Corinna Zeltsman is a historian of Modern Latin America with a focus on printing and the book, political culture, and labor in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Mexico. Her training as a letterpress printer continues to shape her research and teaching, which also explores Latin America’s media and material cultures.
Zeltsman’s book, Ink Under the Fingernails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (UC Press, 2021) reconstructs the practical negotiations and discursive contests that surrounded print over a century of political transformation, from the late colonial era to the Mexican Revolution. Centering the diverse communities that worked behind the scenes at urban presses and examining their social practices and aspirations, the book explores how printer interactions with state and religious authorities shaped broader debates about press freedom and authorship. The book received the Howard F. Cline Prize in Mexican History from the Latin American Studies Association, the Best Book in the Social Sciences Award from the LASA-Mexico Section, and was shortlisted for the DeLong Book History Book Prize of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.
A new research project investigates how a cross-section of society made, used and debated paper in post-independence Mexico. The project contributes to histories of state formation, political culture, technology and the environment by tracing how Mexicans tackled the so-called “paper question”—an evolving debate over the benefits and costs of securing a national paper supply that spanned two centuries.
Zeltsman received her Ph.D. in History from Duke University in 2016. Before joining the Princeton faculty, she was an assistant professor of history at Georgia Southern University and a postdoctoral fellow at Emory’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Bibliographical Society of America. She is a member of the Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School.