Morgan Head shot Jana Morgan
Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, 2017-2018
Associate Professor of Political Science

Department of Political Science
University of Tennessee
1001 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0410
Office: 865-974-7043
Fax: 865-974-7037
Office Location: 1015 McClung Tower


Van Cott Award,


Fernando Coronil Award,

Honorable Mention

Bankrupt Representation and Party System Collapse.

My 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.

Currently, 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.

The 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 and mechanisms.

My work 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.