Winner of the
2012 Van Cott Award for
joined the Department of Political Science in Fall 2005 after
completing my PhD (2005) and M.A. (2001) in Political Science from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I received a B.A. in
Political Science and Modern Languages (Spanish) from Wheaton College in 1998.
research focuses on comparative democratization with an emphasis on issues
of representation, participation and (in)equality. My book, Bankrupt Representation and Party
System Collapse (2011, Penn State), explains the
disruptive phenomenon of party system collapse. I demonstrate that linkage failure, stemming from core
threats and constraints on adaptation, caused collapse in Venezuela as well as
Bolivia, Colombia and Italy. I contrast these instances of collapse with
similarly threatened systems that managed to survive in Argentina,
Belgium, India, and Uruguay. This research has been supported by a Fulbright-Hays
Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant, the Pew Foundation, the University of North
the University of Tennessee, and the
University of Florida.
I am building on my interest in political representation through a line of
inquiry that examines how structures of economic inequality and poverty
shape patterns of representation in Latin America. I am particularly
concerned with detailing the racial, ethnic, gender, sectoral, and
regional dynamics at play within overall levels of inequality and
assessing the extent to which these social patterns are translated into
the political process either through party system structures and
strategies or through other avenues for political voice.
also conduct research concerning gender (in)equality, voting, public opinion and democracy, and religion and Latinos in the U.S. I have conducted field
research in Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Argentina and studied in
Mexico. My research has been accepted for publication in
various journals including the
Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Latin American Research Review, Politics and Gender,
and Latin American Politics and Society. See my research
and papers pages for more information.
have taught undergraduate and graduate
courses on the politics of the developing world and Latin American politics
well as graduate courses on parties and party systems, comparative
politics, and methods. My teaching interests also include democracy
and democratization, comparative public opinion, gender and politics, and research design.