Luis Roniger


Reynolds Professor

Office: Kirby 303
Phone: 758-4401


Dr. Luis Roniger is Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies at Wake Forest University. A comparative political sociologist, Roniger’s work focuses on the interface between politics, society and public culture. He has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has been visiting professor at Carleton University, the University of Chicago and universities in Spain, Mexico and Argentina. He is on the international editorial board of academic journals published in Mexico, Spain, USA, the UK, Israel, Colombia and Argentina. Roniger has published numerous scholarly articles and books, among them Patrons, Clients and Friends (Cambridge University Press, 1984, with SN Eisenstadt); Democracy, Clientelism and Civil Society (with Ayşe Güneş-Ayata, 1992); The Legacy of Human Rights Violations in the Southern Cone (with Mario Sznajder, also in Portuguese and Spanish 2004 and 2005); Globality and Multiple Modernities (Sussex Academic Press, 2002, with Carlos Waisman); The Politics of Exile in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2009, with Mario Sznajder; and in Spanish with the Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2013); Transnational Politics in Central America (University Press of Florida, 2011); Exile and the Politics of Exclusion in the Americas (co-edited with James N. Green and Pablo Yankelevich, Sussex Academic Press, 2012 & 2014); Destierro y exilio en América Latina. Nuevos estudios y avances teóricos (Buenos Aires: EUDEBA, 2014); and Exile, Diaspora and Return. Changing Cultural Landscapes in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay (Oxford University Press, with Leonardo Senkman, Saul Sosnowski and Mario Sznajder,  2017).


Licenciado         1974, Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires
MA                     1979, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
PhD                    1985, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Academic  Appointments

Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies, Wake Forest University and a professor emeritus of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has also taught at the University of Chicago, Carleton University in Ottawa, National Universities of La Plata and Córdoba in Argentina, Tel Aviv University in Israel, Santiago de Compostela and Salamanca in Spain, and Universidad Diego Portales in Chile.




Pol 240 Human Rights in Latin America

The course looks at the policy dilemmas that both restored and new democracies face when dealing with past human-rights violations and how they engage in restructuring the domain of human-rights in a changed global environment. In Latin America restored democracies have publicly professed to reject and condemn the uses of state power in various forms against citizens under military rule, thus dissociating themselves from their predecessors. Yet the experiences of repression have become a grim legacy, raising major issues and dilemmas to the forefront of the public agenda.  A multi-disciplinary approach will be followed to understand how these democracies have faced a legacy of human-rights violations and restructured the realm of human rights. An in-depth analysis of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay will be complemented with other cases from the region (primarily Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil), and beyond (e.g. Russia and Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Islamic societies, as time allows) to provide further comparative perspectives on the reconstruction of the realm of human-rights in restored and new democracies.

Pol 300 Senior seminar: The Politics of Exile

This seminar addresses exile as a major mechanism of institutional exclusion that had been used by governments in the region against their own citizens, while often they have provided asylum to aliens fleeing persecution. In Latin America, exile has been a regulatory mechanism for political systems unable to create pluralistic and inclusive models of participation. Exile developed as an elite phenomenon in the 19th century when political participation was restricted, and it became a massive trend in the 20th century as mobilizations and more inclusive participation led to authoritarian rule. Yet, also democracies have used ostracism and translocation as a major mechanism of institutional exclusion, and we should attempt to account for that trend too. In spite of its ubiquity and importance, reflected in numerous testimonies and case studies, until recently the systematic study of exile was neglected or projected to the realm of literary and cultural studies. Its systematic analysis is still before us. In the senior seminar, multi-disciplinary and comparative perspectives are followed to understand this important yet until recently neglected theme.  The seminar integrates theoretical hindsight and empirical findings, analyzing contemporary and recent trends of exile, while reaching back to its origins and phases of development.

Pol 300 Senior seminar: Shifting Frontiers of Citizenship in Latin America

In the last three decades Latin America has become a laboratory for comparative research. The region has witnessed a renewal of electoral democracy yet with diverse forms of citizen representation. In parallel, neo-liberal policies have led to reactions and the rise of populist leaderships and new forms of participation. The Senior Seminar will explore these trends, reflected in new social movements, forms of populism, inclusion and exclusion, alternative models of democracy, social insecurity and violence, Diasporas and transnationalism, the politics of justice, and shifts in the politics of identity and multiculturalism.

POL 300 Senior Seminar: Populism in Global and Comparative Perspective

Populism is a form of mass politics that claims to represent the common people.  As a modern political phenomenon, it has become a global phenomenon that emerges time and again in many countries. Its study brings to the fore inconsistencies in the workings of modern democracies. It is a fascinating phenomenon that has generated academic controversy, as it often projects a “politics of anti-politics,” putting pressure on some of the basic institutions of representative democracy or leading to their manipulation. This reflects and buttresses a more general trend, in which political parties remain secondary to mass movements; there is reliance on multi-class support and concomitantly the tendency to detachment from coherent, clear-cut ideologies (this does not mean a lack of ideological rhetoric, as recent cases clearly indicate); and last but not least, often populism addresses the expectations of social forces marginalized or hit hard by the economic policies and downturns, and projects promises of existential solutions, even when in practice most of these movements do not imply a revolutionary transformation of social structures.  We shall look at this phenomenon and its evolving characteristics worldwide, through a set of early classic works, their later problematization and more recent contributions.

LAS 210 Introduction to Latin American Studies

The Introduction to LAS provides an overview of Latin American societies, polities and cultures from pre-Colombian times to contemporary times. It aims to be a multidisciplinary trigger of interest and learning on some of the complexities of our neighbors to the South. Special emphasis is placed on the analysis of social hierarchies and collective identities; the politics of development, gender, religion and socioeconomic issues. These axes are approached time and again, as we move progressively across history and shift focus back and forth from continental to country-by-country perspectives.

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