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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Graham Denyer Willis is Senior Lecturer in Development and Latin American Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies. A political ethnographer, his research and teaching is concerned with practices and assumptions of power, as they work through cities, institutions and informality. He approaches these questions 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 and other detectives in São Paulo encounter and negotiate the violent practices of police, organised crime and death squads in this city. Related work is published in Public Culture, Comparative Studies in Society and History, World Development, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Latin American Studies 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. 


Read Chapter 1 of The Killing Consensus: Police, Organised Crime and the Regulation of Life and Death in Urban Brazil  from University of California Press 

Read Legitimacy in Criminal Governance: Managing a Drug Empire from Behind Bars in the American Political Science Review

Read The Gun Library in Boston Review

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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.

Associate Professor
University Teaching Officer
Queens' College
Office hours: Appointment by email
Dr Graham  Denyer Willis

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