Dr Tanya Harmer

Dr Tanya Harmer

Associate Professor

Department of International History

Room No
Connect with me

English, Spanish
Key Expertise
Latin America, Cold War

About me

Dr Tanya Harmer is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle. She has written widely on Chile’s revolutionary process in the 1970s, the Cuban Revolution’s influence in Latin America, counter-revolution and inter-American diplomacy, solidarity networks, women and gender. Her latest book tells the story of Beatriz Allende and Chile’s Revolutionary Left that came of age in the shadow of the Cuban Revolution. 

Dr Harmer obtained her BA at the University of Leeds before moving to the London School of Economics to do her MA and PhD in International History. Prior to being appointed as a lecturer in the department in 2009, she was an LSE fellow. She has also held visiting teaching positions at Columbia University in New York (2012-13) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2010, 2013).

In addition to being closely associated with the LSE’s new Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC), Dr Harmer is the convener of the Latin America-Europe Cold War Research Network. She has received a number of grants to support international collaborative projects on Latin America and the Cold War. Most recently, she and Dr Alberto Martín of the Instituto Mora in Mexico City organized two international conferences on Global Histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left and Intellectual Cultures of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left with support from the British Academy.

In 2014, Dr Harmer was awarded one of the School’s Major Review Teaching Prizes and in 2015 she won a Student-led Teaching Excellence Award for Research Support and Guidance.

In 2016/17 and 2019/20, she also one a LSE Excellence in Education award.

Other titles: MSc in History of International History Programme Director, Coordinator of International Partnerships and MA in History Programme Director.

Expertise Details

Latin America; Cold War

Teaching & supervision

Dr Harmer usually teaches the following courses in the department:

At undergraduate level:

HY113: From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century (taught jointly with other members of staff in the Department)

HY120: Historical Approaches to the Modern World (taught jointly with other members of staff in the Department)

HY239: People, Power and Protest in Latin America, c.1895 to the Present Day

At postgraduate level:

HY444: The Cold War in Latin America

HY501: International History Research Student Workshop

HY509: International History Research Seminar

 Watch Dr Tanya Harmer talk about HY444, how it is structured and how students can benefit from taking it in order to better understand the world we live in today.

She supervises the following PhD students:

 Research students  Provisional thesis title
Charlotte Eaton The Spanish Mirror: Colombian national identities, the Spanish civil war and its legacies, 1936-1946
Fionntan O’Hara Humanitarianism and the Cold War: Refugees in Honduras during the 1980s

Dr Harmer is happy to supervise dissertations relating to twentieth-century Latin American history.

Previous PhD students include:

 PhD graduates
 Thesis title
Molly Avery (2021) Transnational Anticommunist Networks in Central America in the Late 1970s and Early 1980s
Eline van Ommen (2019)  Sandinistas Go Global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990


Dr Harmer's first book, Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of Carolina Press, 2011), won the Luciano Tomassini International Relations Book Award in 2013 and has now been published in Spanish as El gobierno de Allende y la Guerra Fria Interamericana (Santiago, Chile: UDP, 2013). The book focuses on the international history of Chile during the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-73) and Chile's foreign relations with Cuba and the United States during this period. As well as examining the relationships between Santiago, Havana and Washington, it also deals with Chile's place within a multidimensional Cold War struggle in the Southern Cone in the early 1970s; Brazil's involvement in that struggle and its relationship with the Nixon administration; and Latin America's role in North-South debates.

Dr Harmer's second book, Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2020), is the history of Chile, youth politics and the revolutionary left in the long 1960s. It deals with Cuba’s influence in Chile after 1959, transnational guerrilla movements, the Unidad Popular years, exile and solidarity. It examines what it meant to be a female revolutionary in the age of Che Guevara and Salvador Allende and, in doing so, it tells the history of women and gender politics in Cold War Latin America.

Her newest book, a co-edited volume with Alberto Martín Alvares, Toward a Global History of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left, was released by University Press of Florida in April 2021.

Beyond these books Dr  Harmer has published articles, chapters and edited other volumes on Latin America as follows:


News & media


Dr Tanya Harmer appointed Visiting Professor in Chile

Dr Tanya Harmer was appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile's Institute of History. Starting in March, she will be teaching a new postgraduate course Mobility, Migration and Refuge in Americas during the Cold War. 


Thesis award for former PhD student

Dr Eline van Ommen won the British International History Group’s Michael Dockrill Memorial Thesis Prize for 2021. Her thesis, "Sandinistas Go Global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990", was supervised by Dr Harmer and Professor Piers Ludlow. The Michael Dockrill Thesis Prize is awarded annually to the best doctoral thesis on any aspect and any period of International History.


Chile's Popular Unity Experiment at 50

Dr Harmer co-curated a special issue for Radical Americas, released in May and available open access. “Chile’s Popular Unity (UP) Experiment at 50” sets out to reassess the meaning of the democratic socialist experience of Salvador Allende. Read the introduction that she co-wrote with Marian Schlotterbeck (UC Davis) and Joshua Frens-String (University of Texas, Austin). And have a look at the article she contributed, “Towards a Global History of the Unidad Popular”.


New book

Dr Harmer released a new co-edited volume Toward a Global History of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left with Professor Alberto Martín Álvarez (Universitat de Girona). The volume showcases new research on the global reach of Latin American revolutionary movements during the height of the Cold War. Read more


Historias podcast

Dr Tanya Harmer talked to the Historias Podcast about her latest book Beatriz Allende and revolutionary women in Latin America. Along with Tiffany Sippial, they discussed the significance of gender and the ways in which their subjects’ stories add to our collective understanding of politics and revolution during the mid-twentieth century.  Listen here


Interview for Jacobin Magazine

Dr Harmer was interviewed for Jacobin Magazine on “The Revolutionary Life of Salvador Allende’s Daughter Beatriz Allende” (11 September). Women revolutionaries are routinely obscured by history, but a new biography of Beatriz Allende – daughter and close confidante of Salvador Allende, an internationalist militant – helps shine a light on what it meant to be a woman revolutionary in the age of Che Guevara. Read the interview


New book

Beatriz Allende: A Revolutionary Life in Cold War Latin America was released by UNC Press in March. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution, Beatriz and her generation drove political campaigns, university reform, public health programs, internationalist guerrilla insurgencies, and government strategies. Centering her life within the global contours of the Cold War era, Dr Harmer exposes the promises and paradoxes of the revolutionary wave that swept through Latin America in the long 1960s.


New article

The ‘Cuban Question’ and the Cold War in Latin America, 1959-1964” is the most recent publication by Dr Tanya Harmer. Pubished in the Journal of Cold War Studies (21:3), the article explains how Latin American governments responded to the Cuban revolution and how the “Cuban question” played out in the inter-American system in the first five years of Fidel Castro’s regime, from 1959 to 1964, when the Organization of American States imposed sanctions on the island.


Episode of Historias podcast featuring Dr Tanya Harmer

In the inaugural state of the field episode, Dr Harmer was featured alongside Dr Renata Keller (University of Nevada) to discuss Latin America’s Cold War. In episode 28, released on 5 November, they consider the meaning of the Cold War in Latin America, questions of chronology and areas of scholarly emphasis, and their own work highlighting voices long overlooked in the historiography. The Historias podcast is hosted by the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies based in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina.


Virtual special issue on the Cold War in Latin America

Dr Harmer has organised a virtual special issue for the Journal of Latin American Studies (JLAS), entitled “The Cold War in Latin America" (open access). “This virtual special issue highlights some of the exciting directions that scholarship on the Cold War in Latin America has taken over the last decade”, Dr Harmer tells us in the Introduction. New interest in Latin America’s Cold War “have provided new insights into the way that the conflict affected – and was shaped by – Latin Americans’ international, transnational and global interactions as well as their domestic politics”. As a result, our understanding of the conflict has moved well beyond simplistic ideas of a distant bipolar superpower battle over the region. “The Cold War in Latin America” showcases some of the best new scholarship on the Cold War published by JLAS in previous years with articles on women, gender and morality; the “politicization and internationalization of everyday life”; and on interactions of Latin America’s revolutionary left.


Co-edited special journal issue published by Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe

Based on two international conferences co-convened by Dr Harmer - Global and Transnational Histories of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left and Intellectual Cultures of of Revolution in Latin America - Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe has published a co-edited special issue, titled "Revolutionary Transnationalism in Historical Perspective: Militant Networks in the Americas"  (vol. 28, no. 2). Both conferences were hosted by the Latin America-Europe Cold War Research Network in 2016. The Reseach Network is coordinated by Dr Harmer and sponsored by the LSE International History Department. The special issue features an introduction by Dr Harmer and by Dr Alberto Martin Alvarez (Instituto Mora). The whole issue is open access.


LSE Excellence in Education Awards

Dr Tanya Harmer won a 2016-17 LSE Excellence in Education Award with other members of the department. Designed to support the School’s aspiration of creating ‘a culture where excellence in teaching is valued and rewarded on a level with excellence in research’ (LSE Strategy 2020), winners of the Excellence in Education Awards are recommended by LSE Heads of Department who have demonstrated outstanding teaching contribution and educational leadership in their departments.


Public talks in Chile

Dr Tanya Harmer spoke at two public events on the centenary of the 1917 revolutions in Santiago, Chile, in October On the 19th, she was at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile to take part in a public seminar, called "The Russian revolutions a hundred years on". She gave a talk on the historiography of the Cold War in Latin America. On 23-25 October, she attended a major international conference at the Nicanor Parra Library, entitled "The Bolshevik Revolution a hundred years on: the experience of 'real socialism' and the dilemmas of the contemporary world.” On the last day of the conference, she presented a paper on the legacy and impact of the Bolshevik Revolution on the Cold War in Latin America.


LSE Pro-Director Education Vision Fund awarded to Department's Pilot Project headed by Dr Tanya Harmer

In February 2017, the Department of International History was awarded funds from the LSE Pro-Director Education Vision Fund to support a pilot project called "Diversifying the Curriculum". Curricula in the Department of International History cover vast areas of the globe and range over more than six centuries. This pilot project, headed by Dr Tanya Harmer, the Department's Director of Teaching, will review five undergraduate courses in the department, with the aim of redesigning core topics, reading lists and teaching approaches to reflect the diversity of the discipline. The Pro-Director Education Vision Fund was established to support the delivery of the School’s Education Strategy and to allocate funds to projects designed to make a significant impact on students’ educational experiences. Following the submission of 13 proposals across LSE, the Department of International History was one of seven different academic departments and professional service units across LSE to be awarded funds. Learn more about the 2016-17 Pro-Director Education Vision Fund winners.


BBC Two Newsnight

Dr Tanya Harmer contributed to a 5-minute piece on the life and legacy of Fidel Castro for BBC Two Newsnight on Monday, 28 November. Following the death of the Cuban leader on 25 November, BBC journalist Stephen Smith looked at the historical impact of the controversial Cuban revolutionary and leader.


Watch the interview (UK only)


Student-led Teaching Excellence Award for Research Support and Guidance

Dr Tanya Harmer has won the Award for Research Support and Guidance at this year’s student-led Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards are run by the Students’ Union, supported by the Teaching and Learning Centre and sponsored by the Annual Fund. This year, competition was particularly hard, as students made 1362 nominations for 555 individual members of staff. This is a terrific achievement for Dr Tanya Harmer who last year had won the Major Review Award.


British Academy Newton Mobility Award

Dr Tanya Harmer has been awarded a British Academy Newton Mobility Award worth £9,962 to lead a collaborative research project with Dr Alberto Martín Álvarez at the Instituto Mora in Mexico City on "Transnational and Global Histories of Latin America's Revolutionary Left." The project will centre around two international conferences in 2016 on Latin American left-wing movements' transnational and global connections during the Cold War.


Latin America and Europe during the Cold War

The LSE sponsored a symposium at 2014’s AHILA conference in Berlin on 10 September, coordinated by Dr Tanya Harmer. The symposium brought together 15 historians from around the world in 4 panels to examine the relations between Latin America, the Soviet bloc and Western Europe. The symposium focused on the formal relations between governments and political parties of Latin America and Europe. It aimed to investigate the transnational networks and contacts that emerged between both regions as a result of solidarity movements, youth groups, academic exchanges and travel. Read more about the symposium organised by Dr Tanya Harmer.


Book launch in Chile

Dr Tanya Harmer was in Santiago, Chile, on 28 July to launch her new book, co-edited with Alfredo Riquelme, Chile y la Guerra Fría Global. The book is the result of a conference Dr Harmer organised between LSE IDEAS and the Institute of History at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2009. The event was featured in the national Chilean newspaper La Tercera. Read more about the book launch.


Publications: Allende and 40th anniversary of the coup in Chile

Wednesday 11th September 2013 marked the 40th Anniversary of the coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende. Dr Tanya Harmer published work on Allende and Chile during his presidency. Her award-winning book is called Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War (2012) published in Spanish.


British Academy grant for "Brazil and the Cold War" project

Dr Tanya Harmer participated in the Latin America International Affairs Programme at LSE IDEAS and the Centre for Documentation and Research at the Fundaçao Getulio Vargas (CPDOC-FGV) after the award of a joint British Academy grant worth £20,000 to organise two international conferences in Rio de Janeiro and London.

Scheduled for September 2010 and April 2011, these conferences brought together academics from across Latin America and the UK to focus on Brazil's role in Latin America during the Cold War and post-Cold War eras.