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School of Politics and International Relations

Professor James Dunkerley, BA (York), MPhil, DPhil (Oxford)


Professor of Politics

Telephone: 020 7882 8598
Room Number: Arts One, 2.13
Office Hours: Tuesday 11am-12pm (F2F & Online) and Thursday 11am-12pm (F2F)


James Dunkerley joined Queen Mary in 1986. He has been editor of the Journal of Latin American Studies and on the editorial boards of Government and Opposition and Norteamérica.  From 1998 to 2008 he was Director of the University of London’s Institute for the Study of the Americas.  James Dunkerley was a panellist in the Research Assessment Exercises of 1996 and 2008 and the Research Excellence Framework of 2014. In 2009 he served as Andrés Bello Professor of Latin American Culture and Civilization at New York University, and in 2010 he was appointed OBE for services to UK-Latin American relations. In 2001 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and 2002 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


POL380 Utopia and Dystopia: Political, Economic and Literary Dreamworlds

POLM060 – Latin America in the Modern World


Research Interests:

My main area of research in the past was Latin American political history, especially that of Central America and Bolivia. I am now working more broadly on political ideas the Atlantic world over the modern era.



Crusoe and his Consequences, OR Books, 2019, 263 pp.

Bolivia: Revolution and the Power of History in the Present, ISA, London 2007, 224 pp.

(co-edited with Maria D’Alva Kinzo), Brazil since 1985: Economics, Politics and Society, ILAS 2003, 346 pp.

(edited) Studies in the Formation of the Nation-State in Latin America, ILAS 2002, 298 pp.

Warriors and Scribes. Essays in the Political History of Latin America, Verso, 2000, 212 pp.

  1. The Americas in the World, around 1850 (or “seeing the elephant” as the theme for an imaginary western), Verso, London 2000, 642 pp.

(co-edited with Victor Bulmer-Thomas), The United States and Latin America. The New Agenda, ILAS, The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and Harvard UP, 1999, 359 pp.

The Pacification of Central America. Political Change in the Isthmus, 1987-93, Verso, London 1994  150pp.

Political Suicide in Latin America and Other Essays, Verso, London 1992  252pp

Power in the Isthmus. A Political History of Modern Central America, Verso, London 1988 (Second impression, 1990) 690pp.

Orígenes del Poder Militar en Bolivia. Historia del Ejército, 1879-1935, Quipus Editores/Plural, La Paz 1987/2003   275pp

(with Jenny Pearce), Grenada. Whose Freedom? Latin America Bureau, London 1984, 128 pp. (Dutch edition published in 1984 under the title Grenada Bevrijd of Bezet, Masusa, Nijmegen)

Rebellion in the Veins. Political Struggle in Bolivia, 1952-1982, Verso, London 1984   356 pp.
(Spanish editions published in 1988, 2003 and 2017 under the title Rebelión en las Venas. Lucha Política en Bolivia, Quipus Editores/Plural/Vicepresidencia del Estado, La Paz.)

The Long War. Dictatorship and Revolution in El Salvador, Junction Books, London 1982; 2nd ed. Verso 1985, 318 pp.
(German edition was published in 1986 under the title Der Lange Krieg. Diktatur und Revolution in El Salvador, ISP Verlag, Frankfurt)


‘”Wo ist Carlos Montúfar?” Scenes of sensibility in the scientific life of Alexander von Humboldt’, in Claire Lindsay (ed.), Traslados/Translations. Essays on Latin America in honour of Jason Wilson, ISA, 2012, 1-18

‘Pachakuti in Bolivia, 2008-10: a personal diary’, in Adrian J.Pearce (ed.), Evo Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo in Bolivia. The First Term in Context, 2006-2010, ISA 2011, 175-212
(‘Pachakuti en Bolivia (2008-2010); un diario personal’, in Bolivian Studies Journal/ Revista de Estudios Bolivianos, 2008-2010, Vol.15-17, 9-63).

‘Caamaño and his circumstances: a personal and political portrait in parts’, Forward to Fred Halliday (ed.), Caamaño in London. The Exile of a Latin American Revolutionary, ISA 2010, vii-xiii.

‘US-Latin American Relations’, in M.Cox and D.Stokes (eds.), US Foreign Policy, OUP 2008 (revised edition 2012).

‘Latin America since Independence’, in John King (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Latin American Culture, CUP 2003, 28-59 (published in Spanish in A.Soto and A. San Francisco (eds.), Estudios sobre América Latina en el Cambio del Siglo, Santiago 2004).

`The Origins of the Bolivian Revolution in the 20th Century: Some Reflections’, in M.Grindle and P.Domingo (eds.), Proclaiming Revolution. Bolivia in Comparative Perspective, ILAS and DRCLAS 2003, 135-163.

‘The Study of Latin American History and politics in the UK, 1965-95’: An Interpretative Sketch’, in V.Bulmer-Thomas (ed.), Latin American Studies in the United Kingdom, 1965-95, ILAS, London 1996, 13-61.

`The Military in Central America: The Challenge of Transition' (with Rachel Sieder), in Rachel Sieder (ed.), Central America: Fragile Transition, Macmillan, Basingstoke 1996, 55-102.

`The Crisis of Bolivian Radicalism', in Barry Carr and Steve Ellner (eds.), The Latin American Left. From the Fall of Allende to Perestroika, Westview Press, Boulder and Oxford 1993, 121-138.

`Guatemala', in Leslie Bethell and Ian Roxborough (eds.), Latin America between The Second World War and the Cold War, 1944-48, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1992, 300-326.

`El Salvador since 1930', in Leslie Bethell (ed.), Cambridge History of Latin America, Vol. VII,  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990, 211-250.

`Guatemala since 1930', in Leslie Bethell (ed.), Cambridge History of Latin America, Vol. VII, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990, 251-266.

‘Central America: Collapse of the Military System’, in Christopher Clapham and George Philip (eds.), The political dilemmas of Military Regimes, Croom Helm, London 1985, 171-200.

‘Class Structure and Socialist Strategy in El Salvador’, in Fitzroy Ambursley and Robin Cohen (eds.), Crisis in the Caribbean, Heinemann, London 1983, 125-147.

Articles and papers

‘Andrés Bello and the Challenge of Spanish American Liberalism’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, XXIV,  Nov. 2014, 105-125.

‘Bolivia en ese entonces: Bolivia, hoy revisitado 30 años después’, Revista Boliviana de Investigación, 10:1, August 2013, 191-212.

‘The Bolivian Revolution at 60: Politics and Historiography’, Journal of Latin American Studies, 45:2, August 2013, 325-350.

‘The Civilized Detective: Tomás Eloy Martínez and the Massacre of Trelew’, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 31:4, Oct. 2012, 445-459.

‘Latin Lessons’ (Review article), Government and Opposition, 45:4, Oct.2010.

‘Victor Kiernan’ (Obituary), History Workshop Journal, 69, 2010.

‘London and Latin America: 200 Years of Shared History’, 2007 Simón Bolívar Lecture, House of Commons, 22 March 2007, published by ISA and the Anglo-Venezuelan Society.

‘Evo Morales, “the Two Bolivias”, and the Third Bolivian Revolution’, commissioned commentary, Journal of Latin American Studies, 39:1, Feb. 2007.

‘Americas Plural: Old Wine in New Bottles?’ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 27:3, 2007.

‘Dreaming of Freedom in America: Four Minds and a Name’, Inaugural lecture, Institute for the Study of the Americas, Oct. 2004 (published in Spanish as Sueños de libertad en las Américas. Cuatro cerebros y un nombre, Plural, La Paz 2007).

‘Utopia Disarmed?’ New Left Review, No.206, July/August 1994.

`Balance Historiográfico sobre la Revolución de 1952', Data, No.3, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar, Chuquisaca, Bolivia 1993.

‘Reflections on the Nicaraguan Revolution’, New Left Review, No.182, July/August 1990.

`Mario Vargas Llosa: Parables and Deceits', New Left Review, No.162, March 1987.

`Central American Impasse', review article, Bulletin of Latin American Research, 5/1, 1986.

‘Bolivia at the Crossroads', Third World Quarterly, 8/1, Jan. 1986.

‘Writing on Revolutions', review article, Journal of Latin American Studies, 15/2, Nov. 1983.

`Reassessing Caudillismo in Bolivia, 1825-1879', Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol.I, No.1, Oct. 1981. (A revised Spanish version appeared in Historia Boliviana, No.1, Cochabamba, 1981; this article was reprinted in the BLAR 30th Special Anniversary Issue, 2011).


Current PhD students

Current student: Joe Sammut, ‘ Inevitable outcome of the Populist Left or Economic War? Causes and Character of the Venezuelan Crisis from 2012.’

I would be pleased to consider supervising projects on the politics of the Americas.

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