Oliver Villar

BA (Hons) PhD, UWS, History, Politics and Sociology, Dr, Dr

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Personal profile

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. Ten years of research culminated in his and Drew Cottle's 2011 book, 'Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror: US Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia', published in the prestigious Monthly Review (Albert Einstein wrote its first lead article, 'Why Socialism?', in 1949). 'Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror' details the complex nature of Colombian society and fostered recognition that the drug trade was a driver in global politics, and of the US's foreign policy with respect to drug-producing zones. 'Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror' has impacted politics, culture and society, bringing the link between the global drug trade and the legitimate global economy to light. Following the book's release, it has been used by experts, journalists and community groups to critique the financial system, the war on drugs, the war on terror and US policy towards Colombia

Oliver 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 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.


  • HST301 International History From 1945
  • HST308 Australia and Asia
  • POL111 International Relations
  • POL213 Understanding Australian Political Life: Actors, Institutions and Policy
  • POL305 Power, Politics and Propaganda in the Media
  • SOC101 Understanding the Social World
  • SPE211 Foundations in Social Policy

  • HSS401 Project/Dissertation
  • HSS402 Reading Subject
  • HSS403 Theory and Method

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.

Professional Information

External Appointments and Memberships:

  • Latin America Social Forum (LASF), Sydney Australia
  • Latin American House Inc, Melbourne Australia

Editorial roles on Journals:

  • Civil Wars (Reviewer)
  • Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO), (Reviewer)
  • Social Sciences (Reviewer)
  • The International Journal of Community and Social Development (Reviewer)
  • Rural Society (Reviewer)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Western Sydney


Bachelor of Arts (Politics) (Honours), University of Western Sydney


Bachelor of Arts (Politics/Sociology), University of Western Sydney



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