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Jo-Marie Burt

Associate Professor; Director, Latin American Studies
Jo-Marie Burt



Research Hall Room 342, MSN: 3F4
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Affiliation: Latin American Studies



Jo-Marie Burt is associate professor of political science and Latin American Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. At Mason, she has served as Director of Latin American Studies, Co-Director of the Center for Global Studies, and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, and she is an affiliate faculty in Globa Affairs, Latin American Studies, Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Women and Gender Studies. Dr. Burt is also a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading human rights research and advocacy organization.

Dr. Burt has published widely on political violence, state-society relations, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America. Her early research focused on state and insurgent violence in Peru, and civil society responses to violence and violent actors. This was the subject of her 2007 book, Silencing Civil Society: Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru (Palgrave), which received an Honorable Mention for the WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and which was published in Spanish as Violencia y Autoritarismo en el Perú: Bajo la sombra de Sendero y la dictadura de Fujimori (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2009; 2nd expanded edition, 2011). She is also co-editor of Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004).

In recent years, Dr. Burt’s research has focused on the ways postconflict societies confront demands for justice and accountability after atrocity. She has engaged in research and advocacy in relation to several high-profile human rights trials in the region, including the 2009 Fujimori trial in Peru and the 2013 Rios Montt genocide trial in Guatemala. She organized international observation missions to these trials, and advocated on behalf of the rights of victims to access justice in both instances. She is currently a research consultant for Open Society Justice Initiative, and writes on war crimes prosecutions in Guatemala for International Justice Monitor

Dr. Burt has received grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the United States Institute of Peace, the Aspen Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the Latin American Studies Association Otros Saberes Initiative, the Inter-American Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, among others.

Dr. Burt is an active member of professional associations including the International Studies Association, the Law and Society Association, and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). In 2016, she was elected to serve a two-year term on LASA’s Executive Council. She is a member of the international advisory boards of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) and the Luz Ibarburu Human Rights Observatorio in Uruguay. Dr. Burt was a member of the regional studies research team of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and her report on Villa El Salvador was incorporated into the Commission’s 2003 Final Report (Volume 5, Chapter 2.16). Between 1995 and 2000, Dr. Burt was editor of NACLA Report on the America, the largest English-language publication on Latin America. She has served as an expert witness in human rights cases in courts in the United States, Peru, and before the Inter-American Court for Human Rights.

In 2006, Dr. Burt was a Fulbright Scholar at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). In 2010, she returned to the PUCP as the “Alberto Flores Galindo Visiting Professor” at the Department of Social Sciences and taught a course on comparative transitional justice processes. In 2011, the Government of Peru recognized Dr. Burt with the Award in Merit, in the Grade of Grand Official, for Distinguished Service in Defense of Democracy, Rule of Law, and the Promotion of Human Rights in Peru.

Dr. Burt has commented frequently on Latin American politics for various national and  international news media, including BBC World, CNN, The New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, El País, Pacifica Radio as well as print and electronic media in several Latin American countries. She has published articles in The Nation, The Huffington Post, Truth-Out, Foreign Policy in Focus, Open Democracy, NACLA Report on the Americas, and in Latin American newspapers such as La República (Peru), El Comercio (Peru), Diario 16 (Peru), Plaza Pública (Guatemala), among others.

Dr. Burt received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 1999.

Areas of Research

  • Comparative Politics
  • Conflict Studies
  • Democratization
  • Gender
  • Latin America
  • Historical Memory
  • Human Rights
  • Qualitative Methods
  • State-society relations
  • Transitional Justice