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Carl LeVan Professor SIS - Pol Govern Econ

Send email to Carl LeVan
SIS - School of International Service
SIS - 343
You can find my office hours at
Additional Positions at AU
Faculty President, SIS
Placement officer, SIS PhD program
Comparative and Regional Studies (chair, 2020-22)
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
The Black Cat, the 930 Club, Moreland's Tavern, and the Warf
LeVan focuses on comparative political institutions, democratization, and African security. His second book on Nigeria, "Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Competition in a Time of Transition and Terror" (Cambridge 2019), explains how the ruling party lost in 2015 – the first time an incumbent party had ever been defeated. He is the co-editor of three books, including most recently the Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics (Oxford 2018), a collection of 44 new essays, edited with Patrick Ukata. He has also published on the Boko Haram insurgency, power sharing in east Africa, the economic performance of coalition governments, comparative authoritarianism and property rights in Abuja, Nigeria.

His research interests beyond Africa include the politics of constitution-making. His 2017 book “Constituents before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions,” co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi, examines all new constitutions 1974-2014. His current research project examines problems of democratic politics in "post-truth" America.

Prior to joining academia, he worked as a legislative director in the U.S. Congress and then as an adviser to Nigeria's National Assembly. 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!
See Also
Professor LeVan's blog and website
Prof. Carl's Facebook page
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2023

  • CORE-105 Complex Problems Seminar: Post-Truth America

  • SIS-676 Sel Topics in Cross-Natl Study: State and Society in Africa

  • SIS-899 Doctoral Dissertation

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Dr. LeVan's research interests include democratization, comparative institutions, African security, and political theory.

Selected Publications


  • Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Competition in a Time of Transition and Terror. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • 2017. Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions. Co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • Dictators and Democracy in African Development: the Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • African State Governance: Subnational Politics and National Power. Co-edited with Joseph Olayinka Fashagba and Edward McMahon. Palgrave, 2015.

Select Articles

  • “From Terrorism to Talakawa: Explaining Party Turnover in Nigeria’s 2015 Elections,” with Matthew T. Page and Yoonbin Ha, Review of African Political Economy, 45, no. 155 (2018): 1-16.
  • “Reciprocal Retaliation and Local Linkage: Federalism as an Instrument of Opposition Organizing in Nigeria. African Affairs, 117, no. 466 (January 2018): 1-20.
  • "When Talk Trumps Text: The Democratizing Effects of Deliberation during Constitution-Making, 1974–2011," with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi. American Political Science Review no. 109 (03):592-612.
  • “Parallel Institutionalism and the Future of Representation in Nigeria,” Journal of Contemporary African Studies
  • “’I am Here until Development Comes:’ Displacement, Demolitions, and Property Rights in Urbanizing Nigeria,” (with Josiah Olubowale) African Affairs 113, 452 (July 2014): 387-408.
  • “Sectarian Rebellions in Post-Transition Nigeria Compared,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 8, 1 (2013): 1-18.
  • LeVan, A. Carl, and Assen Assenov. 2015. "Parties or Portfolio? The Economic Consequences of Africa’s Big Cabinets." Government and Opposition no. 40:1-30.
  • "Power Sharing in Africa's Uncertain Democracies," in Governance: an International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2011.   
  • "Questioning Tocqueville in Africa: Continuity and Change in Civil Society During Nigeria's Democratization," Democratization, January 2011.   

Executive Experience

  • Secretary, Board of Directors, the Daima Project
  • Member, American Political Science Association
  • Member, African Studies Association
  • Member, Midwest Political Science Association
  • Member, International Studies Association
  • Member, African Politics Conference Group
  • Member, Nigerian Studies Association
  • Member, Working Group and African Political Economy
  • Member, Fulbright Association
  • Member, National Board of Directors, Education for Peace in Iraq Center (2003 – 2004)

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Co-Leader, American Political Science Association's Africa Workshop, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, 2011
  • AU Curriculum Development Award for "Representation in the Developing World," 2011  
  • USAID in-kind grant for AU workshop on "The Consequences of Inclusive Governance," 2009  
  • American Political Science Association travel grant for Annual Conference, 2006   
  • Institute for International, Comparative and Area Studies field research grant, 2005   
  • Fulbright grant for dissertation research in Nigeria, 2003 – 2004 academic year   
  • Seymour Melman Fellowship, Institute for Policy Studies, 2001   
  • Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science National Honor Society, 1998   
  • Pi Alpha Alpha Public Affairs National Honor Society, 1998


Congressional Testimony

  • Briefing chair, "African Security Policy," Subcommittee on International Operations, House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Congress (December 2008)

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Nigeria, African politics, development, democratization, Boko Haram

Additional Information

Carl LeVan has recently published articles about the U.S. Africa Command (in Africa Today),Nigerian democratization (in the journal Democratization), and the problems presented by African power sharing agreements (in the journal Governance).  Prior to academia, he worked as the legislative director to U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and served as the National Democratic Institute's country director in Nigeria. He is currently carrying out research on the economic consequences of Africa’s cabinets and is writing a book about Nigerian government performance.  He is the author of Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria (2014). He publishes the blog Development4security.   LeVan has appeared on the Diane Rehm Show, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour, MSNBC and BBC. His commentaries have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, and other national and international publications. 

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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