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
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."
Professor Velasco wrote "The Chavista who Lives Inside Every Opositor" (Caracas Chronicles, 21 November 2016) and "Why is the Venezuelan Economy so Prone to Collapse?" (TRT World News, 25 October 2016).
INTERVIEWS AND MEDIA
Professor Velasco was interviewed on NPR's Planet Money for "How Venezuela Imploded" (21 October 2016) and was interviewed by The Nation: "Christmas in Caracas? Worse than the Grinch" (16 December 2016).
Velasco presented the paper "Bolívar in the Cold War: Back-channel diplomacy in Venezuela's democratic transition, 1957-1959" at the Latin American Studies Association - Section on Venezuelan Studies conference in Caracas, Venezuela, in November 2016.
Velasco delivered talk "Oil, Socialism, and Revolution in Venezuela: A Reckoning" at Simon Fraser University (December 2016), the University of California, Berkeley (February 2017), and at the University of San Francisco (February 2017).