Rebecca Bartel Named Fred J. Hansen Chair of Peace Studies

Rebecca BartelBartel will lead scholarly research and academic engagement and outreach from 2021-2023

The Hansen Chair is awarded to outstanding scholars in the College of Arts and Letters whose research and teaching focus on peace and nonviolence.

For two decades, Rebecca Bartel, tenured associate professor in the Department for the Study of Religion and associate director for the Center for Latin American Studies, has centered her research and work on themes of social justice, political economies of war, and efforts at peacebuilding in Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico border region.. 

Bartel’s first book, Card Carrying Christians: Debt and the Making of Free Market Spirituality in Colombia, (University of California Press, 2021) is an ethnography of the entangled relationships of debt, belief, violence, and the aspirations of everyday Colombians to bring about peace and prosperity in their lives. 

She has also written numerous articles and chapters on forgiveness, violence, peace agreements, and the economics of war and peace in Colombia. Bartel has presented at dozens  of national and international conferences and organized or co-organized four prestigious conferences and workshops. She has received more than 10 grants, awards, and fellowships while at SDSU.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war,” Bartel wrote in her application, “Peace, if we anticipate it to be sustainable and generate new conversations about the future of democracy and civil society, is the presence of justice, equity, and the guarantee of social, economic, and political rights for all persons. 

“These convictions, that peace grows through the cultivation of justice and equity, shapes my vision for the work of the Hansen Chair of Peace Studies.”

Building on the work of previous Hansen Chairs, Bartel plans to expand student internship opportunities in peace-building and social justice. She will also collaborate across campus to amplify research and teaching about peace in numerous disciplines; partner with campus organizations such as the Center for Human Rights to offer peace-related programming and activities; strengthen relationships in the broader San Diego/Tijuana social justice communities; and convene noted scholars and practitioners to develop “best practices” for peacebuilding.

The selection committee believes that Bartel’s contributions and accomplishments as a researcher and teacher-scholar have the potential to make significant national and international impact. College of Arts and Letters Dean Monica J. Casper said “Dr. Bartel’s selection provides an opportunity to expand the international focus of the Hansen Chair and continue to build SDSU as a leader in this area.”