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Prof David J Samuels

Political Science Room 1466 SocSci 267 19th Ave S

Department Affiliations


David Samuels is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Political Science. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1998. His research and teaching interests include Brazilian and Latin American politics, US-Latin American relations, and democratization.

Professor Samuels currently serves as co-editor of Comparative Political Studies. His most recent book, Inequality and Democratization: An Elite-Competition Approach (with Ben Ansell) (Cambridge University Press, 2014), won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Foundation award for "best book on politics, government, or international affairs," as well as the William H. Riker best book prize from the Political Economy Section of the American Political Science Association. He is also the author of Presidents, Parties, and Prime Ministers (with Matthew Shugart) (Cambridge University Press, 2010), Ambition, Federalism, and Legislative Politics in Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and the co-editor of Decentralization and Democracy in Latin America (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). His introductory undergraduate comparative politics textbook, Comparative Politics and country-casebook Case Studies in Comparative Politics, are available from Pearson Higher Education.

Professor Samuels has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and the British Journal of Political Science, among others. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation (in 1996 and 1999) and the McKnight Foundation (in 2001), and was awarded Fulbright Fellowships in 2004 and 2013.


  • Democratization
  • Brazilian politics
  • Latin American politics
  • Political parties and elections
  • US-Latin American Relations

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of California, San Diego, 1998.
  • B.A.: Political Science, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, 1989.



  • Distinguished McKnight University Professor
  • McKnight Land Grant Professorship
  • Fulbright Fellowship
  • Fulbright Distinguished Chair, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Courses Taught

  • Pol 1054 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Pol 4410 - US-Latin American Relations
  • Pol 8601 - Comparative Politics Core
  • Pol 8632 - The Politics of Democratization
  • Pol 8643 - Parties and Party Systems
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