Julie Mazzei's research focuses primarily on irregular political violence, looking at the ways in which actors like paramilitary groups (or “death squads”) organize and procure the resources necessary to employ violence for political ends. Mazzei argues that these irregular forces are able to organize and commit often extraordinary acts of violence in part because they are able to access institutional resources and use them without recourse. Dr. Mazzei is currently researching the rise of violent organizations in Iraq after the US occupation, looking specifically at the ways in which the structural and policy environment facilitated the ascendence and evolution of those groups.
Dr. Mazzei is the author of Death Squads or Self-Defense Forces? Paramilitary Emergence in Contemporary Latin America, published in 2009 by University of North Carolina Press. Among her additional publications are articles on the post-conflict ramifications of paramilitary violence and reconciliation processes in El Salvador (Human Rights Quarterly, 2011), and the development agenda and its impact on rights in Cuba, looking specifically at the so-called "tourist apartheid" (Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 2012).
Dr. Mazzei teaches our graduate courses on human rights, political violence and development. At the undergraduate level, Dr. Mazzei teaches sections of our World Politics and Comparative Politics courses, as well as the upper-division Human Rights and Social Justice, Politics of Development, and Latin American Politics courses. She also periodically teaches the Senior Seminar, focusing on political violence.
SCHOLARLY, CREATIVE & PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Books and Book Chapters:
- Death Squads or Self-Defense Forces? Paramilitary Emergence in Contemporary Latin America. 2009. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Non-State Actors: Influence, Adaptation, and Political Change, Editor. 2017. Research in Social Movements, Conflict and Change series, Vol. 41. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Group.
“Paramilitary Emergence and Evolution in Chiapas, Mexico” in Political Violence and Irregular Armies: the Faces of Paramilitarism in the Americas. J. Hristov and J. Sprague, Eds. (Forthcoming)
- "Negotiating Domestic Socialism with Global Capitalism: So-Called Tourist Apartheid in Cuba," Communist and Post-Communist Studies. Forthcoming, 2012.
- “Finding Shame in Truth: The Importance of Public Engagement in Truth Commissions,” 2011. Human Rights Quarterly. 33(2):431-452.
- “You Got It, So When Do You Flaunt It?: Field Work Settings and the Strategic Deployment of Gender.” Co-authored with Dr. Erin O’Brien. 2009 (June). Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 38(3): 358-383.
- “Cuba’s Quest for Economic Independence.” Co-authored with Dr. William M. LeoGrande. 2002. Journal of Latin American Studies. 34:325-363.
- Recipient, Summer Publication Grant, American Fellowships Program, American Association of University Women, 2012
Associate Professor and Graduate coordinator