Van Cott Award,
Fernando Coronil Award,
research considers issues of inequality, exclusion and representation.
I am particularly interested in exploring how economic, social and
political inequalities affect marginalized groups and undermine democratic processes and outcomes.
I am working on a project analyzing the increasingly prevalent
phenomenon of political systems that follow basic democratic rules and
procedures but simultaneously fail to challenge entrenched economic and
social hierarchies. My work assesses how the incongruities between
democratic ideals and lived reality within these sorts of exclusionary
democracies shape the way that citizens engage with and perceive agents
of representation, the state, and democracy itself. I am interested in
understanding how different ethnoracial, regional, and gendered
patterns of representation and exclusion may distort state-society
interactions, particularly for the most marginalized.
project examines these dynamics in Latin America, where the presence
and persistence of exclusion is significant but has also varied
significantly across space and time. Additional comparisons to the
United State allow for exploration of similar dynamics stemming from
ongoing racial marginalization in an older, presumably more stable
democracy. The analysis draws upon household-level income and
demographic surveys, public opinion data, macro-level indicators of
political representation and exclusion, as well as more than 90
interviews with state actors and members of marginalized groups
conducted during six months of field work in Peru along with shorter
trips to other countries in the region. The evidence suggests that the
political and economic exclusion of historically marginalized groups
undermines support for democratic norms, egalitarian policies and
agents of representation both across the population at large and
especially among the most disadvantaged groups.
In a second collaborative project, I am
exploring how the relative power of competing interests in the U.S.
system influences the congressional agenda and shapes the policy process. We employ text analysis of the Congressional Record together
with other indicators of the congressional agenda to explore the
linkages between campaign finance, political rhetoric and
the persistence of inequality in the United States. In-depth policy
case studies facilitate more detailed assessment of causal processes
has been supported by funding from a variety of sources including the
Russell Sage Foundation, the Pew Foundation and the Fulbright-Hays
program. In addition to my book, which has been honored with both the
Van Cott Award and the Fernando Coronil Award, I have published
numerous journal articles
in outlets such as American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, Latin American Research Review, Latin American Politics and Society and Politics & Gender.
Recently a book chapter with Magda Hinojosa on the lack of substantive
representation for women in Latin American political parties received
the Leon Weaver Best Paper Award.
See my research
and papers pages for more details.
In addition, I co-direct the AmericasBarometer
survey in the Dominican Republic, and I have spoken to audiences of
experts and policymakers concerning the challenges of representation
and marginalization in Latin America.
I have taught courses
on comparative politics, political parties and party systems, the
politics of marginalization, the politics of the developing
world, Latin American politics, and research methods. My teaching interests also include democracy
and democratization, comparative public opinion, and gender and politics.
I hold a
PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill and a BA in Political Science and Modern Foreign
Languages from Wheaton College.