Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Arts and Science
Associate Professor, Political Science
Dr. William M. Downs is Co-Director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a faculty member in the Department of Political Science. With Dr. Reati, Downs founded the Center in May 2008 with the goal of increasing interdisciplinary research collaboration on pressing issues in the field of human rights. Downs' research interests include political extremism, focusing particularly on party-based anti-immigrant and neo-fascist groups in contemporary Europe. His work appears in such journals as West European Politics, Journal of European Integration, Journal of Comparative European Studies, Electoral Studies, Local Government Studies, Romanian Journal of Political Science, and Government & Opposition. Downs is past Co-Editor of e-Extreme (publication of the European Consortium of Political Research's Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy), has hosted international conferences on "Democracy and Extremism" and "Human Rights and Immigration Policy" at Georgia State, and has led funded International Strategic Initiatives on democracy, human rights, and political extremism in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and France. Downs is program director for study abroad and exchange programs at the University of Strasbourg, France, and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
Chair, Department of Modern and Classical Languages
I was born in Cordoba, Argentina. I've been teaching Latin American literature and culture at GSU since 1991, and I am Chair of Modern and Classical Languages since 2007. My most recent research is on the representation of political violence in contemporary Argentine literature, art, film, photography and monuments after the 1970s military dictatorship; and on memory and trauma. My first book of 1992, "Nombrar lo innombrable" (Naming the Unnameable), was about fictional representations of Argentina's "Dirty War" in novels of the 1980s. In 1997 I co-edited "Memoria colectiva y políticas de olvido" (Collective Memory and the Politics of Oblivion), a volume on State policies and popular practices of memory in Argentina and Uruguay in the 1990s. In 2006 I published "Postales del porvenir" (Postcards of Times to Come), a political interpretation of Argentine science-fiction novels written between 1985 and 1999 as allegories of the neoliberal policies being implemented at the time. My forthcoming book, "Desaparecido: Memorias de un cautiverio" (Disappeared: Memories of my Captivity), is based on my interviews with Mario Villani, a former Argentine prisoner who was kidnapped and kept in secret detention centers for almost four years. In addition to my research, I helped create and I co-direct with Dr. Gabe Kuperminc (Psychology) the "Human Rights in Argentina" May-mester study abroad program since 2009. As part of my involvement with human rights issues, in September 2010 I testified as one of five international witnesses in the trial against former dictator general Videla and 36 others in Argentina, which resulted in life sentences for most of the accused.