Jo-Marie Burt is a researcher, writer, educator and human rights activist. Trained as a political scientist, she employs ethnographic methods to study political violence, human rights, and transitional justice in Latin America. Dr. Burt teaches at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading human rights research and advocacy organization. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
Dr. Burt’s early research focused on state and insurgent violence in Peru, and civil society responses to violence and violent actors. This was the subject of her 2007 book, Silencing Civil Society: Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru (Palgrave), which received an Honorable Mention for the WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and was published in Spanish by the Institute for Peruvian Studies in 2009. She is also co-editor of Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004).
Dr. Burt’s current research focuses on the ways post-conflict societies confront demands for justice and accountability after atrocity. She has engaged in research and advocacy in relation to several high-profile human rights trials in the region. She was an international monitor of the human rights trial of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori and the Ixil genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. Currently, she reports on war crimes trials in Guatemala for the International Justice Monitor.
Dr. Burt has collaborated with human rights organizations across the region on various projects. She is a member of the international advisory boards of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) and the Luz Ibarburu Human Rights Observatory in Uruguay. Dr. Burt has served as an expert witness for human rights cases in U.S. immigration court, in domestic courts in Peru, and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In 2002-2003, Dr. Burt worked for the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) as a member of the regional studies research team. Her 100-page report on the causes and consequences of political violence in the popular district of Villa El Salvador was published in the CVR’s Final Report (Tomo V, Ch. 2.16). Dr. Burt was elected to serve on the Executive Council of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), where she is co-chairing the Committee on Academic Freedom and Human Rights (2016-18).
Dr. Burt has been the Alberto Flores Galindo Visiting Scholar at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in 2010. Between 1995 and 2000, she was editor of NACLA Report on the America, the largest English-language publication on Latin America. She has been awarded grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Latin American Studies Association Otros Saberes Initiative, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, the Aspen Institute, and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, among others. She has commented widely on Latin American politics for the US and international media.
Dr. Burt is on Twitter @jomaburt. Some of her recent publications can be viewed on Academia.edu.
“In my view, justice is important for the victims, that much is obvious, but it is also important for society itself.”
– Jo-Marie Burt