Luis van Isschot

Associate Professor

On Leave

July 01, 2020 to June 30, 2021
Sidney Smith Hall, Room 3109


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

 Modern Latin America; Colombia; Peru; Human Rights; Inter-American Human Rights System; Social Movements; Violence; Authoritarianism; Revolutionary Movements.


Luis van Isschot is a historian of modern Latin America, specializing in the study of social movements, popular radicalism, political violence and human rights.  His first book "The Social Origins of Human Rights: Protesting Political Violence in Colombia’s Oil Capital, 1919-2010", was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2015 as part of their Critical Human Rights series.  It is being published in Spanish by Editorial Universidad del Rosario.

His newest research project concerns Latin American participation in global anti-colonial movements in the 1960s and 1970s.  He is also working on a history of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  Since the late 1980s there has been a dramatic tendency towards the international judicialization of rights claims.  In a short period of time, Inter-American Court proceedings have transformed the way in which human rights advocacy in the region is organized.  The aim of this project is to understand the effects of these cases on the societies concerned.

For more than a decade Luis van Isschot he has been academically and professionally concerned with international human rights.  He has conducted research and worked on behalf of non-governmental organizations in Latin America, North America and Africa.  Prior to his appointment to the University of Toronto, van Isschot worked at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York, and Assistant Professor of History and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.


PhD, McGill University