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Photo of Alvear, Enrique

Enrique Alvear

Graduate Student



Building & Room:

Sociology Office: 4176D BSB


Specialty areas:

Immigration Detention, Prison Sociology, Critical Security Studies, Latino/a Studies, Latin American Political Philosophy, Liberation Theology

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and I also hold a Master’s in Latin American and Latino/a Studies. My research and teaching interests are urban policing, US empire and colonialism, international development, poverty governance, US sanctuary cities, and immigration control. My dissertation “Behind the Allure of Accuracy and Development: The Imperial Making of Predictive Policing in Santiago, Chile”, explores how and why the domestic shift to predictive crime control in the city was the result of global power relations that constrained and facilitated imperial flows of economic capital, expertise, and penal policies between the US and Chile. Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork, including more than 120 hours of ethnographic observations within the national police, 68 in-depth interviews, and over 2,000 pages of archival materials, this project demonstrates that predictive policing emerged out of large macro-institutional arrangements between the Chilean government, the Inter-American Development Bank, Altegrity (a global risk consulting company led by William Bratton and based in New York city), and the national police.

My research has received generous financial support from the National Science Foundation, the American Sociological Association, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Research and Development Agency (ANID) from the Chilean Government, Northwestern University’s and Social Science Research Council’s Dissertation Proposal Development Program, and the Provost’s Graduate Research Award from the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a member of the UIC Policing in Chicago Research Group, I have co-authored a book entitled Carceral Chicago: Weaponized Data and the Webs of Imperial Policing (forthcoming in 2024 with the University of Minnesota Press). Some of my other work has been published or under consideration at Law & Social Inquiry, Oxford Bibliographies in Criminology, Persona y Sociedad (Original in Spanish), and Revista Latinoamericana de Teología (Original in Spanish).

In addition to research, I am passionate about teaching. I understand education as a praxis that aims to help students from multiple biographies and social positions to (re)read the world in a way that allows us to scrutinize power and social inequality. In the United States, I have taught more than 500 college students either as a teaching assistant or instructor of record in the Sociology Department. Since UIC is the largest Minority Serving Institution in the city, I have developed a variety of pedagogical skills, methods, and forms of evaluation that pay attention to several disciplinary backgrounds, learning-styles, and knowledge and explicitly addresses my students’ unequal social positions in the classroom.