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Jose Atiles

Profile picture for Jose Atiles

Contact Information

702 S. Wright Street
3080 Lincoln Hall
Urbana, IL 61801
M/C 454
Assistant Professor


Jose Atiles is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Jose holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Law from the University of Coimbra (Portugal), a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of the Basque Country (Spain), and a MA in Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Oñati). His research and publications focus primarily on the sociolegal and criminological implications of US colonialism in Puerto Rico and how emergency powers, corruption, and state-corporate crime exacerbates the unequal and undemocratic condition of Puerto Rico. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as The Sociological ReviewBritish Journal of Criminology, Sociology Compass, Critical Sociology, Critical Criminology, Law and Policy, Latin American Perspectives, among others

Research Interests

Sociology of Law

Crime, Law and Deviance

Law and Society

Critical Criminology

Political Sociology

Law and Political Economy


Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean

Latina/o Sociology

Research Description

My research is focused on the sociolegal and criminological study of Puerto Rico and its legal and political relationship with the US. I am particularly interested in studying how the Puerto Rican case provides a better understanding of the connections between colonialism, law, emergency powers, crises, and corruption, and its social, criminological, economic and political consequences. I am also interested in the study of processes of criminalization of social, political and environmental movements, and contemporary manifestations of corporate crimes and state crimes. Currently, I am working on my book, Crisis by Design: Emergency Powers and Colonial Legality in Puerto Rico. In my book, I analyze the role of law, emergency powers, and anticorruption social movements in the current Puerto Rican multilayered political, financial, economic, and humanitarian crisis. My book asks how Puerto Ricans access a just recovery amid simultaneous crises and the continuous use and renewal of state of emergency declarations in response to these crises. In this project, I employ qualitative methodologies, such as ethnography, case studies, historical research, critical discourse analysis and policy analysis. 


Ph.D. University of Coimbra

Ph.D. University of the Basque Country 

M.A. International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati. University of the Basque Country.

B.A. University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.


Humanities Teaching Release Time. Campus Research Board. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (AY 2022-2023).

Funding Initiative for Multiracial Democracy (Scholarship Award). Campus Research Board. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. January 2022 to June 2023.

Inaugural Summer Faculty Research Fellowship. Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. May 2020 to August 2021.

Awards and Honors

2022 Illinois Student Government Teaching Excellence Award. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courses Taught

Soc 275 Criminology

Soc 310 Sociology of Deviance

Soc 378 Sociology of Law

Soc 479 Law and Society

Soc 596/Law 792 Law and Society (Graduate)


Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, College of Law (by Courtesy)

Assistant Professor, Global Studies Programs

Assistant Professor, Department of Latina/Latino Studies

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Sciences

Assistant Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory

Faculty Affiliate, Center for Global Studies

Faculty Affiliate, Center for Latin America and Caribbean Studies

Faculty Affiliate, Women and Gender in Global Perspective


Recent Publications

Atiles, Jose. 2024. “Crimes of the Powerful in Latin America and the Caribbean: Toward a Research Agenda.” Sociology Compass, 18(2), e13172. 

Atiles, Jose. 2024. “Anti-corruption legislation in Puerto Rico: A sociolegal study of the registry of persons convicted of corruption.” Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 14(1), 76-98.

Atiles, Jose. 2024. “Anticorruption Markets: Law, Public Procurement, and the Colonial Regime of Permission in Puerto Rico.” Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime. (Online first).

Atiles, Jose. 2024. “Swarm of earthquakes, #Wandalismo and anticorruption mobilizations in Puerto Rico: Latinx criminology and state crimes.” Latino Studies (Online first)

Atiles, Jose. 2023. “COVID-19 and The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program in Puerto Rico : Anti-Corruption, Fraud Prevention, and Punishment.” Critical Sociology (Online first)

Atiles, Jose. 2023. “Coloniality of Anti-corruption: Whiteness, Disasters and the US anti-corruption policies in Puerto Rico.” The Sociological Review. 71(6), 1277-1298.

Atiles, Jose. 2023. “On Colonial Exceptionality, Neoliberal Coloniality, and Legal Interruptions”. Dialogues in Human Geography. 13(1), 149-152.

Atiles, Jose. 2023. “Emergency Powers, Anti-corruption, and Policy Failure During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Puerto Rico.” Law and Policy Journal. 45(3), 253-272.

Atiles, Jose, and Rojas-Paez, Gustavo. 2022. “Coal Criminals: Crime of the Powerful, Extractivism and Historical Harms in the Global South”. The British Journal of Criminology, 62(5), 1289-1304.

Atiles, Jose. 2022. “Punitive Governance and the Criminalization of Socioenvironmental, Anti-Austerity and Anticorruption Mobilizations in Puerto Rico”. Critical Criminology, 30, 961-981.  Winner, Critical Criminology Journal Article of the Year 2023.