About me


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Barnard College – Columbia University. Prior to my current position I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University’s Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence.

My research agenda focuses on the political factors that shape the dynamics and consequences of urban violence and local democracy and development. My first book, Cities, Business and the Politics of Urban Violence in Latin Americaanalyzes and explains the ways in which major developing world cities respond to the challenge of urban violence. I argue that political projects in response to urban violence are conditioned by and reflect the distribution of political power within cities. I specifically find that such political projects are shaped by the interaction between urban political economies — referring to relations between the state and business — and patterns of armed territorial control within cities. To test my argument I construct comparative analyses of the institutional outcomes of the politics of urban violence in three major cities in Colombia.

I am currently conducting research for my next book project on the political and social origins, dynamics, and consequences of extra-legal forms of justice, including vigilantism. This project will draw on field research and data collection in several major cities across the developing world, including in Latin America, South Africa, and the United States.

I received my B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Human Rights (1999) from what was then known as Friends World College and is today called Global College of Long Island University.   I also hold an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Miami (2003) and then a Ph.D in political science  from Brown University (2011).

Please feel free to reach out with questions and comments about my research. You can reach me at emoncada@barnard.edu