Tutino’s New Book Chronicles capitalism from the perspective of The Mexican Heartland

John Tutino and John McNeil sit side by side at a table


By Matt Ellison

On January 17, 2018, John Tutino, Professor of History and International Affairs in the School of Foreign Service, launched his new book, The Mexican Heartland: How Communities Shaped Capitalism, a Nation, and World History, at a book talk and discussion with Professor John McNeill at the Mortara Center for International Studies.

The Cover of The Mexican Heartland Book by John TutinoThe Mexican Heartland provides a new history of capitalism from the perspective of the landed communities surrounding Mexico City. It tells the story of how landed communities and families around Mexico City sustained silver capitalism, challenged industrial capitalism―and now struggle under globalizing urban capitalism. In a sweeping analytical narrative spanning the sixteenth century to today, John Tutino challenges our basic assumptions about the forces that shaped global capitalism―setting families and communities at the center of histories that transformed the world.

At the book talk, Tutino and McNeill discussed a range of topics related to the book, as well as Tutino’s sources and methods in piecing together this history. The discussion also included Q&A with the audience of faculty, students, and other community members. On the book’s use of local sources placed in a greater global context, Tutino explained, “I came to Georgetown in 1993 and a colleague named John McNeill kept asking me, ‘Why don’t you put your stuff in greater global context,’ and I’m not sure he ever stopped asking that question. I didn’t need a lot of cajoling really.”

“I started out committed to the notion as a scholar that the toughest yet most important thing to do was to figure out how life was lived in families and communities. Everybody presented everything else as being good or bad for families and communities and very few people ever really sought out the sources and perspectives to document life at the local. And so I did that. Early on, I figured out that the local is never merely the local.”