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Patrick Barr-Melej

Bentley Annex 435

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  • Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Berkeley


  • Latin America

Patrick Barr-Melej is Professor of History and specializes in modern Latin America, with emphasis on twentieth-century political and cultural history. His graduate advisees in History and Latin American Studies have produced M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertations on such topics as Guatemalan revolutionary ideology; U.S-Chilean relations in the 1960s; Chile’s opposition journalism under the Pinochet dictatorship; cultural politics in post-Sandinista Nicaragua; gender and economy on the U.S.-Mexican border; and human-rights policy in Argentina after the Dirty War. His undergraduate courses include “Modern Latin America,” “Modern Mexico,” “Historical Research and Writing,” and “World History Since 1750.”

Barr-Melej’s publications include the books Psychedelic Chile: Youth, Counterculture, and Politics on the Road to Socialism and Dictatorship and Reforming Chile: Cultural Politics, Nationalism, and the Rise of the Middle Class, both published by the University of North Carolina Press. Psychedelic Chile was listed among “Historical Studies of 2017 to Highlight” by the large daily newspaper La Tercera (Santiago, Chile), and reviewers in leading academic journals have called the book “wonderfully lively and illuminating” (American Historical Review) and “a landmark” study (The Sixties). Barr-Melej’s articles have appeared in such journals as the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Journal of Latin American Studies, and The Americas, and he has given presentations on his research on four continents, including invited talks at the Sorbonne (University of Paris), the University of Oxford, and the National Library of Chile.

A native of South America, Barr-Melej has held visiting professorships in the graduate programs of Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University and University of Concepción, evaluates grant and fellowship applications for the Chilean government’s FONDECYT program, and is a former president of the Southwestern Social Science Association, the oldest interdisciplinary social-science organization in the United States. His teaching awards include the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College, and his commendations for research include the College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Faculty Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Award in the Humanities. Since 2014, Barr-Melej has coordinated academic-program reviews in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, after having served as chair of the History Department and interim chair of the African American Studies Department.

His hobbies include being disappointed by his beloved Arsenal FC, waxing nostalgic about his Berkeley years, and watching “Hogan’s Heroes” and the original “Match Game.”

Recent Activities

He gave an invited book talk (and did a book signing) for Psychedelic Chile, sponsored by the departments of History and Political Science and the Humanities Center, Eastern Illinois University (Charleston, Ill.), March 2018.

He gave an invited paper presentation, “‘A Lot of Searching for the Magical’: Youth, Revolution(s), and the Zeitgeist of 1968 in Chile,” for the conference/workshop “1968 in Europe and Latin America,” sponsored by the Nanovic Center for European Studies and the Kellogg Institute of International Studies, Notre Dame University (South Bend, Indiana), April 2018. This paper will be the basis of an essay for an edited volume arising from the conference/workshop, which brought together distinguished scholars from the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

He was an invited participant (including a book talk on Psychedelic Chile) in a weeklong series of events on the “Cultural History of Youth,” sponsored by the University of Chile in Santiago, July 2018.