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Gema Kloppe-Santamaría

Mexico Institute Global Fellow; George Washington University

Professional affiliation

Mexico Institute Global Fellow; Assistant Professor of Latin American History at George Washington University

Full Biography

Dr. Gema Kloppe-Santamaria is a historian and sociologist who specializes on questions of violence, crime, religion, and gender in twentieth and twentieth-first century Latin America, with a particular focus on Mexico and Central America.

She is a Marie Curie Junior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) at University of Freiburg. She is also an Assistant Professor of Latin American History at Loyola University Chicago.

Prior to joining Loyola, she was Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research.

Her book In the Vortex of Violence: Lynching, Extralegal Justice, and the State in Post-Revolutionary Mexico(University of California Press, 2020) examines the uncharted history of lynching during the formative decades of the post-revolutionary period (1930-1960). Based on an array of previously untapped historical sources, the book contributes to globalize the history of lynching beyond the United States, while offering key insights into the cultural, historical, and political reasons behind the continuing presence of lynching in Latin America today. 

She is the lead editor of the books Violence and Crime in Latin America: Representations and Politics (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) andHuman Security and Chronic Violence in Mexico: New Perspectives and Proposals from Below (Editorial Porrúa, 2019). 

Her work has been published in theJournal of Latin American Studies, Latin American Research Review, The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History, The Journal of Social History; and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latin American History.

In 2021, she was appointed a Global Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Mexico Institute. Over the last decade, she has authored several specialized reports for the Wilson Center, the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Peace Institute. She is also a collaborator and member of Noria Research’s Mexico & Central America Program.