Dr Francesca Lessa

Dr. Francesca Lessa
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow

I have been working at the Latin American Centre (SIAS) since February 2011. Currently, I am conducting a three-year project to study accountability for Plan Condor transnational crimes in South America. This project is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions - Research Fellowship Programme of the European Commission. Between late 2014 and mid-2016, I was based in Buenos Aires to observe the proceedings in the Plan Cóndor trial and conduct research on this secret cross-national coordination set up by six military dictatorships in South America in the 1970s and 1980s.

When I joined the centre in 2011, I worked as a researcher on a project funded by the National Science Foundation (US) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) entitled “The Impact of Transitional Justice on Human Rights and Democracy” under the supervision of Professor Leigh A. Payne. In November 2012, we began a second phase of the research on transitional justice as a result of a follow-up grant by the NSF and AHRC to expand our existing database of transitional justice mechanisms, through a new project called “Alternative Accountabilities for Past Human Rights Abuses.” I was also a junior research fellow at St. Anne’s College (2011-2014). Between 2013 and 2015, I was Principal Investigator for the project “Justice and Memory beyond Borders: The Plan Cóndor and Accountability in Argentina and Uruguay,” funded by the John Fell OUP Research Fund.

Before joining SIAS, I studied for a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and I was a visiting lecturer on transitional justice and human rights at the Faculty of Psychology, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2010. 

My research interests relate to transitional justice in the Southern Cone, particularly Argentina and Uruguay; the politics of memory of state terrorism in the Southern Cone; and the question of impunity and present human rights violations in Argentina and Uruguay.

My publications include: co-editor with Vincent Druliolle of The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011; with Gabriela Fried of Luchas contra la impunidad: Uruguay, 1985–2011 (Montevideo: Trilce, 2011); and with Leigh A. Payne of Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability Comparative and International Perspectives (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

My monograph, Memory and Transitional Justice in Argentina and Uruguay: Against Impunity (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), was shortlisted for the “Best Recent History and Memory Book Contest” of the Latin American Studies Association and released in paperback in December 2014. A Spanish translation, with the title ¿Justicia o impunidad? Cuentas pendientes en el Uruguay post-dictadura, was published in August 2014 by Penguin Random House Uruguay. I have also published solo and co-authored articles in peer-reviewed journals including in the International Journal of Transitional Justice, Journal of Human Rights Practice, and International Journal of Conflict and Violence. I am currently working on a new book project relating to my research project on Plan Cóndor.

In my free time I enjoy swimming, playing tennis, dancing tango, reading, and especially travelling. I have a weakness for the Southern Cone of Latin America, especially Uruguay, and I try to travel there at least once a year.


Contact Information

Email: francesca.lessa@lac.ox.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 284947