Dr. Elena Jackson Albarran

Elena Albarran

Associate Professor

Joint appointment in the History Department and Global and Intercultural Studies (Latin America, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies Program)

234 Upham Hall

Office Hours: by appointment 


  • PhD 2008, University of Arizona
  • MA, University of Arizona
  • BA, Bowdoin College

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Latin America
  • Cold War childhoods, youth and mobility
  • Dr. Albarrán teaches courses in modern Latin American history, comparative histories of childhood (Latin American, world, and Cold War), Latin American revolutions, popular culture (hybridity and commodification), and visual culture. Albarrán has collaborated with other faculty in the design and development of team-taught courses in History:1968, The Year that Changed the World (Fall 2014) and Food and Desire in World History (Spring 2016). She was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Educator Award in 2020.
  • As a scholar, Dr. Albarrán is a cultural historian of twentieth century Mexico and the history of childhood. She is the author of the monograph Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism (Univerisity of Nebraska Press 2015), and co-editor and contributor to the volume Nuevas miradas a la historia de la infancia en América Latina (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 2012). Her research on the intersections of national and transitional youth identities through the Mexican Boy Scouts has been published as a chapter anthology Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century (Palgrave MacMillan 2015). Her work on the rhetorical construction of the proletarian child in Mexico as a national ideal was published as a chapter in the collection Mexico in Verse: A History of Music, Rhyme, and Power (University of Arizona Press 2015). She has written historigraphical essays on the histories of Mexican History and Culture (Wiley-Blackwell 2011) and Oxford Handbook of Mexican History (Oxford Univerisity Press, 2020), respectively.
  • Albarrán continues to build pedagogical and research partnerships with colleagues from around the world. She is a founding member of the Latin American childhood scholars' network Red de Historiadores de las Infancias de América Latina (REHIAL). Her long-term collaborations with scholars of childhood are reflected in her contributions to the collection Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, and Agents: Approaches to Research in a Global Contex (Palgrave MacMillan 2021: the edited volume Infâncias y juventudes no século XX: histórias latino-americanas (Editora Todapalavra, 2018); and the multivalent project Re-Connect/Re-Collect (University of Tampere, Finland, ongoing.)

Courses Recently Taught

  • HST/LAS 217 Modern Latin American History
  • HST 296 Travel in Cold War Europe
  • HST/LAS 319 Revolution in Latin America
  • LAS/SPN 332  Latin American Popular Culture
  • HST 360 Comparative Cold War Childhood
  • HST 360T Mexico since Independence
  • LAS 410/510 Latin American Issues
  • LAS 410J  Child and Nation in Latin America
  • HST 400G  Senior Capstone: Art, Power, and History in 20th Century Latin America
  • HST 400R  Senior Capstone: History of Modern Childhood

Selected Publications 

  • “Infancia y la política cultural del desarrollo en el Día Panamericano, 1930-1948,” Revista Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Niñez y Juventud 19:3 (septiembre-diciembre 2021): 1-26. (Which can also be hyperlinked to the article here http://revistaumanizales.cinde.org.co/rlcsnj/index.php/Revista-Latinoamericana/article/view/4884/1095)
  • “‘So How’s Your Childhood Going?’ A Historian Confronts Her Own Archive,” Children and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents: Approaches to Research in a Global Context, Eds. MJ Maynes, Deborah Levison and Frances Vavrus. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2021. Pp. 13-32. (Hyperlink to article here https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-63632-6_2)
  • “Prólogo: Infancias y juventudes en la historia latinoamericana (siglo XX),” Infâncias y juventudes no século XX: histórias latino-americanas. Eds. Silvia Maria F. Arend, Esmeralda Blanco B. de Moura, and Susana Sosenski. Ponta Grossa [Brazil]: Editora Todapalavra, 2018, pp. 13-20.
  • “Educating the Nation’s Youth,” Oxford Handbook of Mexican History, Ed. William H. Beezley. Oxford University Press, July 2020. (Hyperlink to article here: https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190699192.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780190699192-e-19)
  • “The Three Faces of the Family, 1870-present.” Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Latin American History [online]. Ed. William H. Beezley. September 2015. (Hyperlink to article here https://oxfordre.com/latinamericanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.001.0001/acrefore-9780199366439-e-22?rskey=s7sjkx&result=1)
  • Child and Nation in Latin American Student Capstone Blog
  • Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism (Nebraska, 2015)
  • "Guerrilla Warplay: The Infantilization of War in Latin American Popular Culture,"Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, vol. 24, 2005.
  • "A Century of Childhood: Growing up in Twentieth-Century Mexico," in William H. Beezley, ed., A Companion to Mexican History and Culture, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • "Comino vence al diablo and Other Terrifying Episodes: Itinerant Children's Puppet Theater in 1930s Mexico," The Americas, v. 67, n. 3, January 2011, 355-374.
  • Co-editor, with Susana Sosenski, Nuevas miradas a la historia de la infancia en América Latina: entre prácticas y representaciones (New Approaches to the History of Childhood in Latin America: Between Practice and Representations), Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2012.
  • Seen and Heard in Mexico: Children and Revolutionary Cultural Nationalism, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.  Winner of the 2016 Maria Elena Martinez book award of the Conference on Latin American History.
  • "El niño proletario: Jesús Sansón Flores and the New Revolutionary Redeemer, 1935-1938" in Mexico in Verse: A History of Music, Rhyme, and Power, eds. Stephen Neufeld and Michael Matthews, University of Arizona Press, 2015.
  • "Boy Scouts under the Aztec Sun: Mexican Youth and the Transnational Construction of Identity, 1917-40" in Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century, eds. Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
  • "Los niños colaboradores de la revista Pulgarcito y la construcción de la infancia, México 1925-1932" ("Child Contributors to Pulgarcito Magazine and the Construction of Childhood, Mexico 1925-1932"), Iberoamericana 15:60, 2015.

Work in Progress

Albarrán’s current book project examines the transnational circulation of children and children’s culture in the Americas in the first half of the twentieth century, with critical approach to the ways that art, education, and popular cultural exchanges between and of children generated ideas about development.