Jan. 11, 2022

In Memoriam: Christon I. Archer, Department of History

The Department of History announces the passing of emeritus historian and former head, Christon Archer.
Christon Archer

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Dr. Christon I. Archer, professor emeritus in the Department of History. Dr. Archer joined the University of Calgary as an assistant professor in 1969 and completed a 40-year career here. A specialist in Mexican, Spanish, and military history, his monograph, The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760-1810 (1977), won the prestigious Herbert E. Bolton Prize for the best book in English on Latin American History; it was subsequently translated into Spanish as El ejército en el México bobónico, 1760-1810 (1983). He went on to a versatile research career contributing to books on global military history, editing and contributing to foundational essay collections in Mexican history, and producing numerous essays and articles in English and Spanish on subjects as disparate as Captain Cook’s voyages, guerrilla warfare and banditry in the Spanish colonial world, and Mexico’s independence. He was particularly well known among scholars of late-colonial and independence-era Mexican history as a pioneering scholar of that country’s military institutions.

Dr. Archer was a leader in the generation of University of Calgary scholars who pioneered the university’s connections with Mexico and the rest of Latin America. He went on to make instrumental contributions to the founding of both the Latin American Studies (LAST) program and the Latin American Research Centre (LARC) in the 1990s and early 2000s. LAST and LARC, which he directed from 2004 to 2010, contributed to the training of generations of young scholars of the Spanish-speaking world and raised the University of Calgary’s profile considerably among Latin Americanists around the world.

His many honors and distinctions include a 1995 honorary doctorate from La Trobe University in Australia. He served as head of the Department of History from 1986 to 1991.

Dr. Archer was also an exceptional teacher, known for his dynamic classroom presence, and a generous colleague. Our condolences go out to his family and extended network of academic and personal friends.