- Additional Positions at AU
- Faculty Affiliate, Center for Latin and Latino Studies
- PhD Geography, University of California, Berkeley (2015)
BA Migration and Refugee Studies, Stanford University (2003)
- Languages Spoken
- English and Spanish
- Book Currently Reading
- Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison by Lorna Rhodes
Anthony W. Fontes earned a PhD in Human Geography (2015) from the University of California, Berkeley. He he writes and teaches about violence, illicit economies, mass incarceration, ethnography and the politics of security in the Americas. His first book, Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City (UC press 2018), winner of the 2018 William Leogrande Award, explores the rise of extreme peacetime violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle, illuminating the blurred boundaries between the underworld, the state and law-abiding society, and the ways the region’s struggle with violence and poverty is intimately linked to its relationship with the United States. Currently, he is conducting research for a new book on the undocumented Central American migrant crisis and what it means for Central America, the Central American diaspora and US society more broadly. His research has been funded by the Open Society Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the HF Guggenheim Foundation. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, his work has also appeared in Newsweek, Salon, and the New York Times.
He is also involved in ethnographic research for a book-length project on state-criminal networks feeding off undocumented Central American migration through Mexico, and is lead researcher in a collaborative project entitled “State Cartels and Narco States: A comparative study of international drug-trafficking violence in Central America and Central Asia,” tracking the nature of state involvement in the international cocaine trade.
- See Also
- Professor Fontes' Personal Website
- Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City
- For the Media
- To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
Area of Expertise
Latin American security, U.S.-Latin America relations, Central America, Mexico, Immigration, asylum, prisons, gangs, illicit drugs, crime and insecurity, transnational gangs
Anthony W. Fontes is assistant professor in the School of International Service. His first book, Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City, explores the evolution of transnational gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) from the Cold War into the present. Based on years of ethnographic fieldwork inside Central American prisons, police precincts, and urban neighborhoods, Mortal Doubt delves into the meaning of life and death in the shadow of extreme violence. In addition, he has conducted extensive on-the-ground research along international drug trafficking corridors and immigration routes in Central America and Mexico. His work on prisons, immigration, gangs, and drug-trafficking has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. He has also published artciles in The Guardian and The New York Times.