Discussing Nigeria on the PBS NewsHour
School of International Service
LeVan focuses on comparative political institutions, democratization, and African security. His book,"Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria" (Cambridge University Press, 2015) explains two categories of public policy performance over fifty years, challenging conventional explanations that blame ethnicity, oil, foreign debt, and other factors. African Studies Quarterly calls it a "seminal book." His co-authored essay with with SPA Professor Todd Eisenstadt and PhD student Tofigh Maboudi appears in the August 2015 issue of the American Political Science Review, the oldest and most influential political science journal. They find that citizen participation in constitution-making has long term positive effects on the level of democracy.
He has also published influential critiques of power sharing in Africa and on the Department of Defense's U.S. Africa Command. His 2011 essay "Questioning Tocqueville in Africa" won the Frank Cass Prize for Best Article by a Young Scholar from Routledge/Taylor & Francis Publishing. Other recent research examines the economic consequences of coalition governments in Africa, and property rights and migration in Abuja, Nigeria.
A collection of essays published in 2015 (with Joseph Fashagba and Edward McMahon) examines state-level legislative politics in Africa.
Prior to joining academia, he worked for U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and then as the National Democratic Institute's country director in Nigeria. He publishes the blog, Development4security and tweets @Dev4Security.
A frequent commentator on African politics, he has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Voice of America TV, BBC World Television, al Jazeera, MSNBC, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! and other shows.
PhD, political science, University of California, San Diego; MA, political science, American University; BA, political science, George Washington University
- Favorite Spot on Campus
- The CRS lounge, and the Korean garden
- Favorite Place in Washington DC
- I like Open City, Politics & Prose, and Qualia. I try to go to either the Black Cat or the 930 once a month!
Download Resume (PDF)