Amy Risley | Associate Professor
Office: 115 Buckman Hall | Phone: (901) 843-3630 | Email:


Professor Risley′s CV 


I offer courses that build on my main areas of specialization, which include comparative politics, Latin American politics, and international relations. I have taught Introduction to Comparative Politics, Senior Seminar, the Department’s Latin America sequence (Politics and Government of Latin America and Contemporary Issues in Inter-American Relations), Democratization in World Politics, and Women in World Politics: Global Perspectives on Women’s Issues, Rights, and Movements, which is cross-listed with Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition, I have contributed to the Latin American Studies program since my arrival in 2005 and continue to be a strong supporter of interdisciplinary learning.  My courses tend to emphasize critical thinking and expression: students are asked to make reasoned judgments about complex social and political problems by weighing a variety of contending perspectives. Students who enroll in my classes also have the opportunity to cultivate their own interests through independent research. It is my sincerest hope that they will develop a passion for international politics that endures long after the semester has ended.


The central themes of my research are activism and democratization.  I am especially interested in the advocacy efforts of civil society groups and the implications of their political influence for democratic consolidation and quality in Latin American countries. I have therefore conducted research on organizations and movements advocating on behalf of children, the environment, greater transparency and freedom of information, and human rights in Argentina, Chile, and elsewhere. I have published several journal articles and book chapters on these and related topics (please refer to the CV included on this web page for details). In addition, I am currently preparing a book manuscript that analyzes the strategies that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other types of civic groups use to influence policy making in the region’s democracies.  My second broad area of research is gender and politics, and I have written on gender violence and the global traffic in women and girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Recently, I have begun to evaluate the international response to this crime and, in particular, the US government’s counter-trafficking policies. Due to my continued fascination with activism, I have also started to examine the political and rhetorical strategies employed by participants in the global anti-trafficking movement. I have enjoyed working with several Rhodes student research assistants on some of the projects described here.  I was awarded the J.S. Seidman Research Fellowship from 2005 to 2008 and a Creative Advance Planning (CAP) Mellon Study Leave in Spring 2010.

Beyond the Classroom

I proudly hail from Madison, WI, though I have also enjoyed living in Madrid, New York City, and Austin.  My interests include traveling within the US (especially out West) and abroad, finding good eats off the beaten path, and watching all sorts of films and documentaries. I am also a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Rhodes. Above all, I love spending time with my family.


2005, Ph.D., Government, University of Texas at Austin 
1998, M.A., Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University
1995, B.A., Political Science, International Relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1994-1995, International Study Abroad Program, Universidad Complutense, Madrid

  • International Studies 200 - INTRO TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS
  • International Studies 273 - GOVT & POLITCS OF LATN AMERICA
  • International Studies 274 - ISSUES: INTER-AMERICAN RELATNS
  • International Studies 421 - DEMOCRATIZATN IN WORLD POLITCS
  • International Studies 475 - SENIOR TUTORIAL
  • International Studies 495 - HONORS TUTORIAL

Selected Publications

“Sex Trafficking:  The ‘Other’ Crisis in Mexico?” The Latin Americanist (March 2010).

“Trafficking and the International Market in Women and Girls.” In Women and Politics Around the World: A Comparative History and Survey, ed. Joyce Gelb and Marian Lief Palley, 2009.

“Joining Forces: Civil Society Alliances and Policy Influence in Argentina and Chile.” In Interest Groups and Lobbying: Volume Three - Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, ed. Conor McGrath, 2009.

 “Putting People First:  Globalization and Human Security.”  International Studies Review (Fall 2008).
“Framing Violence: Argentina’s Gender Gap.” International Feminist Journal of Politics (December 2006). 
“The Political Potential of Civil Society:  Advocating for Freedom of Information in Argentina.” The Latin Americanist (Spring 2006).