Ernesto Verdeja earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in political science (political theory) from the New School for Social Research in New York City. His research has focused on large-scale political violence (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity), transitional justice, forgiveness and reconciliation, and trials, truth commissions, apologies, and reparations. Other interests include contemporary political theory, particularly democratic and critical theory, the Frankfurt School, and feminism. Verdeja was appointed director of undergraduate studies at the Kroc Institute in August 2013.

Verdeja is the author of Unchopping a Tree: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Political Violence (Temple University Press, 2009). His work has been published in Constellations, Perspectives on Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, The Review of Politics, The European Journal of Political Theory, Res Publica, Metaphilosophy, Genocide Studies and Prevention, and Contemporary Politics.

Verdeja is co-editor of two short books: one on transitional justice and the other on civil society in Cuba, and co-editor of volumes on peacebuilding and social movements, the field of genocide studies, and the international politics of genocide. He is currently working on a book project on comparative genocide. Verdeja also co-directs a project mapping state security force structures around the world.

Verdeja’s dissertation won the Hannah Arendt Award in Politics from the New School for Social Research for best dissertation in political science and was nominated for the American Political Science Association’s Leo Strauss Award in Political Theory.

Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, Verdeja taught at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he received the Carol A. Baker '81 Memorial Prize for excellence in research and teaching in the social sciences, and the Caleb T. Winchester Scholar-Teacher Award from Psi Upsilon (Wesleyan chapter). He also has worked on human rights at the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First).

Verdeja is a faculty fellow at the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and a core faculty member of the Center for the Study of Social Movements and Social Change, all at Notre Dame. He a board member of the Institute for the Study of Genocide and serves on the Advisory Board of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, a worldwide scholarly association devoted to the study of genocide.