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Teo Ballve University Portrait 2015

Teo Ballvé

Peace & Conflict Studies Program
Department of Geography
Peace & Conflict Studies, 224 Alumni Hall
p 315-228-7491


Ph.D. Geography, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
M.A. International Affairs, The New School, 2009
B.A. Anthropology, Colorado College, 2001

Research Interests

My research is about the political ecology of violent conflict and development in Latin America with a special interest in the role of natural resources and illicit political-economic networks.

My current book project, tentatively titled
In the Absence of the State, examines how outlaw combatant groups funded by the drug trade engage in unexpected forms of state-building in a violent frontier zone of northwest Colombia. I have also begun research on a new project in Colombia about the ways the environment is being used as both a weapon of war and a tool for peace.

Before returning to academia, I worked for several years as a journalist, covering Latin American affairs and U.S. policy toward the region.

Scholarly Publications

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

“The Social Production of a Narco Frontier.” Journal of Agrarian Change, forthcoming 2017.

Grassroots Masquerades: Development, Paramilitaries, and Land Laundering in ColombiaGeoforum, December 2013, 50: 62-75.

Everyday State Formation: Territory, Decentralization, and the Narco Land-Grab in ColombiaEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space, August 2012 30(4): 603-622.

Non-Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

A Call for Scholarly Propaganda: Or what can we Learn from Thomas Friedman? Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, April 29, 2014.

Gleaning the Current Conjuncture: Notes from the 3rd Antipode Institute for the Geographies of JusticeAntipode, September 2013 45(4): 1-6.

Territories of Life and Death on a Colombian FrontierAntipode, January 2013 45(1): 238-241.

Edited Volumes

Dispatches from Latin America: On the Frontlines Against Neoliberalism. Co-edited with Vijay Prashad. South End Press, 2006.

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

Frontiers: Remembering the Forgotten Lands. In Other Geographies. University of Georgia Press, forthcoming 2016.

Homies Unidos. In Youth Activism: An International Encyclopedia. Lonnie R. Sherrod, ed. Greenwood Press, 2006.


Hugo Blanco, Let’s Save Humanity from ExtinctionCapitalism, Nature, Socialism 24(3): 151-159. 2013

Courses Taught

Environmental Security
War in Lived Experience
Criminal Underworlds: Drugs, Guns, Bodies
The Invention of 'Latin America'

Selected Fellowships & Grants

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Dissertation Fellowship, 2014.
Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), 2013.
Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Drugs, Security, and Democracy Fellowship (DSD), 2012.
University of California Regents’ Fellowship, 2009.

Selected Journalism

The Failure of U.S. Policy in Bolivia Miami Herald, October 17, 2014.
Colombia’s Chance for Peace The New York Times, May 24, 2014.
Medellín: Who’s Afraid of Hip-Hop? OpenDemocracy.net, March 4, 2013.
La telaraña de los ‘paras’ en Urabá VerdadAbierta, June 14, 2011.
The Dark Side of Plan Colombia The Nation, June 15, 2009.