The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

GC Events

February 21 – Venezuela at a Crossroads: Critical Perspectives

6-8 pm

Room 9206/9207

For more info: Venezuela at a Crossroads: Critical Perspectives


A discussion of the current political conflict with engaged scholars who have carried out extensive research in Venezuela.

How can we understand the unfolding Venezuelan national and regional crisis in its humanitarian, political, and geopolitical dimensions? What has led to this situation? What are the differing alternatives proposed for its resolution?

Moderator: Julie Skurski (CUNY Graduate Center)

Panelists: Alejandro Velasco (NYU), Naomi Schiller (Brooklyn College), Gabriel Hetland (SUNY)

Co-sponsoring: Colombian Studies Group

**This event is free and open to the public**



About the panelists and moderator

Alejandro Velasco is associate professor in the Department of History and the Gallatin School at NYU. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of social movements, urban culture and democratization in modern Latin America. 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. Since 2015, he has been the Executive Editor for NACLA Report on the Americas. His work appears in edited volumes and journals such as the Hispanic American Historical Review, Current History, and Nueva Sociedad.

Naomi Schiller is assistant professor of anthropology at Brooklyn College. Dr. Schiller’s research and teaching focus on urban social movements, the media, the state, ethnographic film, and politics in Latin America and the United States. Her book, Channeling the State: Community Media and Popular Politics in Venezuela (Duke University Press), explores how community media producers from poor neighborhoods of west Caracas used television to advance political change during the presidency of Hugo Chávez. Schiller is an ethnographic filmmaker and has worked collaboratively with media producers in Caracas to produce short films. Her new research explores community activism, social class, coastal adaptation, and environmental justice in New York City.

Gabriel Hetland is assistant professor of Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies and Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY. Using ethnography and comparative historical methods he studies how ordinary people are able to affect decisions affecting their lives through participatory institutions, electoral politics, social movements and direct action and labor and community organizing. His research challenges common sense and scholarly understandings of the relationship between top-down and bottom-up politics, and populist mobilization and participatory democracy. His writings on Venezuela have appeared in academic journals such as Qualitative Sociology, Journal of World Systems Research and Latin American Perspectives, edited volumes, and popular outlets such as The Guardian, The Nation, NACLA, and Jacobin.

Julie Skurski is Distinguished Lecturer in the Anthropology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has carried out research in Venezuela on rentier development, political violence, and representations of el pueblo and mestizaje. Her writings have appeared in academic journals, including Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Studies in Society and History, edited volumes, and she is an editor of the books States of ViolenceAnthrohistory, and the forthcoming Fernando Coronil Reader.