Acknowl edgments
This book started as a dissertation more than a de cade ago at the University of
Chicago. My dissertation chair, Emilio Kourí, was an exemplary mentor, always
supportive but also giving me the pointed criticism I needed. I thank him and
my other dissertation committee members Claudio Lomnitz, Dain Borges,
and Christopher Boyer for their critical support as I made the transition from
gradu ate student to assistant professor. As a fellow environmental historian of
Mexico, Chris has been both a mentor and collaborator over the years. I also
thank my cohort of gradu ate students, postdoctoral fellows, and colleagues at
the University of Chicago; University of Notre Dame; University of California,
San Diego (ucsd); University of California, Los Angeles (ucla); and Stanford
University, among others, for their critical feedback on the dissertation or the
book manuscript. If I tried to list here the dozens and dozens of you, I am afraid
I would inadvertently fail to include every body, so I prefer to express my gratitude
to all of you collectively.
I am grateful to the archivists and librarians of the following who helped
me locate a wide variety of primary sources: Archivo General de la Nación,
Archivo Histórico del Agua, Archivo Agustín Espinoza de la Universidad
Iberoamericana, Archivo Municipal de Torreón, Archivo Marte R. Gómez,
Archivo Calles- Torreblanca, U.S. National Archives and Rec ords Administra-
tion, Archives Center of the Museum of American History (Worthington
Corporation Rec ords), the Rocke fel ler Archive Center, Biblioteca Lerdo de
Tejada, Hemeroteca Nacional, Hemeroteca El Siglo de Torreón, and Hemero-
teca La Opinión de Torreón. I express special thanks to two Mexican colleagues
and friends: Luis Aboites and Sergio Corona Páez. Luis piqued my interest in
los usos sociales del agua. His pioneering scholarship on Mexican water history
was an inspiration for this book. Sergio’s prolific scholarship was crucial to my
understanding of the Laguna as a region with a history and identity since at
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