University of Calgary

Pablo Policzer

  • Associate Professor


Pablo Policzer specializes in comparative politics, with a focus on Latin America. His research has focused on the evolution of violent conflict -- especially among armed actors such as militaries, police forces, and non-state armed groups -- in authoritarian and democratic regimes. In recent years he has also focused on the possibilities of collaborative governance in extractive industry areas, especially involving indigenous communities, and through a complex systems lens. He previously held the Canada Research Chair in Latin American Politics (2005-2015), and directed the Latin American Research Centre (2015-2020). He is a co-founder and co-convenor of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities' Rethinking Latin American Studies from the South (RLASS) working group, is affiliated with School of Public Policy's Extractive Resource Governance Program, and with the Centre for Military, Strategic and Security Studies. He obtained his PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his BA (Honours, First Class) in political science from the University of British Columbia.

Selected refereed publications

"From Chilean Refugee to Canadian Citizen," in George Melnyk and Christina Parker, eds. Finding Refuge in Canada: Narratives of Dislocation (University of Athabasca Press, 2021):

"No Going Back: The Impact of ILO C-169 on Latin America in Comparative Perspective," with José Aylwin, The School of Public Policy and the Latin American Research Centre, University of Calgary (April, 2020):

The Politics of Violence in Latin America, edited volume (University of Calgary Press, 2019).

Los modelos del horror: Represión e información en Chile bajo la Dictadura Militar (Santiago: LOM, 2015), Spanish translation of The Rise and Fall of Repression in Chile.

"Democratizing Constitutions: International Democracy Promotion after the 2009 Honduran Coup," with Antonio Franceschet, in Global Policy (2014).

"(In)Security in Latin America: Three Policy Options," with Elizabeth Pando-Burciaga, in Latin American Security: Canadian and International Perspectives, Calgary Papers in Military and Strategic Studies, Occasional Paper Number 9 (2013).

"Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay," with David Altman, in Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Ed. Rick Valelly (Oxford University Press, 2013).

"A Complex Adaptive State System: Networks, Arms Races and Moral Hazards," Revista de Ciencia Política 32:2 (2012), pp. 673-685

"Armed Groups and the Arms Trade Treaty," with Valerie Yankey-Wayne, in Benjamin Perrin, ed., Modern Warfare: Armed Groups, Private Militaries, Humanitarian Organizations, and the Law(UBC Press, 2012).

"Constitutions and the promotion of Democracy in Latin America," with Antonio Franceschet, Latin American Research Centre Working Paper, Fall 2011.

The Rise and Fall of Repression in Chile (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies Series, 2009).*

*Winner of the 2010 Canadian Political Science Association Prize
in Comparative Politics

*Choice Magazine “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2009

"Genocide in Chile? An assessment," with Maureen Hiebert, in Marcia Esparza, ed., State Violence and Genocide in Latin America: the Dirty War Years (London, UK: Routledge, Critical Series on Terrorism, 2009).

"Democracy and Non-State Armed Groups," in Michaelene D. Cox, ed., State of Corruption, State of Chaos: The Terror of Political Malfeasance (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2008).

"Al Qaeda, Armed Groups and the Paradox of Engagement," with Ram Manikkalingam, Transnational Armed Groups: Legal and Policy Challenges Portal, Harvard University and University of Geneva (, 2007.

"Human Rights Violations beyond the State," Journal of Human Rights 5:2, 2006.

"How Organisations Shape Human Rights Violations," in Sabine Carey and Steve Poe, eds. Understanding Human Rights Violations: New Systematic Studies (Hampshire, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2004), Ethics and Global Politics Series, Chapter 12, pp. 221-38.

"The Charter vs. Constitutional Military Involvement in Politics," Canadian Foreign Policy 10:3 (Spring 2003), special issue on the Inter-American Democratic Charter, pp. 75-86.

Other publications

Reaction to the Turmoil in Egypt, 3 Quarks Daily, February 7, 2011

"Coups in Latin America: Old and new threats," Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center, Florida International University, 2011

"The next stage of democracy promotion," Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) Policy Brief, July 2010

"Armed Groups and the Arms Trade Treaty," with Valerie Yankey-Wayne, Armed Groups Project Working Paper #12, 2009

"The politics of violence in Latin America’s Left turns," with Francisco Gutiérrez Sanín, Armed Groups Project Working Paper #11

"The Challenge of Violence in Latin America," The Calgary Herald, April 24, 2008

"Al-Qaida: from centre to periphery," with Ram Manikkalingam,, October 9, 2007;

Selected conference papers

"A Complex Adaptive State System: Networks, Arms Races, and Moral Hazards," presented at the conference on “‘Stateness’ in Latin America in the 21st Century: Conceptual Challenges,” Instituto de Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, March 29-30, 2012.

"Globalization and conflict: Preliminary lessons from Chile," presented at the conference on “Globalization and the Impact of Natural Resource Extraction Industries in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Latin American Research Centre, University of Calgary, April 26-27, 2011.

"After Honduras: Constitutions and the international promotion of democracy," with Antonio Franceschet, presented at the Canadian Political Science Association Conference, Montreal, QC, June 1-3, 2010.

Courses taught

ASHA 321 Representation: Order and Disorder
POLI 201 Introduction to Government and Politics
POLI 359 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POLI 415 Politics through Film
POLI 455 Protest, Rebellion, and Revolution
POLI 473 Latin American Politics
POLI 571 The Politics of Human Rights
POLI 590 Honours Seminar in Political Science
POLI 673 Graduate Seminar in Comparative Politics
POLI 791 Scope and Methods in Political Science

Student supervision


Dr. Adriana Rincón, Postdoctoral Fellow (Political Science)
Clarice Rocha, M.S.S. candidate (Strategic Studies)


Dr. Alberto Montoya Correa, Postdoctoral Fellow (Political Science), 2019-2021

Ricardo Vernet, "Peasants, Movements, and the Survival of Democracy in Haiti and Nicaragua," Ph.D. (Political Science), 2022.
Mariana Hipólito Ramos Mota
, "From Delegation to Limits on Presidential Power: Brazil in Comparative Perspective," Ph.D. (Political Science). Winner of Department of Political Science Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation, 2017
Alex D. McDougall, "The Politics of Protection and Extraction: An Examination of the Origin and Development of State Power in Latin America," Ph.D. (Political Science), 2011, co-supervised with Stephen Randall

Alem Cherinet, "Violence, Causality, and the Emergence of Mexico's General Law on Forced Disappearance," M.A. (Political Science). Winner of Departmet of Political Science Award for best M.A. Thesis, 2021.
Jeanne Liendo
, "The Political Economy of the Hydrocarbon Sector: Bolivia and Venezuela in Comparative Perspective," M.A. (Political Science), 2019
Maria Ford, "A Violent Symbiosis: Gangs, the State, and the Rise in Crime in São Paulo," M.A. (Political Science), 2014
Tobey Berriault
, "Unusual Suspects: Religion, Chieftaincy, and Post-Conflict Reintegration in Sierra Leone," M.A. (Political Science), 2013, co-supervised with Maureen Hiebert
Olivia Rocskar, "The Roots of Democratic Participation: The Historical Legacies of the Polish Partition," M.A. (Political Science), 2013
Tammy Lambert, "Deepening Divides: Emergent Consequences of Rwanda’s Reconciliation Initiatives," M.A. (Political Science), 2011
Juliana Ramírez, "Rethinking the Link Between Civil Society and Civil War: the Case of Colombia," M.A. (Political Science), 2008
Alejandro García Magos, "Presidential Power and Democracy in Mexico," M.A. (Political Science), 2008

Kimberly Pavelich, "Gender Biases and Armed Conflict: Assessing the Reintegration Experience of Women from the LRA," M.S.S. (Strategic Studies), 2013, co-supervised with Hrach Gregorian
Milos Dimic, "Viable Conflict Resolution: Lessons Learned from the Ituri District in the Democratic Republic of Congo," M.S.S. (Strategic Studies), 2011, co-supervised with Hrach Gregorian
Juliette González, "Militarizing the War on Drugs: The Influence of the Colombian Government in Shaping the Design of Plan Colombia," M.S.S. (Strategic Studies), 2011
Timothy S. Cake, "The Impact of Military Culture and Doctrine on Colombia’s Counterinsurgency," M.S.S. (Strategic Studies), 2009

Laura Silva Aya, "Peace vs. Land? Understanding the 2016 Colombian Plebiscite," B.A. (Honours, Political Science), Winner of Department of Political Science Award for Best Honours Thesis, 2017
Stefan Parker
, "Water and Gold: Conflict and Corporate Social Responsibility in Peru's Mining Sector," B.A. (Honours, Political Science), Winner of Department of Political Science Award for Best Honours Thesis, 2015
Holly Ann Penny
, "Australia and Canada Compared: Asylum Seekers Arriving by Boat," B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2013
Noureddin Zaamout, "Targeted Killing: Static Policy in a Dynamic World," B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2013
Andrea Sellinger, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2009
Ryan King, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2009
Aris Ablachim, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2008
Gustavo Baena, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2008
Jan Boesten, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2007
Esteban Kahs-Garay, B.A. (Honours, Law and Society), 2007
Andrea Bures, B.A. (Latin American Studies), 2005
Karen Huggins, B.A. (Latin American Studies), 2005
Kaylie LaChapelle, B.A. (Honours, Political Science), 2005



  • 2010 - Comparative Politics Prize - Canadian Political Science Association
  • 2009 - Standard Research Grant - Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada
  • 2009 - Outstanding Academic Title - Choice Magazine
  • 2008 - USIP Grant - United States Institute of Peace
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