Neil Harvey, Professor & Academic Department Head

Ph.D. in Government, 1990, University of Essex

Professor & Academic Department Head


 Areas of Specialization

  • Comparative Politics
  • Latin American Politics
  • Mexican Politics
  • US-Mexico Border Politics
  • Migration, Borders and Human Rights
  • Social Movements and Identity Politics
  • Indigenous Peoples and Political Change

Research Interests 

My main areas of interest are politics in Mexico and Latin America, particularly the role of social movements in the struggle for democracy and new forms of political representation. I have carried out field research in Chiapas, Mexico, focusing on independent peasant movements, land conflicts and agrarian reform. I have studied the causes of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas in 1994 as well as its subsequent development, including the formation and practices of autonomous governments run by Indigenous communities.

I am also currently a principal investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site Program on Immigration Policy and Border Communities. This program was supported in 2018-21 by NSF Award #1659515. With my co-PI, Dr. Jeremy Slack (Sociology & Anthropology, University of Texas-El Paso), I co-directed a three-year program (2018-21) to train undergraduates students in Community-Based Participatory Research methods and mentor student projects on the nature and impacts of immigration policies in the southern New Mexico-El Paso-Ciudad Juárez borderlands region. I look forward to continuing this project in 2022-25 thanks to the renewal of this program under NSF Award #2149449. See our website for more details and application process:


I have written extensively on rural politics and indigenous people’s movements, including a book, The Chiapas Rebellion: the struggle for land and democracy (Duke University Press, 1998). I have also co-authored a text book on Latin American politics, entitled Governing Latin America (with Joe Foweraker and Todd Landman; Polity Press, 2003).

My most recent publications include:

"Practicing autonomy: the Zapatistas and decolonial liberation," Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, 2016: 1-24.

"Indigenous Peoples and democracy: dilemmas of electoral participation," pp. 187-204 in Joe Foweraker and Dolores Trevizo (Eds.) Democracy and its Discontents in Latin America. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2016.

"Zapatismo y autonomía," pp. 411-46 in José del Val and Carolina Sánchez (Eds.) Estado del desarollo económico y social de los Pueblos Indígenas de Chiapas. Mexico: UNAM/Programa México - Nación Multicultural, 2019.

"La democracia imaginaria y las democracias profundas: MORENA, el Zapatismo, y los Pueblos Indígenas," pp. 400-417 in John M. Ackerman, ed. El Cambio Democrático en México: Retos y Posibilidades de la 'cuarta transformación', Mexico: UNAM/Siglo XXI, 2019.

"Mexico's midterm elections: MORENA at a crossroads," 14 June 2021. LabourHub, UK.

"Searching for safety and researching for justice: documenting migrant experiences in the Paso del Norte border region," co-authored with Jeremy Slack, Nancy Mateo, Zaira Martin, Kathryn Garcia, Alondra Aca Garcia, Daniel Avitia, and Ava McElhone Yates. Pp. 125-36 in Brittany Murray, Matthew Brill-Carlat, and Maria Hoehn (Eds). Migration, Displacement and Higher Education: Now What? Palgrave McMillan, 2023. Available free with Open Access here.

(with co-author Dolores Trevizo), "Rethinking Mexican Nationalism: Mestizaje, Indigenous Peoples, and Zapatismo," forthcoming in Greg Mahler, (Ed). Frustrated Nationalisms. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2023.

"Mexico: lessons from coronavirus in Chiapas," 10 October 2022. Latin America Bureau, UK.

"Las elecciones intermedias en los Estados Unidos y las implicaciones para la política migratoria," 14 November 2022. Chiapas Paralelo, collaboration with ODEMCA Observatorio de las Democracias, Mexico.

"El fin del Título 42 y la crisis de la política de contención anti-migratoria," 19 December 2022. Chiapas Paralelo, collaboration with ODEMCA Observatorio de las Democracias, Mexico.

"Los costos humanos de las políticas de contención migratoria," 18 September 2023. Chiapas Paralelo, collaboration with ODEMCA Observatorio de las Democracias, Mexico.

 "Repensar la cuestión agraria en Chiapas: nuevos significados de la lucha por la tierra," paper presented at the Coloquio "Chiapas: reflexiones sobre su actualidad a casi treinta anos del levantamiento armado zapatista," Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Mexico City, 27-28 September 2023.

"Una rebelión anunciada," Revista de la Universidad de México, Dossier EZLN, December 2023.


Courses Taught

Introduction to Political Science, Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics, Resistance Movements in World Politics, Minority Rights and Self-Determination, US-Mexico Border Politics, Mexican Politics, Comparative World Political Ideologies, Contemporary Political Thought, Service Learning: Social Justice on the US-Mexican Border, Qualitative Research Methods, Seminar in Comparative Politics, and an Honors course, Citizen and the State: Great Political Issues. 

Chair of MA Government Thesis Students (recent topics)

  • Climate Change and Migration from Guatemala - Angeline Sunday, 2021
  • US Presidents and Relations with Israel, 1948-1975 - Fred Swenson, 2021
  • Use of Social Media in the Me Too Movement - Cristina Amberg, 2020
  • Language Policy and Multiculturalism in New Mexico – Meagan Lashway, 2018
  • Unexpected Impacts of a Guerrilla Movement in Mexico: the Liga 23 de Septiembre and human rights activism – Susan Johnson, 2017
  • Nuclear Energy Policy in Comparative Perspective – Christopher Apodaca, 2017
  • The Discourse of Religious Intellectuals in Iran – Firooz Jafari, 2017
  • The Christian Right and the Queer Community in the United States – Daniel Taylor, 2016
  • Use of Social Media in Broadening Participation in Social Media Activism – Bonny Wells, 2015
  • On Corruption and Its Effect on the Economy: a Comparative Analysis of China, Russia and Indonesia – Uziel Marte, 2015


Contact Information


Breland Hall, room 349


Dr. Harvey's CV