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. My courses 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.

As an advocate for interdisciplinary programs and learning on campus, I am actively involved in the Latin American Studies Program. I have directed the Program since Fall 2013. I also teach Introduction to Latin American Studies, the internship course, and Senior Seminar.


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 Uruguay. I have published several journal articles and book chapters on these and related topics. My second broad area of research is gender and politics, and I have written on gender violence and sex trafficking. I have also investigated the international response to this crime and, in particular, the US government’s counter-trafficking policies. 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, a Creative Advance Planning (CAP) Mellon Study Leave in Spring 2010, an American Political Science Association (APSA) Small Grant in 2012-2013, and a Faculty Development Endowment Grant in Summer 2012. 

Beyond the Classroom

I am a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Rhodes. I proudly hail from Madison, WI but have also enjoyed living in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Madrid, New York City, and Austin. My interests include traveling, listening to music, and watching films and documentaries. 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 330 - WOMEN IN WORLD POLITICS 
  • International Studies 421 - DEMOCRATIZATN IN WORLD POLITCS
  • International Studies 485 - SENIOR TUTORIAL
  • Latin American Studies 200 - INTRO TO LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
  • Latin American Studies 485 - SENIOR TUTORIAL

Selected Publications


“America Will Not Tolerate Slave Traders: Anti-Trafficking Policies and US Power.” Forthcoming in Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green: Environmental Advocacy and Policy Making in Chile.” Society & Natural Resources (April 2014).

“Human Rights in Argentina.” In Contention in Context: New Opportunities in Social Movement Research, ed. Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper, 2012.

“The Power of Persuasion: Issue Framing and Advocacy in Argentina.” Journal of Latin American Studies (November 2011).

“From ‘Perverse’ to ‘Progressive’?: Advocating for the Rights and Well-Being of Argentina’s Children.” International Journal of Children’s Rights (Vol. 19, 2011).

“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).