Michael Lee Conniff (born 1942) since 2002 has been Director of Global Studies and Professor of History at San Jose State University, California. He has a longstanding interest in the study of populism in Latin America; his country focus has been on Brazil and Panama.
As a young man of 20 Michael joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Guayaquil, Ecuador as a volunteer for urban community development. He continued with community development as USAID Advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development in Panama (1966-1967).
Michael, with his strong Portuguese and Spanish language skills, went on to take Latin American Studies at University of California, Berkeley where he succeeded in gaining his Bachelor of Arts (1968), followed the next year with his Master of Arts at Stanford (1969).
He moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after the birth of his son Michael and briefly became a consultant for social science and urban programs at the Ford Foundation (1973-1974), and the Assistant Professor at Pontifical Catholic University (1974-1975).
In the mid-1970s Michael left with his family for Albuquerque where he took up the offer as Lecturer II in history (1975-1976) at the University of New Mexico and worked on his Doctor of Philosophy in Latin American History (1976, Stanford). Here he quickly became Assistant Professor (1976-1981) and began work on his first publication "Urban Politics in Brazil: The Rise of Populism, 1925-1945" which was published the year he was made Associate Professor (1981-1986), he also edited an contributed to "Latin American Populism in Comparative Perspective" (1982). Shortly after publish "Black Labor on a White Canal: Panama, 1904-1981" (1985) he gained the position as full Professor and worked with Frank D. McCann editing and contributing to "Modern Brazil: Elites and Masses in Comparative Perspective" which was published in 1989.
During 1990 Michael was the offered a post as Professor in Alabama at Auburn University where he spent the next seven years and published "Panama and the United States: the Forced Alliance" (1992, revised 2001) and "Africans in the Americas: A History of the Black Diaspora" (with Thomas J. Davis, 1994, reprinted 2003).
From 1997 he became Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Professor of History at the University of South Florida (1997-2002) and also founder and co-director for the Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance in Tampa (1998-2000). During this time he worked with Lawrence Clayton to produce "A History of Modern Latin America" (1999, revised 2005), and edited and contributed to "Populism in Latin America" (1999).
- Urban Politics in Brazil: The Rise of Populism, 1925-1945. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981
- Latin American Populism in Comparative Perspective. Editor and contributor. University of New Mexico Press, 1982
- Black Labor on a White Canal: Panama, 1904-1981. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985.
- Modern Brazil: Elites and Masses in Comparative Perspective. With Frank D. McCann, editors and contributors. University of Nebraska Press, 1989.
- A History of Modern Latin America. Co-author with Lawrence Clayton. Ft. Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999.
- Populism in Latin America. Editor and contributor. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1999
- Michael Conniff, accessed 5 Feb 2010
- William H. Beezley, Judith Ewell (1987), The Human tradition in Latin America: the twentieth century, Rowman & Littlefield, 1987, p141