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David A. Smilde Professor Department of Sociology Tulane University

David A. Smilde

Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations
212 Newcomb Hall


Ph.D. University of Chicago


Current Research Projects

In the past several years my attention has been focused on the ever worsening crisis in Venezuela. I recently published a piece on international peacemaking efforts in the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies which was based on an evolving presentation I gave last year in New York, New Orleans, Washington, Notre Dame, Oslo, and Sao Paulo. As well I published a piece called “Trump and Venezuela: Reaffirming the Monroe Doctrine,” in an edited volume published by Routledge. I currently have an edited volume on violence in Venezuela under review with the University of Pittsburgh Press.

I continue to work on religion as well, co-authoring the chapter on religion for the International Panel for Social Progress report published in 2018. During 2020 I hope to finish two more projects on religion with Hugo Pérez Hernáiz. One looks at the role of Catholicism in Venezuela’s conflict, the other is an edited volume of translations of articles on religion, published while I was editor of Qualitative Sociology.

Much of my writing in recent years, has been focused on public advocacy around the Venezuela crisis. In the past six years, I have published seven op eds in the New York Times, two in the Washington Post, and three in The Hill. I have also written policy pieces on Venezuela for the Latin America Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, the Fundación Carolina of Spain, and the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center.

During the academic year 2020-21 I will be a residential fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at Notre Dame University and will be working on a book project called Venezuela’s Transition to Illiberalism. It uses a neo-Weberian framework for understanding Venezuela’s political conflict and covers a range of issues from electoral politics, to crime and violence, to international relations. The goal is to develop a perspective that recognizes the struggle against social, cultural, and economic inequalities at the same time that it criticizes the concentration of political power.

Selected Publications

2020 – Smilde, David and Geoff Ramsey. “International Peacemaking in Venezuela’s Intractable Conflict: 2014-2019,” European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Issue 109. Jan-June.

2020 – Smilde, David and Hugo Pérez Hernáiz. “Catholic Church Urges Venezuelans to Unite Against Coronavirus.” The Conversation, April 17.

2020 – Smilde, David and Abraham Lowenthal. “Despite Contradictions: State Department’s Venezuela Plan is a Step in the Right Direction.” Op ed in the Washington Post, April 14.

2020 – Smilde, David. “Trump and Venezuela: Reaffirming the Monroe Doctrine.” The Future of U.S. Empire in the Americas: The Trump Administration and Beyond. Timothy Gill (ed.). London: Routledge.

2019 – Lowenthal, Abraham and David Smilde. “Venezuela: Is There a Way Out of its Tragic Impasse?” Woodrow Wilson Center, Latin America Program (published in English, Spanish and Portuguese.)

2018 – Grace Davie, Nancy Ammerman, Samia Huq, Lucian N. Leustean, Tarek Masoud, Suzanne Moon, Jacob K. Olupona, Vineeta Sinha, David Smilde, Linda Woodhead, Fengang Yang, Gina Zurlo. “Religions and Social Progress: Critical Assessments and Creative Partnerships” Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel on Social Progress: Vol. 3 Transformations in Values, Norms, Cultures. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2017 – *Smilde, David. “From Partial to Full Conflict Theory: A Neoweberian Portrait of the Venezuelan Conflict.” Tulia Faletti and Emilio Parrado (eds.) Latin America Since the Left Turn. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2015 – *Smilde, David and Matthew May. “Causality, Normativity and Diversity in 40 years of Sociology of Religion in the United States: Contributions to Paradigmatic Reflection” Sociology of Religion, December. [Winner of 2016 Distinguished Article Award, Association for the Sociology of Religion]