Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Faculty and Staff Directory


Title/s:  Assistant Professor

Office #:  Crown Center 504

Phone: 773.508.2315



Gema Kloppe-Santamaría (PhD, New School for Social Research) is assistant professor of Latin American history at Loyola University, Chicago. Her research analyzes the history of Latin American processes of state building across the 20th and 21st centuries, with a particular attention to questions of violence, crime, justice, and the rule of law.

Dr. Santamaría is working on the book manuscript “In the Vortex of Violence: Lynching, Extralegal Justice, and the State in Post-Revolutionary Mexico,” which traces the social and historical motives behind the persistence of lynching—a public, illegal, and particularly cruel form of violence. Her project also examines Mexico’s process of state formation as well as communities’ conceptions of justice, morality, and social order.

Santamaría is main editor of the books Violence and Crime in Latin America: Representations and Politics (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) and Seguridad Humana violencia crónica en México: nuevas lecturas y propuestas desde abajo violencia crónica en México: nuevas lecturas y propuestas desde abajo (Porrúa -ITAM, 2019). She has also authored numerous articles and chapters, as well as reports for the United Nations Development Program, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center (NOREF).

Previously, Santamaría was assistant professor and director of the Undergraduate Program in International Relations at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), a 2017–18 Kellogg visiting fellow at the University of Notre Dame, as well as visiting fellow at the Center for US-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego. In addition to her PhD, she holds a master’s in gender and social policy from the London School of Economics.

Research Interests

20th and 21st Century Latin American history; violence, crime, the rule of law

Professional & Community Affiliations

Latin American Studies Association (LASA); American Historical Association (AHA)

Courses Taught

HIST 210: Survey of Latin American History

HIST 278: Violence, Drugs, and Crime in Latin America

Selected Publications

“Lynching and the Politics of State Formation in Post-Revolutionary Puebla (1930s-1950s),” Journal of Latin American Studies (2019), 1-26.

“Determinants of Support for Extralegal Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean,” with José Miguel Cruz,  Latin American Research Review  (2019), 54(1), pp. 50–68.

“‘The darkest and most shameful page in the university’s history’: Mobs, Riots, and Student Violence in 1960s-1970s Puebla,” in Jaime M. Pensado and Enrique C. Ochoa (eds.) México Beyond 1968 Revolutionaries, Radicals, and Repression During the Global Sixties and Subversive Seventies (University of Arizona Press, 2018)

Violence and Crime in Latin America: Representations and Politics, ed. with David Carey Jr. (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017).

"Lynching, Religion, and Politics in 20th Century Puebla", in Global Lynching and Collective Violence: Volume 2: The Americas and Europe, ed. by Michael J. Pfeifer (University of Illinois Press, 2017).

“Lynching, Criminality and Racialized Subjects in Mexico,” in Voices of Crime: Constructing and Contesting Social Control in Modern Latin AmericaLuz E. Huertas, Bonnie Lucero, and Gregory J. Swedberg, eds. (University of Arizona Press, 2016).

“La difusión y contensión del crimen organizado en la región México-Centroamérica,” in The Criminal Diaspora: The Spread of Transnational Organized Crime and How to Contain its Expansion, Eric Olson y Juan Carlos Garzón (eds), Woodrow Wilson Center, April 2013.

“Feminismo, cultura y persona cosmopolita” in Género, cultura y sociedad, Juan A. Cruz Parcero and Rodolfo Vázquez (eds.), Suprema Corte de Justicia, México, 2012.

“Political transition, Social Violence and Gangs: Cases in Central America and Mexico” with Rafael Fernandez de Castro and Jose Miguelin Cruz In the Wake of War: Democratization and Internal Armed Conflict in Latin America, Cynthia J. Arnson, ed., Washington, D.C. and Palo Alto, CA: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Stanford University Press, 2011.

“Authorizing Death: Memory Politics and States of Exception in Contemporary El Salvador” in Memory and the Future: Transnational Politics, Ethics and Society, Yifat Gutman, Amy Sodaro y Adam Brown (eds.), Palgrave-Macmillan, New York, 2010.

“Maras y pandillas: límites de su transnacionalidad,” Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior No. 81, Las Fronteras de México. July-October, 2007.