Welcome!  I am the Kenneth J. Reckford Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I grew up in Latin America, in Peru, Mexico and pre-revolutionary Cuba.  I received my B.A. from Clark University, and my M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University.  Before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1988, I taught at Vanderbilt University.

My research and teaching interests focus on the comparative politics of Latin America, especially with relation to questions of democratization, political institutions, and state-society relations.

I am the author of The Politics of Coalition Rule in Colombia (Cambridge University Press, 1988; La política del régimen de coalición:  La experiencia del Frente Nacional en Colombia, 1993); and of The Struggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic (UNC Press, 1998; La lucha por la democracia en la República Dominicana, 2008).  I am the co-author (with Manuel Antonio Garretón, Marcelo Cavarozzi, Peter Cleaves and Gary Gereffi) of Latin America in the Twenty First Century: Toward a New Socio-Political Matrix (North-South Center and Lynne Rienner Press, 2003; América Latina en el siglo XXI:  Hacia una nueva matriz sociopolítica, 2004; América Latina no século XXI: em direção a uma nova matriz sociopolítica, 2007).

I have co-edited three books:  Latin American Political Economy (with Samuel Morley), 1986; The United States and Latin American in the 1990s:  Beyond the Cold War (with Lars Schoultz and Augusto Varas), 1992; and Democracy in Developing Countries: Latin America, 2nd edition (with Larry Diamond and Juan Linz), 1999. A co-edited book, La matriz sociopolítica en América Latina: Análisis comparativo de Argentina, Brasil, Chile, México y Perú (with Marcelo Cavarozzi, Peter Cleaves and Manuel Antonio Garretón), is forthcoming in late 2022.

I have authored or co-authored journal articles on issues that include democratic transitions, gender and politics, migration and political parties, public opinion and institutional trust, elections and electoral governance, constitutionalism, and comparative political party systems.  They have appeared in América Latina Hoy, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, Journal of Democracy, International Political Science Review, Latin American Politics & Society, Latin American Research Review, Politics & Gender, Research and Politics, Party Politics, and elsewhere

And, I have contributed chapters to numerous edited books, including “Democracy in Latin America Since 1930” with Arturo Valenzuela in Cambridge History of Latin America , Vol. VI, Part II (Leslie Bethell, ed., 1994; Spanish publication, 1997) and “Observer paradoxes: How to assess electoral manipulation” with Jennifer McCoy in Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Competition (Andreas Schedler, ed., 2006).

I was on the first Executive Committee of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Ciencia Política (ALACIP, 2004-08), and was elected for a term as Chair of the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association (2005-07), and for a term as a member of the Executive Council of the Latin American Studies Association (2007-10).

I received a Johnston Award for Teaching Excellence from UNC in 2010 and a Robson Award for Excellence in Graduate Instruction from UNC’s Department of Political Science in 2022.  I have chaired numerous undergraduate honors thesis projects, as well 22 PhD dissertation committees (serving on another 40), and 32 MA thesis committees (serving on another 22). Former students live and work all over the United States, as well as in Argentina, Chile, Great Britain, Spain and elsewhere.

I was the Senior Associate Dean for Social Sciences and Global Programs in UNC’s College of Arts & Sciences from 2009 to 2017.  Previously, I served at UNC as Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies (now the Institute for the Study of the Americas).

My current research includes collaborative projects on the dynamics of executive approval (see, political parties in Latin America in comparative perspective (see, and constitutionalism in Latin America.  This research informs my undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Links above will take you to information regarding publications, conference papers, databases, and a copy of my recent c.v.

View the Biography from the Department of Political Science