Imagining Peace in the 21st Century Archive (2017-2018)

Please see below for archived 2017-2018 events.



March 1, 2018
3 – 5:00 PM

Student Center East
Room 302

Crisis in Venezuela:  Historical Perspectives and Potential Solutions

An event organized by NU’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center & UIC’s Institute for the Humanities

TO LISTEN TO WBEZ 91.5 Chicago: Worldview interview March 1, 2018 PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK [RADIO INTERVIEW]

The death of President Hugo Chávez in 2013 and the fall of international oil prices produced a major political and socioeconomic crisis in Venezuela. The ensuing conflict between the government of President Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s successor, independent Chavista sectors, opposition movements, and U.S.-backed conservative elites over issues concerning democratic rule and national sovereignty is still unfolding. The deepening of the Venezuelan conflict has potentially dire implications for the entire hemisphere.  This event on current affairs in Venezuela—sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for the Humanities, and Northwestern University’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center—brings together a panel of prominent scholars of the South American nation to discuss the historical causes of the crisis, the current situation, and the potential outcomes. The one-day conference will address the crucial question: Is a political solution to the Venezuelan crisis possible?

The event is open to the public and the media, and will run as a conversatorio: panelists present and the moderator takes the lead in establishing a dialogue with them and the public.

Guest speakers:

Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor of History, Gallatin School, New York University. He works on urban history and popular participation and mobilization in Venezuela. He is the Executive Editor of NACLA: Report of the Americas, a reputed publication on Latin America that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. His book Barrio Rising. Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela (University of California Press, 2015) won the LASA’s Fernando Coronil Book Award. He will offer a historical analysis of Chavismo, the Bolivarian movement, and the crisis, which is what he has been doing for the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking press in the last years.

Verónica Zubillaga, Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Technologies, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas. She is a renowned sociologist and anthropologist who specializes on gender, urban violence, and drug trafficking in Venezuela. She has been a visitor professor at Brown University and at David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University.  In recent years, she has combined academia with public impact, making her an important presence in mass and social media in her country. Her books in Spanish have contribute to define the field of social violence in Latin America. Her contribution to the event is her lucid analysis on the inner dynamics of escalation of the conflict.

David Smilde, Professor, Department of Sociology, Tulane University. He is a sociologist and international relations scholar with decade-long work on social mobilization, human rights, and culture in Venezuela. He is a Senior Fellow at WOLA, Washington Office for Latin America, a leading research and advocacy organization on human rights. He is also the co-editor of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy (Duke University Press, 2011), and has been publishing on Venezuela for the major newspapers in the United States since the crisis began. His contribution to the event is an analysis of the crisis in a hemispheric perspective that considers the United States and neighboring countries, as well as their role in a political and regional solution.


Lina Britto, History Department, Northwestern University
Joaquín Chávez, History Department, University of Illinois at Chicago.


Northwestern University: History Department, Chabraja Center for Historical Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, Buffett Institute for Global Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago: Institute for the Humanities, Imagining Peace in the 21st Century Working Group, Departments of History, Latin American & Latino Studies, Urban Planning and Policy

University of Chicago, Center for Latin American Studies

TO LISTEN TO WBEZ 91.5 Chicago: Worldview interview March 1, 2018 PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK [RADIO INTERVIEW]

  • Date(s): Thursday, 3/1 3:00 PM to Thursday, 3/1 5:00 PM
  • Address: 750 S Halsted Street
  • Location: Chicago, IL, USA
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Phone: (312) 996-6352


Imagining Peace Working Group Event:”Talks and Walks: The Failure of Civil War Peace Negotiations”

Heather Elko McKibben
Associate Professor, University of California Davis

Kate Floros
Clinical Assistant Professor, UIC Political Science

Many studies of civil war peace negotiations focus on when negotiations succeed or break down; however, first, both the government and rebel group must agree to come to the bargaining table. We argue that different factors influence the government’s and rebel group’s decisions to negotiate; therefore, we need to analyze each actor’s strategic choices in order to understand when and why peace negotiations occur in civil wars. To do so, we constructed an original dataset coding all civil war peace negotiation attempts from 1944-2011. We identify when an attempt to initiate peace negotiations is made, when negotiations successfully commenced, and if they did not, which party refused to negotiate. Using these data, we analyze the conditions under which the government is likely to agree (refuse) to negotiate, and the conditions under which the rebel group is likely to agree (refuse) to negotiate.  Understanding when and why they get to the table provides insights into the selection of governments and rebel groups into negotiations – a process which likely influences whether those negotiations succeed.

March 21, 2018
Location: LALS Room 1550 UH
10:30 AM – 11:45 PM

  • Date(s): Wednesday, 3/21 10:45 AM to Wednesday, 3/21 11:45 AM
  • Campus Address: 1550 UH
  • Address: 601 S Morgan St
  • Location: Chicago, IL, United States
  • Contact: Linda Vavra
  • Email:
  • Phone: 312-996-6354