akex-fattal.jpgAlex Fattal


PhD — Harvard University, Social Anthropology (2014)

MA — Harvard University, Social Anthropology (2008)

BA — Duke University, Comparative Area Studies (2001)


My research principally explores the representational politics surrounding Colombia’s war and the fitful efforts to forge a less violent future in that country. My work is deeply interdisciplinary, combining media studies, socio-cultural anthropology, and the documentary arts. In additional to traditional scholarship, I also make films and collaborate in photography projects with immigrant, refugee, and marginalized communities. I also seek to publish in Spanish wherever possible so that my work is accessible to the communities that I work in. I’ve listed a few of my key publications below. For a more extensive list, please see my Academia page. In San Diego I am on the Board of Directors of the AjA Project, an organization dedicated to photographic and multimedia education for youth affected by war and displacement. In both my research and teaching I look for opportunities to integrate my research, creative, and social justice interests. Here at UCSD I am a faculty affiliate of the Eleanor Roosevelt College.


Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, Nov. 2018)

Guerrilla Marketing: Contrainsurgencia y Capitalismo en Colombia (Editorial Universidad del Rosario, 2019, translation by María Clemencia Ramírez and Andy Klatt)

Shooting Cameras for Peace: Youth, Photography, and the Colombian Armed Conflict / Disparando Cámaras para la Paz: Juventud, fotografía y el conflicto armado colombiano (Harvard University Press, 2020, translation by María Clemencia Ramírez and Andy Klatt)


Limbo (2019, 25 mins)

Trees Tropiques (2009, 30 mins, Berkeley Media)

Selected Scholarly Articles

Target Intimacy: Notes on the Convergence of the Militarization and Marketization of Love in Colombia, Current Anthropology, 2019

Uploading the News after Coming Down from the Mountain: The FARC's Uncanny Experiment with Online Television, in Cuba, International Journal of Communication, 2017

Hostile Remixes on YouTube, A New Constraint on Pro-FARC Counterpublics, American Ethnologist, 2014

Reinventing Documentary, Public Books, 2013

Facebook: Corporate Hackers, A Billion Users, and the Geo-Politics of the "Social Graph", Anthropological Quarterly, 2012


Winter 2020: COMM 132: Media Spectacle and the War on Terror

The Global War on Terror initiated after the attacks of September 11, 2001 continues to be intensely mediated. This course analyzes the circulation of images as they roil across the globe in a series of episodic events and neo-colonial adventures. We look back to the Vietnam War and end of the Cold War to understand the political logic of spectacle as it is developing through a global dialogue of violence.

SPR 2020: COMM 190: Photography: Between Social Change and Social Media

Photography has long been considered a powerful vehicle for political mobilization. Since the rise of social networking, however, photography as a medium of activism has been transformed. While photographs continue to bear witness, their testimony often drowns in a sea of other images. This course contemplates documentary photography as a tool for affecting social change in the social media era.

SPR 2020: COMM136: Media Arts, Media Activism

This course considers the works of artists whose activist-oriented practice lies at the intersection of public space. Beyond studying these contemporary artists — such as Banksy, Doris Salcedo, JR, and Ai Weiwei — formally, students will conceptualize their own “artivist” intervention on a pressing global issue of their choosing.

Selected Awards and Fellowships

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Mahindra Humanities Center, 2015

LASA/Oxfam America Martin Diskin Dissertation Award from the Latin American Studies Association, 2015

National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship Program, 2006-10

Social Science Research Council, International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2011-12

Social Science Research Council/Open Society Foundations, Drugs, Security and Democracy in the Americas, 2012-2013

Fulbright IIE, Visiting Scholar Program (Colombia), 2001-2 & 2018

Ministerio de Cultura (Colombia), Proimagenes, Fondo de Desarollo Cinematografico, 2018

Wenner Gren Foundation, Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film, 2017

Wenner Gren, Foundation, Dissertation Research Grant, 2011-12

Harvard Horizons Scholar, 2013

Colombia University, Society of Fellows (alternate), 2015