Alexander Dawson

Office: AQ 6016
Telephone: 778-782-3405

School of International Studies
Office: Harbour Centre 7232
Telephone: 778-782-7898

Area of Study: AMERICAS 


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.


Professor Dawson earned a PhD in Latin American History from SUNY-Stony Brook in 1997, and came to SFU in 2003 after spending five years at Montana State University. During his time teaching in the US he also spent periods at The University of Florida and Yale University.

Research Interests

Professor Dawson is a historian of Modern Mexico. He is currently working on a book titled Forever Rebels: Peyote and the Indian, from the Inquisition to the War on Drugs, which examines the ways peyote, whiteness, and indigeneity have been linked over time in Mexico and the United States by indigenous peoples, ecclesiastical authorities, government officials, and others. It also explores the ways in which the boundaries created around peyote and policed by various authorities have been blurred or crossed by a variety of actors since the colonial period. These crossings tell us a great deal about the ways in which the distinctions between Indian and non have been unstable over time, and offer important insights into contemporary debates about indigenous cultures and rights. It shows a history that is lost or marginalized in the fastidious claim to absolute difference, and offers a vision of what might be a less rigid form of identity politics.



  • "Histories and Memories of the Indian Boarding Schools in Mexico, Canada, and the United States", Latin American Perspectives, pp. 80-99.
  • "PAN Para Todos: Elections, Democracy, and the Right in Contemporary Mexico", in Right-wing politics in the New Latin America, edited by Francisco Dominguez, Dr. Geraldine Lievesley, and Steve Ludlam, London: Zed, 2011, pp. 63-77.
  • "El peyote y la autodeterminación a lo largo de la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México, desde Pátzcuaro hasta Avándaro", in La ambivalente historia del indigenismo: campo interamericano y trayectorias nacionales, 1940-1970. Laura Giraudo y Juan Martín Sánchez, eds. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2011, pp. 159-190.
  • "'Wild Indians,' 'Mexican Gentlemen,' and the Lessons Learned in the Casa del Estudiante Indigena, 1926-1932." The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History, 58:1, January 2001, pp. 21-53.
  • "From Models for the Nation to Model Citizens: Indigenismo and the 'Revindication' of The Mexican Indian 1920-1940," Journal of Latin American Studies, 30:1998, pp. 279-308.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

Modern Latin America, Mexico, Indigenous Peoples in the Americas, The History of Race.

Teaching Interests

Colonial and Modern Latin America, Race and Gender in Latin American History, Indigenous Peoples in the Americas, The History of Drugs, Historical Methods.


  • Workshop Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2011-2012
  • Cormack Award for Excellence in Teaching, Simon Fraser University, 2011
  • Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2007-2010
  • Scholarship and Creativity Grant for the Advancement of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Montana State University, 1999-2000
  • Research and Creativity Grant, Montana State University, 1998
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada