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Centre of Latin American Studies

Graham Denyer Willis

Dr Graham Denyer Willis

Research Interests

Graham Denyer Willis is Senior Lecturer in Development and Latin American Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies. His research and teaching is concerned with the practices and assumptions of power, as they work through cities and informality. He approaches these questions ethnographically from historical and contemporary Brazil, to question how direct and indirect forms of violence and killing matter in the production and maintenance of political authority. His first book, The Killing Consensus: Police, Organised Crime and the Regulation of Life of Death in Urban Brazil (California, 2015), examines how homicide detectives in São Paulo encounter and negotiate the violent practices of police, organised crime and death squads in this city. Related work has been published or is forthcoming in Comparative Studies in Society and History, World Development, the American Political Science Review, and the Latin American Research Review, among othersHe has also written for the New York Times and the Boston Review. He is joint Editor of the Journal of Latin American Studies. He is completing his second book manuscript, Politics Gone Missing, which examines how ‘missing’ people -22,000 per year in São Paulo, on average- now operate in the mundane production of power, leaving, in part, material vestiges in the form of ‘uncertified’ or clandestine  cemeteries.

See also

Graham is interested in supervising PhD students whose work touches on development, freedom and unfreedom, race, governance, everyday political contestation, violence and informality, and especially those wishing to do ethnographic inquiry and/or who are interested in Latin America. Prospective students should familiarise themselves with Graham's general line of inquiry and research interests.