Historical Archive of Secretaría de Educación Pública, Mexico City

Graduate level

Instructor, University of Chicago

Comparative State Formation (Winter 2022)

In this course, we analyze scholarly work around the following questions. Why are Western states generally more capable of guaranteeing domestic security and fostering development than the states of the Global South? Why were a few East Asian countries able to build comparably capable states? What is “state capacity” and under what circumstances are political leaders able to build it? What are the main dysfunctionalities of state organizations in developing countries? What trade-offs do leaders face with different state institutions?

We study, evaluate, and discuss the seminal arguments and ideas on the origins and long-term evolution of nation-states around the world.  The course is of interest to students focused on economic development and international security, as the “state” and its capabilities have major consequences for the economic trajectory of nations and for the ability to guarantee peace within their territories. The syllabus is organized around salient debates in the literature on state formation, without being exhaustive. For example, we will discuss the impact of war on state capacity, the relationship of domestic conflict to institutional trajectories, the integration of the Global South to world capitalism, the challenges of geography and natural resources, social resistance to state formation, and the national integration of ethnic groups, etc. The syllabus draws from major publications across the social sciences, especially political science, sociology, and development economics. The course is specially designed to practice academic skills for master-level students and advanced undergraduates. In class, the students discuss and collectively dissect arguments based on different theoretical perspectives. The students also individually analyze and critique existing research, evaluating the soundness and limits of arguments and assessing their empirical support. As a final project, each student summarizes, interprets, and puts in conversation existing research on a question of their own interest through the craft of a quality literature review.

Find the syllabus here.

Latin American Political Development (Spring 2022)

The course introduces students to theories on the evolution of political institutions in Latin American countries, especially but not exclusively in the comparative-historical tradition in political science. Why did Latin American countries build weaker states than Europe and the US? What countries in the region are more developed and why? Why is Latin America the most unequal region in the world? Why have the democracies of the region been historically so vulnerable and ephemeral? Where and why did ethnic conflict appear in the past decades?

We study, evaluate, and discuss the seminal arguments and ideas on the origins and long-term evolution of Latin American nations. The course is of interest to students focused on economic development and international security, as the “state” and its capabilities have major consequences for the economic trajectory of nations and for the ability to guarantee peace within their territories. The syllabus is organized around major topics on comparative politics, such as colonial legacies, trade-led state-building, federalism, party systems, revolutions, industrialization, democratization, and ethnicity and citizenship. Through these topics, the students learn about the political institutions of a variety of countries in the region from a historical perspective. The course is specially designed to practice academic skills for master-level students and advanced undergraduates. In class, the students will discuss and collectively dissect arguments based on different theoretical perspectives. The students also individually analyze and critique existing research, evaluating the soundness and limits of arguments and assessing their empirical support. As a final project, each student summarizes, interprets, and puts in conversation existing research on a question of their own interest through the craft of a quality literature review.

Find the syllabus here.

Advisor, Committee on International Relations, University of Chicago

Since 2017, I have served as an advisor (preceptor) of students in the MA in International Relations. I have co-advised (along with faculty members) 100+ M.A. theses and led a three-quarter MA Thesis Workshop.

College level

Instructor, University of Chicago

Social Sciences Inquiry III (spring 2019 & 2017)
The final course of the core sequence on applied research. The students craft a research report using quantitative methods.

Find the syllabus here.

Teaching Assistant, University of Chicago

Introduction to Comparative Politics (winter 2016)
with Dan Slater (Political Science)

Composición y Conversación Avanzada (winter 2016)
with María Gutiérrez Bascón (Romance Languages and Literatures)

Politics and Policy (autumn 2015 & spring 2014)
with Christopher Berry (Harris School of Public Policy)

Social Sciences Inquiry (2014-2015)
Three-quarter sequence on applied research methods in the social sciences.
with Cheol-Sung Lee (Sociology), Elizabeth Williamson (Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts), and Micere Keels (Comparative Human Development)