Ricardo Alvarez-Pimentel

Ricardo Alvarez-Pimentel's picture
Research interests: 

Latin America

Ricardo is a Ph.D. candidate in Modern Latin American History who is in his sixth year of study at Yale University. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Chicago (2012) and an M.A. from Yale (2017) in the same field. Ricardo’s academic interests include the history of revolutions and upheavals, international relations, nationalism, religion, and race relations as they pertain to Latin America and the Caribbean region. Currently, Ricardo is completing his dissertation, “From Secret War to Cold War: Anti-Revolutionary Catholicism and the (Un)Makings of Counterrevolutionary Mexico, 1917-1949,” which he expects to complete in the spring of 2022. 
Ricardo’s doctoral research examines publications, magazines, and propaganda produced by women and youth groups in the Acción Católica Mexicana (Mexican Catholic Action), thereby uncovering pivotal intersections between racism, antifeminism, and right-wing religious nationalism in early-twentieth-century Mexico. Ricardo is particularly interested in the origins of fascism in Mexican society, and the ways in which conservative Catholic partisans from Mexico’s upper and middle classes leveraged discourses of religious restoration to advance anti-democratic political projects. In his dissertation, Ricardo traces Acción Católica’s ideological evolution by exploring how anti-revolutionary Catholic partisans abandoned the third-way Catholic social doctrine of the nineteenth century, and instead adopted a staunch anti-communism that demonized the statist “socialism” of the Mexican revolutionary government and rejected the tenets of Western liberalism (e.g., secularism, individualism, laissez-faire capitalism). Subsequently, Ricardo examines how Mexico’s Catholic Action movement adopted the language of order, morality, and spiritual community to suppress indigenous women’s’ activism, quell the influence of popular religiosity in the Mexican countryside, and subdue an increasingly dissident urban youth. Taking a transnational approach, Ricardo examines the evolution of Mexican conservatism while analyzing pivotal transformations in the relationship between Mexico, Spain, and the United States. His doctoral research is grounded on documentary evidence retrieved from over 15 archival collections located throughout Mexico, the United States, and Europe.
In line with his academic interests and the scope of his dissertation, Ricardo has published two peer-reviewed academic articles and a prize-winning essay (see “Featured Publications”). These topics include: Mexican racism and notions of whiteness, Catholic women’s activism and religious (anti)feminism, and black/brown race relations in the context of Mexican immigration to interwar Chicago. Ricardo’s most recent article, “Unspoken Whiteness: #Whitexicans and Religious Conservatism in Mexico,” offers a thoughtful analysis of racism in Mexican society. Inspired by the world’s racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, Ricardo’s piece was published in December 2020 and formed part of the inaugural issue of the new Journal of Hispanic and Lusophone Whiteness Studies. There, Ricardo explores past and present intersections between whiteness and religious conservatism in Mexican society. He combines his own historical work with academic reflections on contemporary issues, exploring recent debates and controversies emerging from Mexico’s right-wing social media circles on the topics of Donald Trump, abortion, and racial violence (among others).
Within his specific field of expertise, Ricardo is the co-founder of the Historians of Catholic Mexico Virtual Network (HISTCATMEX), which he established alongside Ph.D. candidate Nathan Ellstrand at Loyola University Chicago in May 2020. HISTCATMEX comprises an international network of historians devoted to furthering research and promoting academic collaboration pertinent to twentieth-century Mexican Catholic history amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (website forthcoming). Made up of senior scholars, advanced graduate students, and everyone in between, HISTCATMEX will be hosting five academic panels at the 2021 conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). As the network organizes an inaugural symposium of its own, Ricardo and Nathan are drafting a joint article on the relationship between Mexican Catholic Action and the Union Nacional Sinarquista
In the realm of public history, Ricardo has been involved in several podcasting and mixed-media collaborative projects as part of his mission to make his academic work accessible to a broader and more diverse range of audiences. In the summer of 2020, for example, he co-curated and wrote historical text for the Moscow-based Project Exodvs virtual exhibit on Mexican history, contemporary art, photography and culture: https://exodvs.com/2181487/. In July 2020, Ricardo launched his own podcast, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (https://soundcloud.com/therevwillnotbetelevised), which he co-hosts, co-writes, and co-produces with his close friend and colleague, R.K. Snyder at Freie Universität Berlin. With an audience that spans 28 countries in 6 continents, the podcast aims to provide historical context and theoretical/philosophical rigor to our understanding of contemporary political issues. Topics discussed include revolution and fascism, the contradictions of social media, religion and secular modernity, populism, nationalism, and the twenty-first-century reaction to globalization (among others). Following the success of his podcast, Ricardo was invited to participate as a recurring guest contributor in the internationally-acclaimed Corner Späti podcast (Corner Späti - Feelin’ Like Polish Obama (Feat: Ricardo Alvarez-Pimentel)).
At Yale, Ricardo’s work has been made possible thanks to the following generous awards: David Coles Fellowship, MacMillan Center International Dissertation Research Grant, John F. Enders Research Fellowship, Research and Travel Award in International History and Security, Gayer G. Dominick Fellowship, Angelo Bartlett Giamatti Fellowship, Howard Futhey Brinton Fellowship, Tinker Summer Research Grant, and MacMillan Center International Pre-Dissertation Research Grant.
Beyond the realm of higher education, Ricardo holds extensive experience laboring as a research assistant and working for non-profit organizations, independent schools, and museum institutions. He welcomes any and all inquiries from prospective students, particularly students of color, students with families, and students coming directly from Latin American institutions. Feel free to email him at the above address with questions about Yale’s graduate program.
Featured Publications:
– Alvarez-Pimentel, Ricardo J. (2020) “Unspoken Whiteness: #Whitexicans And Religious Conservatism in Mexico.,” Journal of Hispanic and Lusophone Whiteness Studies (HLWS): Vol. 1 : Iss. 2020 , Article 4. Available at: https://digitalcommons.wou.edu/hlws/vol1/iss2020/4 [PDF]
–“Guerra Fría, Guerra Cristera, Guerreras Católicas: El conservadurismo y feminismo católico de la Juventud Católica Femenina Mexicana (JFCM), 1926-1939,” in “Segundo Coloquio: Pensar las derechas en América Latina en el siglo XX,” Nuevo Mundo, Mundos Nuevos [online journal]. Workshops, Online since 02 October 2017 [https://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/71299]
– ”Adopting the American Racial Lens: A History of Mexican Migration to Chicago from the Town of Arandas, Jalisco”, Chicago Journal of History: An Undergraduate Publication, volume 1, (spring, 2013): 35-51. [PDF].