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Robert Franco

Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar


PhD Student
Duke University

Photo: Robert Franco

Robert Franco received a Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar award in Summer 2017 to support research on “Revolution in the Sheets: The Sexual Politics & Intimate Practices of the Mexican Left, 1901-1981.” At the time of the award, he was a doctoral candidate in History at Duke University specializing in modern Latin America with an emphasis on Mexico.

His dissertation project, titled "Revolution in the Sheets: The Sexual Politics & Intimate Practices of the Mexican Left, 1901-1981" examines the antagonism of the Mexican Left towards sexual politics. In particular, he is interested in the prevalence of homophobia throughout the history of leftist politics in Mexico, and how moments of visceral intolerance cannot solely be explained through notions of plain conservatism or subconscious repugnance. Focusing on various episodes of moral panic in the left regarding sexuality and sexual diversity, his dissertation shows how the contingent, and often strategic, deployment of intolerance as a political tool encapsulated larger political and social anxieties and carried symbolic weight in the face of broader political upheavals.



Title of Research : Revolution in the Sheets: The Sexual Politics & Intimate Practices of the Mexican Left, 1901-1981

While at UNM, he addressed how issues of sex and sexuality have been in an uneasy, if not antagonistic, relationship with the revolutionary politics of the Mexican Communist Party (PCM) and other parties of the Marxist and nationalist left since their foundation. In his presentation, Franco interrogated how this antagonism was related to the intimate politics and practices in the Mexican Left. He argued that the surveillance and policing of sexuality by Mexican Communists were constitutive of a broader set of debates within the PCM about the relation of militancy to private life, morality, and behavior.



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