Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

Alejandro Velasco

Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs & Associate Professor
(212) 998-7323
1 Wash Pl, Room 804

B.A., History, Boston College, 2000
M.A., History, Duke University, 2002
Ph.D., History, Duke University, 2009

Alejandro Velasco holds joint appointments in the Gallatin School and the Department of History, and was Executive Editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas from 2015 to 2021. Before NYU, he taught at Hampshire College, where he was Five College Fellow, and at Duke University. His research in the areas of social movements, urban politics, and democratization has won support from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford and Mellon Foundations, and the American Historical Association, among others, and has appeared in journals including the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Latin American Research Review, Labor, and others. Velasco's first book Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015), won the 2016 Fernando Coronil Prize for best book on Venezuela, awarded biennially by the Section on Venezuelan Studies of the Latin American Studies Association. His teaching includes interdisciplinary courses on contemporary Latin America, among them seminars on human rights, cultural studies, and urban social movements; historical methods courses on 20th-century revolutions; graduate courses on urban political history and oral history; and workshops with primary and secondary school educators. A frequent media contributor, his editorials and analysis have appeared in NACLA, Nueva Sociedad, The Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Current History, History News Network, BBC History Magazine, and others. Velasco also frequently contributes radio and television commentary in outlets including NPR, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, CBS, France 24, the BBC, and the CBC.



Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela

Alejandro Velasco's Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela was published by University of California Press.

Teaching and Research Interests

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

Recent News

"Gallatin’s Alejandro Velasco, An Authority on the Ongoing Crisis in Venezuela"


Since Sept 2015, Professor Alejandro Velasco has been the Executive Editor for NACLA Report on the Americas.

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: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015) and its "outstanding, rigorous, and innovative contribution to Venezuelan studies."


Professor Velasco wrote "The Pyrrhic Victories of Venezuela’s President" for the February 2018 issue of Current History.

He wrote "Coyuntura: Chavismo en Crisis, Chavismo en Disputa” for Nueva Sociedad, No. 271 (Sept-Oct 2017).

For the August/September 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine, he wrote “Is there any stopping Venezuela’s descent into turmoil?”

His piece "Why Don't Popular Sectors Revolt?" appeared in the July 3, 2017 NACLA Report on the Americas.

Professor Velasco reviewed Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo’s I Speak of the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2012) for the Autumn 2017 Canadian Journal of History.

His review of Aragorn Storm Miller’s Precarious Paths to Freedom: The United States, Venezuela, and the Latin American Cold War (University of New Mexico Press, 2016) appears in H-Diplo Roundtable XVIII.


Professor Velasco delivered paper, "La parcelización del espacio público en tiempos de polarización: El caso Venezuela," at the Colloque international: Espaces publics et la politique des gauches en Amérique latine, at the University of Montreal, in Montreal, Quebec, in November 2017.

He delivered “Bolívar in the Cold War: Back-Channel Diplomacy in Venezuela’s Democratic Transition, 1957-1959” at the Latin American Studies Association Conference, in Lima, Peru in April 2017.

He delivered his talk "Urban Protest and Informal Democracy in Venezuela" at the University College, London's Institute of the Americas, in March 2017.

In 2017, he was invited to speak about Venezuela at Skidmore College, Rowan University, and at the University of Miami.


Professor Velasco was interviewed on WNYC’s The Takeaway for “Untangling What’s Really Happening in Venezuela.”

He appeared on Oakland’s public radio station KALW for “What’s Behind the Crisis in Venezuela?”

He was featured on the Jacobin Magazine Podcast.

Velasco was profiled on the role of urban popular sectors in this latest round of protests in Venezuela by BBC Mundo.

He was quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Insight Crime, and BBC Newsday.

Alejandro Velasco