Dr. von Vacano was the recipient of a 2018 “Texas A&M Chancellor and Board of Regents ‘Nationally and Internationally Recognized Faculty” award.
He received his doctorate in Politics from Princeton University and his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University. He also studied in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University. He attended Franco Boliviano School in La Paz, Bolivia before that.
He is the Chief Editor of the Oxford University Press book series “Studies in Comparative Political Theory.” He has been a Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Yale University; a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and a Member of the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, NJ.
He is the author of The Color of Citizenship: Race, Modernity and Latin American/Hispanic Political Thought (Oxford University Press, January 2012) and The Art of Power: Machiavelli, Nietzsche and the Making of Aesthetic Political Theory (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, November 2006), as well as of various articles, including a piece on “The Scope of Comparative Political Theory” for the Annual Review of Political Science in 2015.
Oxford University Press also published his book, Reconsidering Race: Social Science Perspectives on Racial Categories in the Age of Genomics in June 2018. The edited volume, which has a Preface from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., provides different views of how the social sciences must engage with the natural sciences in light of recent genomics research that has impacted certain accounts of ‘race.’
He is currently working on a book, to be published by Oxford University Press (expected in 2023), tentatively entitled Power over Energy: Geopolitics and Populism in the Struggle over Bolivia’s Lithium. The book examines the global interest and conflict over Bolivia’s green energy resources and its implications for democracy, populism and caudillo politics.
His academic interests include the energy sector for development and political economy. He is currently an advisor to President Luis Arce’s government to develop Bolivia’s emerging lithium industry. He has advised Arce and his team since 2019 in other areas as well, including US-Bolivia issues (meeting with Bernie Sanders), and academic/educational affairs (meetings with Joseph Stiglitz and others).
Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M University, Dr. von Vacano served on the faculties of Hunter College CUNY, Vassar College, and Williams College. He was also a Visiting Scholar in Latin American Studies at Columbia University. Professor von Vacano has been the recipient of an NEH faculty grant in Latin American philosophy; the University Center for Human Values Graduate Fellowship at Princeton University; and grants from the Spencer Foundation, Tinker Foundation, and Mellon Foundation as well as from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied Public Policy of Political and Economic Development.
von Vacano is also interested in the globalization of soccer. He is Founder and Organizer of the Yale and Princeton Soccer Conferences. He also covers international association football tournaments for various media outlets since 1990. As a photographer and analyst he has covered events such as the UEFA Champions League, Copa America, and Euro 2016 for NBC/Telemundo, Código Deporte (Argentina), and Página 7 (Bolivia) among others. He supports Bolivar and Chelsea (since 1997) and plays for Rayados FC in the Bryan/College Station Soccer League now as a forward (since it requires less running than playing midfield!)
He is originally from Bolivia and moved to the United States as a political refugee in his youth during the Garcia Meza military dictatorship.