The death in June 2014 (at age 77) of Arnaldo Córdova, historian, political theorist, lawyer, trade unionist, and specialist on the history of ideas, marked the end of an impressive academic, intellectual, and political career. Córdova, a professor with a lengthy career at Mexico City's Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where he taught in the Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociales and, later, at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, pioneered studies on the history of the first three decades of the Mexican Revolution, with a particular focus on the development of the revolutionary state and its relationship with the popular classes.

Córdova was a prolific writer, and his published work (virtually all of it on Mexico, since he showed little interest in the rest of Latin America) demonstrated great sophistication. Córdova's arguments about the nature of the state that emerged from...

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