Universiteit Leiden

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Randal Sheppard

University Lecturer

Dr. R.C. Sheppard
+31 71 527 2656

I am a scholar of Latin American History, focussing on Mexico, Cuba, and the Circum-Caribbean region from the twentieth century to the present. My first book titled A Persistent Revolution examined the role of Mexican revolutionary nationalism in Mexico's political and economic transitions from 1968 to the early twenty-first century. I am currently working on a book exploring the life and work of Cuban-born designer Clara Porset who became a pioneer of modern design in Mexico during the 1940s & 1950s. This book covers topics including transnational political activism, design and architectural history, cultural diplomacy, and Cold War cultural politics.

More information about Randal Sheppard


I research Latin America and particularly Mexico since the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917. I am particularly interested in the interaction between the roles of myths, symbols, and meaning in politics. This research has driven research on topics including nationalism and neoliberalism in post-1982 Mexico, political exile, design, and architecture in mid-twentieth century Mexico, and Cold War cultural diplomacy in Latin America.

In my book A Persistent Revolution: History, Nationalism, and Politics in Mexico since 1968 , I examine how Mexican Revolutionary nationalism helped to serve as a language of communication between political actors in Mexico during a period of political and economic transition. Most notably, I showed how revolutionary nationalism and historical myths and symbols served not just as a top-down form of political instruction but as a discourse that could be wielded “from below” to at times effectively constrain the options available to Mexican political and economic elites.

My current book project adopts a semi-biographical focus on Cuban-born designer Clara Porset and her exile in Mexico from 1935 to 1981. This research was conducted as part of the European Research Council project "Left-wing Exile in Mexico, 1934-1960." Focusing on Porset and her designs, I am exploring the intersection of political exile, transnational left-wing political networks, and modern design in Mexico and the circum-Caribbean region in the mid-twentieth century. This includes the role of hub cities such as New York City and Mexico City as sites of political cross-pollination and transformation from the inter-war period to the Cold War. I am also studying the role of individuals such as Porset in the “Cultural Cold War” between the United States and the Soviet Union from the 1940s to the 1960s.

Curriculum vitae

2007-2012: PhD (History) at La Trobe University, Australia
2010-2013: Lecturer and Tutor at La Trobe University, Australia
2013-2016: Postdoctoral researcher on ERC-Project "Left-wing Exile in Mexico, 1934-60" at University of Cologne, Germany 

Grants and awards

Australian Postgraduate Awards Scholarship (2007-2011) 


Bachelor of International Studies
Master of International Relations

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Latijns-Amerika studies

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 1.03



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