Marta-Laura Suska

Marta-Laura Suska

Assistant Professor
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2018   PhD, Cultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dissertation: Global Uniformities versus Local Complexities: An Ethnography of two Policing Programs in Brazil.

2011   MPHil, Latin American Studies, University of Oxford, UK

Thesis: The Surprising Success of the Pacification Police Units in Rio de Janeiro.

2009  B.A. University of Witten/ Herdecke, Germany




Marta-Laura Suska is a cultural anthropologist and brazilianist interested in policing, urban violence, inequality, and social justice. Her Ph.D. work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was an ethnographic study of two public security programs and is based on field research conducted periodically over six years in Brazil. She shadowed military police units and homicide task force, policymakers, and lived in favela communities in Rio de Janeiro and Recife, to explore the concept of "democratic policing" and how it is understood and transformed on the ground. Dr. Suska's research was funded by the Social Science Research Council and Open Society Foundation Drugs, Security and Democracy Fellowship, UW-Madison and Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship, Tinker & Nave and Scott Kloeck Jenson Foundation, and the BRICS Policy Center. 

Over the years, Dr. Suska has worked with non-profit organizations devoted to social justice issues, such as the Madison Public Library's Making Justice Program, working with court-involved youth; the  Igarapé Institute, the BRICS Policy Center, and the Center for Digital Inclusion in Rio de Janeiro, and the Goethe Institute in São Paulo.

Currently, she is working on a book project and several articles based on her doctoral research.

Course taught

Carrent courses: Anthro 100, Ethnography of Youth and Justice in New York City

Previous courses