The Radicalization of Latin American Students during the Catholic Sixties

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University Club, Room 212
@ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Painting of Jesus Christ in browns and yellows with halo and a gun slung over his left shoulder.
Alfredo Rostgaard, Christ Armed (1969, poster for the Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de África, Asia y América Latina, OSPAAAL) in the collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, CA.

Jaime M. Pensado

Kingdon Fellow (2022-2023)

Associate Professor of History, University of Notre Dame


In this presentation, I aim to explore a number of questions that have received little attention from historians of modern Latin America: was there a “Catholic Sixties” in the region? If so, how do we understand the historical significance of these years, not as a decade (i.e. 1960 to 1969), but rather as a unique moment in history? When did it start? How did it conclude and why? Who were the protagonists, central ideas, and key religious documents that shaped the era? How did the (imagined) idea of Latin America shape the Catholic Sixties in the broader anti-colonialist, student, artistic, and countercultural movements of the era? What role did lay university students play in shaping these movements?


Jaime M. Pensado is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in contemporary Latin American history, students movements, youth culture, the sixties, and the Cold War. He is currently completing his second book manuscript, Love & Despair: Catholic Activism, State Repression, and the Counterculture in Modern Mexico (University of California Press, forthcoming, 2023). His first book Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Political Culture during the Long Sixties (Stanford University Press, 2013) received the ”Mexico History Book Price” from the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH) while his co-edited volume with Enrique Ochoa, México Beyond 1968: Revolutionaries, Radical, and Repression during the Global Sixties and Subversive Seventies, was published in 2018 with the University of Arizona Press.

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