Anthropology Department
Robert N. Samet

Robert Samet

Job Title
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Lamont House 306

Research interests

Robert Samet works on media, law, and politics in the Americas. Since 2006, he has been conducting research in and on Venezuela. Robert's fieldwork alongside crime reporters in Caracas was the subject of an award-winning first book, Deadline: Populism and the Press in Venezuela (Chicago 2019). Currently, he is pursuing a pair of projects that build on this research. The first uses the Venezuelan case to construct a theoretical approach to populism that combines the inductive methods of ethnography with conceptual tools from communications and cultural studies. As part of this project, he is co-organizing a week-long symposium with the Wenner-Gren Foundation on “Anthropological Approaches to Populism” in Spring 2022. The second project looks at how fear of police impacts urban space in a way that exacerbates the problem of violent crime in cities like Caracas. This project draws on comparative ethnography to show how substantive police reforms are undermined by tools of perception management.


  • 2021. “A Response to Carla Moscoso’s “Populism, the Press and the Politics of Crime in Venezuela,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 34(3): 385-391.

  • 2020. “Channeling Populism,” The Immanent Frame, March 18, 2020.

  • 2019. Deadline: Populism and the Press in Venezuela. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (Practices in Meaning series), pp. 232

  • 2019. “The Subject of Wrongs: Crime, Populism, and Venezuela’s Punitive Turn,” Cultural Anthropology, 34(2): 272-298

  • 2017. “The Denouncers: Populism and the Press in Venezuela,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 49(1): 1-27

  • 2017. “All Populisms Are Not Created Equal” (with Naomi Schiller) in Anthropology News, May/June 2017, pp. 1-3

  • 2015. “Protests and Polarization in Venezuela after Chávez,” Fieldsights - Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology online series, co-edited and co-authored with Amy Cooper and Naomi Schiller

  • 2013. “The Photographer’s Body: Populism, Polarization, and the Uses of Victimhood in Venezuela,” American Ethnologist, 40(3): 525-539

Additional media


  • 2020. Best Book Award, International Communications Association, Journalism Division (Winner)
  • 2020. Marysa Navarro Book Award, New England Council on Latin American Studies (Winner)
  • 2020. Best Book Award, Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (Runner-Up)
  • 2018. Latin American Studies Association, Best Article on Venezuela for “The Denouncers: Populism and the Press in Venezuela”

Academic credentials

B.A., Duke University; M.A., Columbia University; Ph.D., Stanford University