Global Affairs
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jo-Marie Burt

Jo-Marie Burt

Jo-Marie Burt

Associate Professor

Comparative politics, Latin America

Jo-Marie Burt teaches political science at George Mason University, where she is also director of Latin American Studies and Co-director of the Center for Global Studies. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), where she conducts research and writes commentaries on human rights and transitional justice issues in the region. 
Dr. Burt's research focuses on state violence, human rights, and transitional justice; social movements and revolutions; and state-society relations in Latin America. She brings to her teaching years of experience working with human rights organizations in Latin America and the U.S., including Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator, Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ)-Uruguay, and WOLA. As a researcher for the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Dr. Burt prepared a report on the evolution and impact of political violence in the urban community of Villa El Salvador that was incorporated into the Commission’s Final Report. She previously worked as editor at NACLA Report on the Americas. In 2010, Dr. Burt was the “Alberto Flores Galindo” Visiting Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. 
Dr. Burt has published widely on Latin American politics and society in academic journals, edited volumes, and in journalistic magazines and newspapers. She is author of Silencing Civil Society: Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), which was published in Spanish in early 2009 (with a second edition in 2011) as Violencia y Autoritarismo en el Perú: Bajo la sombra de Sendero y la dictadura de Fujimori by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) and the Asociación Servicios Rurales (SER). She is co-editor of Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004). Her current book project is tentatively titled, A President on Trial: Peru's Efforts to Achieve Justice After Atrocity. She has recently published several articles on transitional justice, including Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations; Challenging Impunity in Domestic Courts: Human Rights Prosecutions in Latin AmericaMapping Perpetrator Prosecutions in Latin America (with Cath Collins and Lorena Balardini); Civil Society and the Resurgent Struggle against Impunity in Uruguay, 1985-2012 (with Gabriela Fried-Amilivia and Francesca Lessa).
Professor Burt has commented frequently on Latin American politics for various news media, including BBC World, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio as well as Peruvian print and electronic media. She has received grants and fellowships from the Open Society Foundation, Fulbright, U.S. Institute of Peace, the Aspen Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the Latin American Studies Association Otros Saberes Initiative, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, and was a fellow of the International Human Rights Internship Program of the Institute for International Education and the Ford Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Current Research

Currently, Dr. Burt directs an ongoing  research project on the broader process of criminal prosecutions of individuals accused of grave violations of human rights in Peru and the problem of access to justice for poor citizens affected by Peru’s internal armed conflict. This project, which is being carried out in collaboration with Peru’s leading human rights organization, the National Human Rights Coordinator, is funded with the support of an Otros Saberes Initiative grant from the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).
The project website, Human Rights Trials in Peru, publishes original reports on trials in Peru, provides statistical information about trial activity in Peru, and catalogues press reports on human rights prosecutions and related issues. In her blog, A contracorriente, Dr. Burt writes on human rights issues in Spanish for the Peruvian online website La Mula. She is also collaborating with Open Society Justice Initiative on a project focusing on right to truth and human rights investigations in Latin America.
Dr. Burt is co-founder and chair of the Human Rights and Global Justice Working Group at Mason’s Center for Global Studies. The HRGJ Working Group organizes events on campus, promotes collaborative research across disciplinary units, and fosters faculty-student exchanges. The Working Group has organized a film series on Global Justice; a brown bag series featuring faculty research on global justice issues as well as external guest speakers; an international symposium, “Accountability After Mass Atrocity: Latin American and African Examples in Comparative Perspective”; among other events.

Recent Presentations

Professor Burt directed a multi-year project to monitor the criminal trial of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, who in 2009 was convicted of crimes against humanity. As part of this project, which was funded by the Latin America Program of Open Society Foundations, she organized a conference series analyzing the Fujimori trial and other human rights trials in Latin America; directed several international observation missions during the Fujimori trial; and produced numerous reports on the trial as well as a working paper series on human rights trials in Latin America. She spoke widely to the press about the Fujimori trial and related transitional justice processes in Latin America. To view Dr. Burt’s reports on the Fujimori trial, as well as other project materials, click here.