Casey Lurtz

Casey Lurtz
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Assistant Professor of History
  • Residential Fellow (2019-2020)
  • “Fomenting Development: Latin America’s Economic Experiments in the Post-Independence Era”

Casey Marina Lurtz is Assistant Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in Latin American history, with a particular focus on the history of rural development in the nineteenth century. Professor Lurtz is interested in integrating environmental and economic history through the exploration of how producers and bureaucrats alike shifted their approaches to nature during the first era of globalization. Her current work frames the emergence of development discourses as an exercise in asserting national sovereignty based in ecological extraction.

Professor Lurtz is the author of From the Grounds Up: Building an Export Economy in Southern Mexico (2019), a history of how local and migrant villagers, plantation owners, and investors constrained and contributed to the emergence of a coffee economy at the turn of the twentieth century. Her research has appeared in the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Business History Review, and ISTOR.

Professor Lurtz’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Harvard Academy for International & Area Studies, the Harvard Business School, the University of California, the San Diego Center for US-Mexican Studies, and the Fulbright Hays Program.


  • Codifying Credit: Everyday Contracting and the Spread of the Civil Code in Nineteenth-Century Mexico

    Law and History Review, 2021

    Casey Lurtz

    Between the 1870s and the 1910s, municipal court officials in southernmost Mexico recorded contracts regarding small debts and credits in what they labeled libros de conocimientos. While only very rarely citing Mexico’s new civil codes of the 1870s and 1880s, the contracts contained in these registers regularly engaged with the kinds of agreements, guarantees, and enforcement mechanisms laid out in the code. They also capture an active, if still elusive, quotidian credit market for the far from well-to-do. This article uses these registers to trace the creation and evolution of Mexico’s civil code from the periphery of the country rather than its center. By looking at the ways farmers, smalltime merchants, housewives, and laborers made use of its forms and norms, we can see how liberal economic policy permeated society through use. The determination of everyday people to make good on the protections and possibilities of liberalized fiscal policy cemented that policy in everyday practice.

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