Areas of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 118
On Leave/Away
Spring ’25

Heather Sullivan’s research focuses on the way that state capacity shapes political outcomes. A central concern of her work is the role that subnational variations in state capacity play in protest politics. She explores this theme in a series of articles that draw on an original dataset of protest and response in Mexico, and has published on protest violence, repression, symbolic protest management, and concessions. She also has an active project that explores the determinants of financial inclusion in Latin America. This project focuses on the role state capacity and partisanship play in influencing levels of financial access. Apart from her research on Latin America, she also published a pedagogy article on undergraduate research methods. Sullivan is currently serving as a Good Authority Fellow, allowing her to use her expertise in political science to provide in-depth analysis of the news for a public audience.

Recent Courses Taught

Comparative Politics
Politics in Latin America
Latin America in the World
Violence, Justice and the State in Latin America
Social Movements and Political Protest
Senior Seminar: States and Citizens

Selected Publications

“When Elites Concede: State Capacity and the Management of Protest in Mexico.” Democratization (2024)
“The Symbolic Management of Protest: Conceptualization, Typology, and Patterns in Mexican Protest.” Global Studies Quarterly (2023)
“Subnational State Capacity and the Repression of Protest: Evidence from Mexico.” Political Research Quarterly (2021)
“Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones: Protest Violence and the State.” Journal of Conflict Resolution (2019)

College Service

Latin American Studies Committee
Global Education Advisory Committee
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., Elon University

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