Imagining Peace in the 21st Century


Joaquín M. Chávez, UIC History
Andreas Feldmann, UIC Latin American and Latino Studies

This working group seeks to engage in a reflection on the social and historical relevance of peace processes. Our goal is to develop a broad debate that captures discussions both at the academic and political level. What are the ideas informing peace processes? What are some of the most relevant scholarly approaches in the study of peace processes, conflict resolution, and related themes? What can we learn from the comparative study of recent peace processes and mediations conducted by the United Nations and other international actors such as European Union, Norway and Switzerland, among others, in a variety of regional settings? These are some of the larger questions that this panel seeks to address. Faculty and students from any discipline are most welcome to join this conversation.

The State of Democracy in Central America

March 8, 2019 from 2 – 3:30 PM

Professor Jorge Vargas, the Estado de la Nación, Costa Rica.

Professor Suyapa Portillo, Pitzer College, California

Oscar Chacón, Executive Director Alianza Américas*

After an era of remarkable expansion and consolidation, democracy in Latin America is witnessing worrisome signs of erosion. Central American nations have been particularly hard hit by this reversal as the challenges posed by a toxic combination of violence, economic insecurity and institutional decay gave rise to authoritarianism in several countries including Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Relatedly, authoritarianism and deteriorating living conditions are causing growing migration pressures as Central Americans are moving north in search of conditions of security and dignity for themselves and their families. Their movement, however, is eliciting transnational frictions as receiving countries, in particular the United States, is closing its border to this population. In order to discuss the problematic reversal of democracy and the ramifications that this situation is creating at the regional level, the Imagining Peace Working Groups will hold a roundtable with scholars and activists to discuss the sources of this situation and potential solutions in the foreseeable future.

*Alianza Americas a network of Non-governmental organizations promoting a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for Latino immigrant communities living in the United States and across the Americas.

Brazil: Democracy at a Crossroads

Thursday, November 15 from 2:30 – 4 PM

The ousting of the democratically-elected President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the subsequent incarceration of the former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio “Lula” Da Silva, both key leaders of the Workers’ Party, the corruption scandals attributed to prominent political figures, and the rise of Jair Bolsonaro, an ultra-conservative leader known for his inflammatory rhetoric, as the frontrunner in the presidential election could potentially constitute a serious challenge to democratic governance in that country.

The first meeting of the Imagining Peace in the Twentieth First Century working group of this year will be focusing on the outcome of the runoff election in Brazil scheduled for October 28 and its national, regional, and global implications.  We cordially invite faculty and students to participate in this discussion.

Conveners: Professor Andreas Feldmann (Political Science and LALS) and Professor Joaquín M. Chávez (History)

Please confirm your attendance at

Those planning to attend the workshop might want to read the following material:

Bolsonaro presidente: o Brasil que eleito vai herdar em 10 gráficos

Trump joy over Bolsonaro suggests new rightwing axis in Americas and beyond

Bolsonaro presidente: la sorprendente trayectoria del controversial presidente electo de Brasil

Police raid Brazilian universities, pull down anti-fascist banners

¿Qué se puede esperar de Bolsonaro?

Las tres herencias que explican el fenómeno Bolsonaro