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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Michael Wolff

Associate Professor

Ph. D., Political Science, University of New Mexico

M.A., Political Science, University of New Mexico

B.A., University Studies, University of New Mexico

(360) 650-2410

AH 410

Fall 2020 TBA

Current Courses

PLSC 291,  Introduction to Comparative Politics (Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020)

PLSC 397C,  Populism and Democracy in the Americas (Fall 2019)

PLSC 397X, Politics of Latin America (Spring 2020)

PLSC 397Y, Gangs, Organized Crime, and the State of the Americas (Winter 2020)

PLSC 433, Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics (Winter 2020)

Michael Wolff earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of New Mexico and joined the faculty at WWU in 2016. His research focuses on organized criminal violence and policing in Latin America, and seeks to understand how state policy and behavior shape the development of different types of criminal groups, as well as how organized crime and violence influence politics. Dr. Wolff currently has ongoing research projects in Mexico and Brazil.

Dr. Wolff teaches a range of courses in the subfields of Comparative Politics and International Relations. Special course topics include Civil Wars and Political Violence, Gangs and Organized Crime, Development and Inequality, Politics of Brazil and Mexico, and Comparative Border Studies.

Selected Publications

"Insurgent Vigilantism and Drug War in Mexico." Journal of Politics in Latin America 12(1) pp. 32-52 (2020). 

“Community Policing the Brazilian Favela.” Network of Research in International Affairs, published online June 14, 2018.

“Violence and Criminal Order: The Case of Ciudad Juarez.” Urban Geography, published online April 4, 2018,

“Competing for Legitimacy: Drug Traffickers and the State in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro and Recife.” Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 57, No. 2, Summer 2015

“Pacification and Pacts for Life: The Logics of Criminal Violence and Public Security in Brazil,” Policing and Society, Fall 2015. 

External Website

Areas of Specialty

Research Interests

  • Brazil
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
  • Latin American Politics
  • Organized Crime
  • Policing

PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (134.64 KB)