Emeriti Professors

William C Smith

William C. Smith, Ph.D.


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 retired in 2016 after thirty years at the University of Miami. Since receiving my Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University my passion has been the study of the polities, societies and economies of Argentina and Brazil. In the mid-1970s I conducted research on the linkages between authoritarian military dictatorships and Argentina’s volatile and crisis-plagued political economy. While living in Buenos Aires I was a visiting researcher at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella and the Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), where I formed many deep personal and intellectual friendships. My research was supported by a Social Science Research Council grant. The main findings of my work during that period were published in Authoritarianism and the Crisis of the Argentine Political Economy (Stanford University Press, 1991). In subsequent decades I returned to Argentina many times, including several long research trips working with close colleagues at CEDES and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO).

In the 1980s my family and I lived for four years in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where I taught and carried out research at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. My research in Brazil was supported by the Fulbright Commission, the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the Ford Foundation. Over the next several decades I returned on numerous occasions to Brazil to teach and do research, including stints with Fulbright support as visiting professor and researcher at the Instituto de Relações Internacionais at the Universidade Pontifícia Católica and the Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro (IUPERJ).

At the University of Miami most of my teaching focused on graduate and upper division seminars in the fields of comparative politics and Latin American politics. For nearly a decade I served as director of graduate studies for the international studies program. I also participated in many initiatives designed to further the university’s research mission through participation in the North-South Center and the Center for Latin American Studies. While at the university, my primary research interests were the politics and political economies of Latin America, with a particular focus on the study of authoritarianism and democratization, transnational social movements, globalization, and market reforms. I also frequently led study abroad courses to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay.

My commitment to promoting high quality scholarship on Latin America has included serving on the editorial boards of numerous academic journals, including Lua Nova: Revista de Cultura e Política (Brazil), Colombia Internacional (Colombia), Contexto Internacional (Brazil), Teoria & Sociedade (Brazil), and the Luso-Brazilian Review (USA). In this regard, one of the accomplishments at the University of Miami that has given me the most satisfaction has been my nearly twenty years of service as the senior editor of Latin American Politics and Society.

In addition to Authoritarianism and the Crisis of the Argentine Political Economy, I have been the editor of numerous volumes, including

  • Latin American Political Economy in the Age of Neoliberal Reform (1994)
  • Democracy, Markets, and Structural Reform in Latin America (1994)
  • El Cono Sur y las transformaciones globales (1994)
  • Security, Democracy, and Development in U.S.-Latin American Relations (1995)
  • Venezuelan Democracy Under Pressure (1995)
  • Latin America in the World-Economy (1996)
  • Politics, Social Change, and Economic Restructuring in Latin America (1997)
  • Latin American Democratic Transformations: Institutions, Actors, and Processes (2009)
  • States, Markets, and Societies in Contemporary Latin America (2010)

My scholarly articles have been published in Studies in Comparative International Development, Revista Mexicana de Sociología, Dados - Revista de Ciências Sociais, Desarrollo Económico, América Latina Hoy, Alternatives Sud, Zeitschrift fur kritische Sozialwissenschaft,Nova Economia, El Cielo por Asalto, Nueva Sociedad, Fuerzas Armadas y Sociedad, Political Power and Social Theory, and the Latin American Research Review. My scholarship has also appeared in more than two dozen edited volumes.