the Fulbright Scholars Program in Latin America, serving on the board of the Council on the International Exchange of Scholars, and acting as president, in 1994, of the Conference on Latin American History. Mallon currently serves on the board of directors of Latin American Research Review , on the board of editors of Political Power and Social Theory , and as participating editor for Latin American Perspectives . She has also provided professional service to the American Historical Association, the Conference on Latin American History, and the Latin American Studies Association.

Mallon is passionately dedicated to teaching. “If you are excited about what you do,” she states, “it is possible to communicate that excitement to students.” In 1995 she received the University of Wisconsin’s Emil H. Steiger Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the history department’s Karen Fredrikka Falk Johnson Distinguished Teaching Award. She has also been involved in a pilot project in the history department whereby faculty would conduct peer reviews of teaching and has lectured on the practice and rewards of research and teaching.

Florencia Mallon has been married to Steve J. Stern since 1978. They have two children, Ramon Joseph, born in 1982, and Ralph Isaiah, born in 1986. Her interests include playing guitar and singing, swimming, and writing. Her writing projects include fiction, including a completed novel and, occasionally, poetry.

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