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A Paradox in Mexico: Professor David Crow at the University of Minnesota

February 27, 2018


Invigorated by his love for Mexico, Professor David Crow is very motivated to do work that will contribute towards improving the human rights situation in the country. Academically, he says “I am interested in Mexico because despite the advent of democracy, human rights abuses persist, and this paradox motivates my work.” On the other hand, he is also emotionally motivated. “I love Mexico and I feel pain seeing the violence in a place that I love,” he said. At the end of the semester the database will be completed and Professor Crow hopes that this work will help the people of Mexico.

Dr. Crow is a visiting researcher with the Human Rights Program from the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City.  He and his family are spending a sabbatical year at the University of Minnesota, where he is working on his personal research as well as advising students in the Human Rights Program. 

White male professor meeting with two male studentsThis spring semester, Crow is leading a research seminar related to the investigation of enforced disappearances in Mexico. The research objective is to create a database of enforced disappearances in Mexico by coding news articles from six Mexican states with high levels of human rights violation. This database will be used to explore patterns of violence against victims, and to examine news coverage of disappearances and its deficiencies. The seminar involves eight bilingual graduate and undergraduate students.

Professor Crow’s research work involves public surveys on perceptions and attitudes on human rights. He has published his research in different academic journals such as Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and the Bulletin of Latin American Research. His passion for human rights in Mexico began simply. He could speak Spanish and had a strong interest for Spanish-language literature. He loved Mexican poets and writers. Freshly graduated from college, he says he did not have a plan and decided to go to Mexico on a whim. He was in Mexico in the 1990s, which was during an interesting time period politically because Mexico was going through a democratic transition. While in Mexico, he worked as a member of the NGO, Frontera Communes, in addition to working as a translator and teaching English. He was also befriended by many people who were working towards a more democratic Mexico. He continued his education at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Latin American Studies. Afterwards, he earned his Ph.D. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin in May, 2009.

As for his time in Minnesota, Dr. Crow says “I am excited to be here. The university is fantastic with wonderful students and faculty. Minnesota is beautiful and I like all the green space.” He adds with some humor, “I have embraced the Minnesota winter and snow.”