Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Oliver Villar

Dr Oliver Villar

BA (Hons) PhD, UWS

Oliver was born in Mendoza, Argentina and has lived in Sydney for most of his life. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Columbia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), offering a radical critique of the ‘war on drugs’, the ‘war on terrorism’ and the global drug trade.

He has been a lecturer since 2002, teaching politics, history, and sociology on a range of humanities and social science undergraduate programs at UWS, Macquarie University and Charles Sturt University (CSU). His published scholarly work focuses on international relations concerns, such as the exploitation of labour and natural resources for profit, security and conflict between the Global North and Global South, and the socio-political and environmental impacts of global capitalism.

At CSU, Oliver's academic interests continue to revolve around the vast and dynamic reservoir of political economy and the study of class analysis and class relations. This abiding interest extends across critical security studies, American foreign policy, and contemporary imperialism. His book 'Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia' (2011) was published by Monthly Review. His current research project investigates the subject of growing great power rivalries of the twenty-first century, with special attention on the globalisation of production and its shift to low-wage countries – particularly China – and US efforts to maintain its position as the leading hegemonic power in the Americas and in the world.

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Current Subject Offering

  • POL111 International Relations
  • POL213 Australian Political Institutions
  • POL305 Power, Politics and Propaganda in the Media
  • HST301 International History From 1945
  • HST308 Australia and Asia
  • SOC101 Introductory Sociology

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  • Current PhD co-supervisor for Mukesh Chander History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: Australian citizenship and national identity in the context of terror warnings.
  • Current PhD co-supervisor for Jennifer O'Dempsey History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: An evaluation of women's social roles, and representations of women in the Brisbane social protests (1967-1982).
  • PhD co-supervisor for Jennifer Watkins History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: A sociological history of the funeral industry in South Australia. 2020. Thesis completed.
  • Current Honours supervisor for Alexander Crampton History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: The political economy of the video games industry.
  • Honours supervisor for Peter Hanes History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: Does politics play a role in the procurement process within local government in NSW? 2019. Thesis completed.
  • Honours supervisor for Jordan McSwiney History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: The Far-Right in Australia. 2016. Thesis completed with High Distinction, see also
  • Honours co-supervisor for Claudio Dionigi History/Politics student, Charles Sturt University, thesis topic: The works and influence of Karl Polanyi. 2015. Thesis completed with High Distinction.
  • Interdisciplinary Honours thesis co-supervisor for Marina Clayton, Criminal Justice student, Charles Sturt University, Thesis topic: Why are drugs still coming into Australia? 2013. Thesis completed with High Distinction.
  • Masters external supervisor for Paul Antonopoulos, Politics student, University of Western Sydney, thesis topic: Origins of the Syrian Conflict, see

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Current and Abiding Research Interests

  • Global rivalries of the twenty-first century: the US, China, and Russia in the Americas and the world; contemporary imperialism, inter-imperial rivalry, and resistance.
  • Critical security studies: international security and great powers; economic and resource security; territorial conflicts and cross-border security; grand strategy; intra-state conflicts, insurgencies and guerrilla movements.
  • American foreign policy: counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategy; state violence; civil wars and proxy wars.
  • International political economy: capitalism, corporatism, neoliberalism, globalisation, class analysis and class relations between and within the First World and Third World (or Global North and Global South), and the West and East.

Research Impact

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Book Reviews in Media

Book Chapters

  • Villar, O. and Cottle D. 2020 FARC in Colombia: 21st Century US Imperialism and Class Warfare, 2nd Edition. In Ness, I. and Cope, Z. (eds.). The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-imperialism. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Villar, O. and Cottle D. 2015 FARC in Colombia: 21st Century US Imperialism and Class Warfare, 1st Edition. In Ness, I. and Cope, Z. (eds.). The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-imperialism. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Villar, O. 2012 Untouchable Compradores? Colombian State Narco-Terrorism and the People's Struggle for National Liberation. In Poynting, S. and Whyte, D. (eds.). Counter-Terrorism and State Political Violence: The 'War on Terror' as Terror. Routledge, New York.

Journal Articles

  • Villar, O. 2020 A pandemic in an era of U.S.-China rivalry and neoliberalism. Independent Australia. May 10, (Brisbane) 1-6.
  • Antonopoulos, P; Villar, O; Cottle, D; Ahmed, A 2017 Somalia: Turkey's Pivot to Africa in the Context of Growing Inter-imperialist Rivalries. The Journal of Comparative Politics. July, (Ljubljana) 1-35.
  • Villar, O. and Cottle, D. 2013 One-Hundred Years of Solitude or Solidarity? Colombia's Forgotten Revolution. A Contracorriente: Journal on Social History and Literature in Latin America. Vol. 10, No. 2 (North Carolina) 167-202.
  • Villar, O. and Cottle, D. 2011 From La Violencia to the War on Terror: A Re-examination of Colombia's FARC-EP Inside Bolivar's 'Gran Colombia'. Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal. November, (Sydney) 1-33.
  • Villar, O. 2009 Inside the Crystal Triangle: The US 'War on Narcoterrorism' in Colombia. International Review of Business Research. Vol. 5, No. 4 (Melbourne) 1-10.
  • Villar, O. 2007 US Narcocolonialism? Colombian Cocaine and Twenty-First Century Imperialism. Research in Political Economy. Vol. 24, Spring, (New York) 97-128.

Conference Papers

  • "On the matter of 21st century imperialism in Latin America," paper presented at the Fourth Annual Historical Materialism Australasia conference, Sydney University, 17-18 July, 2015.
  • "US imperialism?" paper presented at the Third Annual Historical Materialism Australasia conference, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 5-6 September, 2014.
  • "The Black Hole, Colombia and the Class War," paper presented at the Violence Studies Conference 2012, University of Newcastle, August 23, 2012.
  • "FARC-EP: La Insurgencia Del Siglo XXI," paper presented at the Association of Iberian & Latin American Studies of Australasia (AILASA) Conference. The Australian National University, Canberra, July 7-9, 2010,
  • Cottle, D; Villar, O; Keys, A. 2009 The Global Financial Crisis: System Failure, Great Power Rivalry and Prospects for Structural Change. The Australasian Political Studies Association (APSA) Annual Conference.Macquarie University, Sydney, 28-30 September.
  • Villar, O and Cottle, D. 2009 'Great Disorder Under Heaven': The Global Crisis of Capital, Great Power Rivalry and Prospects for Structural Change. International Gramsci Society. Political Economy Conference - Capital in Crisis: Implications for Labour and Society. University of Wollongong, Wollongong, 9-10 July.
  • "Colombia, a political economy of drugs," paper presented at the Latin American Studies Council of Asia and Oceania (CELAO) I Conference – La Trobe University, Melbourne, July 14–16, 2005.
  • Villar, O; Cottle, D; Keys, A. 2003 The Kill for Drugs Policy? Ecocide in Rural Colombia. Greening Sustainability - XIV Ecopolitics Conference of the Ecopolitics Association of Australasia. RMIT University, Melbourne, 27-29 November.
  • Cottle, D; Keys, A; Villar, O. 2003 Beyond Sustainability? Ecocide in South Australia's Desert Landscapes. Greening Sustainability - XIV Ecopolitics Conference of the Ecopolitics Association of Australasia.RMIT University, Melbourne, 27-29 November.
  • "Rumble in the Jungle: FARC vs US imperialism," paper presented at the War, Society and Culture Conference – University of Newcastle, Newcastle, September 29–October 1, 2002.

Australian and International Media

International Media

Australian Media

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  • Institute for Land, Water and Society, CSU
  • Latin America Social Forum, Sydney, Australia
  • Latin American House Inc. Melbourne, Australia

Selected Talks and Guest Lectures

  • Expert forum participant, "Imperialism, Globalisation and the Challenges of 2017", Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and Their Families, Granville Public Library, July 8, 2017.
  • Guest speaker, "The left in crisis?: problems of strategy and ideology in the age of 21st century imperialism", Latin American House Inc. Sydney Australia, October 29, 2016. (presented in Spanish).
  • Expert panel participant, "Voting yes or no to peace: Implications for upcoming Plebiscite on ending the Colombian civil war," United for Colombia, Sydney, September 24, 2016.
  • "In Whose Hands is Colombia's Future?" Guest speaker, "Colombia" Prospects and challenges in the context of the Peace Process," Latin America Social Forum/United for Colombia, Sydney, April 9, 2016.
  • Invitation as expert to "Colombia: inside out," Debate hosted by LATITUDES / Latin American Research Group Australia, University of New South Wales (UNSW), August 8, 2014.
  • Talk on the current situation in Colombia and neighbouring countries – Guest   speaker for postgraduate students, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), May 31, 2014.
  • Talk on "Analysis of the Situation of Colombian Farmers" – Guest speaker for United for Colombia committee, Newtown community centre, November 30, 2013.
  • Guest lecture on the Latin American drug trade, Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention, University of Wollongong, August 24, 2012.
  • "The Great Struggle in Latin America," guest speaker, Latin America Social Forum (LASF) Conference, Sydney, August 18-19, 2012.
  • "Critiques of international political economy," Chair for the Annual Historical Materialism Australasia conference, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 20-21 July, 2012.
  • Talk on Colombia for International Solidarity Conference for Latin America, Trades Hall, Melbourne, August 28–29, 2009.
  • Talk on US counterinsurgency operations in Central and South America since the Cold War – Guest speaker for Committee for Human Rights in Guatemala, January 24, 2009.
  • Talk on "Parapolitica" scandal and International Criminal Court investigation (ICC) of the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe Velez – Guest speaker for Peace and Justice for Colombia (PJFC),Sydney, November 29, 2008.
  • Talk on Colombian conflict for Latin America Conference, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), October 10, 2006.
  • Guest lecture on US Policy Towards Colombia, University of Western Sydney (UWS), September 3, 2004.

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