- 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
- Professor Fontes is a human geographer and ethnographer. His scholarship focuses on theories of violence, illicit economies, prison worlds, human rights, and Latin America. For the last 7 years, Professor Fontes’ research has explored the evolution of transnational gangs, or maras, to understand how they became Central America’s public enemy #1. His work maps the blurred boundaries between the underworld, the state, law-abiding society, and legacies of civil war that have made the region the most violent non-combat zone in the world. The book based on this research, Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City, will be published by University of California Press in 2018. Professor Fontes is also engaged in a new research project on trafficking networks straddling Guatemala’s border with Mexico. His work has been supported by grants from the OSF/SSRC Drugs, Security, and Democracy Program, the International Center for Global Conflict and Cooperation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. At SIS, Fontes teaches courses on research methods and Latin American geography, and will soon be introducing courses on globalization, prisons, and violence.
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.