Debbie Sharnak

Debbie Sharnak

Debbie Sharnak
Assistant Professor of History, Hollybush Institute Deputy Director

Debbie Sharnak

Contact Info
856-256-4500 x 53995
Robinson Hall, 216M


Debbie Sharnak teaches courses on Latin American History, with a special interest in human rights, US-Latin American relations, sports, and the Cold War. Dr. Sharnak earned her B.A. at Vassar College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before coming to Rowan, she was a Lecturer for Harvard University’s History and Literature program, where she was awarded the Harvard Excellence Teaching Award and the Stephen Botein Teaching Prize. She has also taught at New York University, Tufts University, and Hunter College.

Dr. Sharnak’s research studies the history of human rights, transnational advocacy networks, Latin America, and foreign policy. In her most recent book, Of Light and Struggle: Social Justice, Human Rights, and Accountability in Uruguay (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), she explores the origins and evolution of human rights discourse in Uruguay, particularly during its transition back to democratic rule. The work addresses issues of transitional justice, the rise of the transnational human rights movement, and the shifting terrain of human rights in the 1970s and 1980s. The book was selected as a 2023 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine. She is also the co-editor of the book Uruguay in Transnational Perspective (Routledge, 2023).

Her new project, tentatively titled Jewish International and the Southern Cone dictatorships, explores Jewish experiences and transnational responses to the military regimes across Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile in the Late Cold War. Research for this project is supported by the NEH, Duke University, and the American Jewish Archives.

She has been published in various newspapers, online outlets, journals, and edited volumes, some of which include:

For a full list of her articles and writing, see: or

Debbie has also done work for various NGOs and non-profits including Freedom House, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the New Media Advocacy Project. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay.