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Alejandro Velasco

Alejandro Velasco

Associate Professor
B.A. History & Communications, Boston College, 2000
M.A. History, Duke University, 2002
Ph.D. History, Duke University, 2009

Alejandro Velasco is a historian of modern Latin America whose research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization. His manuscript, ‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Modern Venezuela,  couples archival and ethnographic research to examine how residents of Venezuela’s largest public housing community pursued full citizenship during the heyday of Latin America’s once-model democracy. Before joining the Gallatin faculty, Professor Velasco taught at Hampshire College, where he was a Five College Fellow, and at Duke University. His teaching record includes interdisciplinary courses on contemporary Latin America, including seminars on human rights, cultural studies and urban social movements; historical methods courses on 20th-century revolutions; graduate history courses on urban political history and workshops with primary and secondary school educators. At Gallatin, his courses include “(Re)Imagining Latin America,” “¡Revolución!” and “Incivility in the Age of Civil Society.” Professor Velasco’s research has won major funding support from the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, the Ford Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation, among others, and he has presented widely at both national and international conferences and symposia. His most recent publications are “‘A Weapon as Powerful as the Vote’: Urban Protest and Electoral Politics in Venezuela, 1978-8193” ( Hispanic American Historical Review, November 2010) and “‘We Are Still Rebels’: The Challenge of Popular History in Bolivarian Venezuela” (Dan Hellinger and David Smilde, eds., Participation, Politics, and Culture in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy, Duke 2011). His book Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela  was published in 2015 by the University of California Press.


Professor Alejandro Velasco organized the one-day symposium “Venezuela in Crisis & Context” in February 2015 at Gallatin. Along with David Smilde and Jeffrey Rubin had “Activistas Hablan de Religión y Movimientos Sociales, Lima 2010,” he published in Latin American Research Review 49 and their December 2014 special issue: “Lived Citizenship and Lived Religion in Latin America’s Zones of Crisis." He published “Looking for the Left Turn,” in the NACLA Report on the Americas (Winter 2014/2015). “Where are the Barrios? Protest and History in Venezuela” was published in  in Fieldsights–Hotspots, Cultural Anthropology Online, on 5 February 2015.  “Venezuela Before and After the Protests: An Interview with Maria Pilar García-Guadilla” was included in NACLA Report on the Americas (Fall 2014). "Venezuela’s Economy: What Lies Ahead?” was included in Americas Society/Council of the Americas, 3 February 2015, New York.

Professor Velasco presented “Where are the Barrios? Past, Present, and Future of Popular Protest in Venezuela” at the Venezuela After Chavez Conference, held at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University on April 30, 2014. He also presented the paper at the Venezuela in Crisis Conference, held in April 2014 at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.

He was a panelist for an online discussion forum held by the Global Center for Advanced Studies, held February 20, 2014 entitled “Clashes in the Streets of Venezuela.” He was a discussant for the “Interpretations of the Popular” Panel for The Politics of the Popular in Latin America Conference, held in March 2014 at the NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, as well as for the “Managing Trade, Investment, Debt” panel, American (Inter)Dependencies Conference, held in April 2014 in the NYU Department of History. In March 2014, he organized a talk with the first female Consul General of Colombia, Elsa Cifuentes Aranzazu, at Gallatin.  

Professor Velasco published “Venezuela’s Polarizations and Maduro’s Next Steps,” for the NACLA Report on the Americas (March 11, 2014) and“It is Time for the Moderates to Take a Stand” in The New York Times’s Room for Debate section (February 27, 2014).


Contact Information

Alejandro Velasco

Associate Professor
1 Wash Pl, Room 506
(212) 992-9834
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Office Hours
Monday By Appt
Tuesday By Appt
Wednesday By Appt and 10-5
Thursday By Appt
Friday By Appt


2015 Summer

Mon,Wed 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

2015 Spring

Art and Politics in the City: New York and Buenos Aires
Thu 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

2015 Fall

Art and Politics in the City: New York and Buenos Aires
Thu 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Between Rights and Justice in Latin America
Tue 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

2014 Spring

Streetroots of Latin America II: Urban Social Movements
Wed 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Research and Teaching Interests

modern Latin American history, culture, and politics; democratization and social movement theory; urban studies; historical and ethnographic methods

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370