The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University The College of Liberal Arts at Temple University

Benjamin Kohl

Graduate Chair


Geography and Urban Studies

Temple University

339 Gladfelter Hall

1115 Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089




Kohl Portrait: resisto ergo sum


Areas of Expertise:

International development and economic policy, international urban studies, persistence of neoliberalism, political economy of development and planning, urban planning, Latin America, Andean Region, Bolivia.



1999 - Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning, Cornell University
1992 - M.A. in Engineering and Policy, Technology and Human Affairs, Washington University, St. Louis
1986 - B.A. in Anthropology, San Francisco State University




GUS 1025 (060) World Urban Patterns
GUS 2032 (W131) Urban Societies in a Global Economy

GUS 3000 Special Topics: Everyday Life in European Cities

GUS 3001 Image of the City in Popular Culture
GUS 4021 (220/409) Geography & Urban Studies: International Urbanization

GUS 4075/5075 (225/425) Geography & Urban Studies: Regional Development in the Third World
GUS 4197 (W282) Research Methods and Techniques
GUS 8097 Research Methods and Design




My research interests extend across the fields of the political economy of development, urban studies, urban theory, and research methods. Much of my work focuses on Bolivia, where I have spent over 9 of the past 25 years-- first, working in and later studying development projects before moving to broader questions of political and social change. One body of work, which examines how neoliberal restructuring in 1985 has shaped the country between 1985 and 2005, is summarized in Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance, written with Linda Farthing (Zed Books, 2006). A second book, From the Mines to the Streets; The life of a Bolivian activist (2011, U Texas) tells the story of broader historical processes within the context of one person's life.


I am presently engaged in two research projects. The first, which will take me back to Bolivia, looks at the constraints to change in democratic and bureaucratic systems and, in the Bolivian case, considers the persistence of neoliberalism in “post neoliberal” states. The second project looks define the characteristics of neoliberal cities to complement the global cities framework that currently dominates international urban studies. This project will allow us to develop a framework for understanding neoliberal cities just as we have some shared (and perhaps contradictory) understanding of what we mean when we talk about global (or world) cities.


Publications (selected):


B Kohl and L Farthing, with F Muruchí (2011) From the mines to the streets: A Bolivian activist’s life, University of Texas Press: Austin


“Bolivia under Morales: National Agenda, Regional Challenges, and the Struggle for Hegemony” Latin American Perspectives, 37(4) 5-20, with R Bresnahan, 2010


"Social Control: Bolivia’s New Approach to Coca Reduction Latin American Perspectives, 37(4) 197-213, with L Farthing, 2010


“Bolivia under Morales: Consolidating Power, Initiating Decolonization” Latin American Perspectives, 37(3) 5-17, with R Bresnahan 2010


“Bolivia under Morales: A work in progress” Latin American Perspectives 37(3) 107-122, 2010


“‘Less Than Fully Satisfactory Development Outcomes’: International Financial Institutions and Social Unrest in Bolivia,” Latin American Perspectives, 36(3), 59-78, with L Farthing, 2009


Minero con poder de dinamita: la vida de un activista bolivano, Editores Plural: La Paz, F Muruchi, L Farthing, and B Kohl, 2009 (pdf of book [here])


“New Spaces New Contests: Appropriating decentralization for political change in Bolivia,” with Linda Farthing, pp. 69-86, in Planning and Decentralization: Contested Spaces for Public Action in the Global South, Victoria Beard, Faranak Miraftab & Christopher Silver, eds. Routledge,  2008


Epilogue to Impasse in Bolivia, draft of chapter for Spanish edition, Plural, La Paz, 2007


Bumeran boliviano en Economia. Bumeran boliviano Hegemonia neoliberal y resistencia social, with Linda Farthing. La Paz: Plural Editores, marzo 2007. ISBN/Código: 51345960024.


Impasse in Bolivia: Neoliberal Hegemony and Popular Resistance, with Linda Farthing, Zed Press, London 2006


“Challenges to Neoliberal Hegemony in Bolivia,” Antipode, 38(2), 304-326, 2006


“Conflicting Agendas: the Politics of Development in Drug Producing Areas,” with Linda Farthing, Development Policy Review, March, 183-198, 2005


“Privatization Bolivian Style: A cautionary tale,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(4) 2004 (Spanish translation [here])


Juan Arbona and Ben Kohl, “La Paz-El Alto City Profile,” Cities, June 2004, 21(3) 255-265


“Democratizing Decentralization in Bolivia: The Law of Popular Participation,” Journal of Planning Education and Research, 23(2), 153-164, 2003


“Restructuring Citizenship in Bolivia: El Plan de Todos,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27(2), 337-351, 2003


"La restrucuraccion de la ciudadania en Bolivia: El Plan de Todos," Revista de la Universidad Catolica "Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion" 22(1&2) 113-135, 2005


“Stabilizing Neoliberalism In Bolivia: Privatization and Participation in Bolivia,” Political Geography, 21(4), 449-472, 2002 (Spanish translation [here])


"The Price of Success: The Destruction of Coca and the Bolivian Economy," NACLA, 34(7), 35-41, with Linda Farthing, 2001


"Bolivia's New Wave of Protest," NACLA, 34(5) 8-11, with Linda Farthing, 2001



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