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Alejandro Velasco

Associate Professor
(212) 992-9834
1 Wash Pl, Room 506

Office Hours
Tuesday 10-12:30 Remote by Appt., 3-5 Remote by Appt.

B.A., History, 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 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.  



Alejandro Velasco's 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