Matthew W. Vitz F'09

Matthew W. Vitz

New York University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
History
New York University
Resources of Revolution: Environmental Politics in the Valley of Mexico, 1900-1950.

Using the environmental linkages between Mexico City and its hinterlands as a conceptual starting point, this dissertation argues that persistent pre-revolutionary modes of state formation and urbanization shaped the environmental politics of the Valley in this period. The power to transform and regulate the use of forests and water was vested primarily in the urban elite, composed of developers, engineers, and government officials. Their policies of urban development – public works projects, sanitary-service provision, and forest regulations – stymied popular demands regarding environmental rights. The revolutionary state’s policies, which sought to create a “modern," productive citizenry, at times dovetailed with the perceived rights of local populations. But the main consequence of environmental politics in this period was the increasing stratification of resource use and the concentration of power.