Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order

Anthony W. Fontes

Part of the Fall 2019 Bay Area Latin America Forum

November 21, 2019

Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order

Event Description

Maras (transnational gangs) like the MS-13 stand at the center of ever-growing politics of fear. Based on years of fieldwork in Central America, Anthony W. Fontes illuminates how the maras became the region’s public enemy #1. However, the problem goes beyond gangs. By providing cover for a host of other actors taking advantage of extreme violence, maras help create a sense of order in the midst of chaos. Fontes will explore how these gangs have become so crucial for making and mooring collective terror in Central American cities while tracing the ties that bind violence to those residing in far safer environs.


Anthony W. Fontes is an Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University and received his Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley. He is the author of Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City.


This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, the Graduate School of Education, and the School of Journalism.

Fontes talks to attendees after the event