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 book, Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015), 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!,” “Incivility in the Age of Civil Society,” and "Art and Politics in the City," a multi-sited collaboration between NYU Buenos Aires and NYU Washington Square. 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.
Teaching and Research Interests
modern Latin American history, culture, and politics; democratization and social movement theory; urban studies; historical and ethnographic methods
B.A. History & Communications, Boston College, 2000 M.A. History, Duke University, 2002 Ph.D. History, Duke University, 2009
Professor Alejandro Velasco won the 2016 Fernando Coronil Book Award from the Section on Venezuelan Studies of the Latin American Studies Association for his book Barrio Rising and its "outstanding, rigorous, and innovative contribution to Venezuelan studies."
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.
In the fall of 2015, Professor Velasco will make the following appearances for the promotion of Barrio Rising: November 2: Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana); November 11: Regulator Bookshop (Durham, North Carolina); November 12: Georgetown University (Washington, DC); November 16: Florida International University (Miami, Florida); November 17: John Jay College (New York, New York); November 23: University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois); and December 1: NYU Humanities Center (New York, 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).