Karleen West

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Fraser 107C
ext. 5445

For more information, visit Karleen West on Academia.

Portrait of Karleen West

Research Interests

Professor West specializes in Latin American politics, with an emphasis on comparative institutions, political representation, and the politics of sustainability. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Latin American Public Opinion Project, and has been published in leading journals, including Comparative Political Studies and the Latin American Research Review . Her book Candidate Matters: An Analysis of Campaigns and Elections in Latin America , forthcoming with Oxford University Press, examines how candidate behavior constrains party strategies and the repercussions that behavior has for the representation of marginalized groups in the region.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. in Political Science, University of Iowa, August 2008

  • M.A. in Political Science, University of Iowa, May 2003

  • B.A. in Spanish and Political Science, with Honors summa cum laude , University of Arizona, May 2001


  • Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, SUNY Geneseo, 2018 - present

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, SUNY Geneseo, 2014 - 2018

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, West Virginia University, 2008 - 2014


  • Candidate Matters: An Analysis of Campaigns and Elections in Latin America. Forthcoming December 2019. Oxford University Press.

  • Who Speaks for Nature? Indigenous Movements, Public Opinion, and the Petro-State in Ecuador. With Todd Eisenstadt. Forthcoming February 2019. Oxford University Press.

  • “Coordination and Presidential Coattails: Do Legislative Parties Benefit from Presidential Coalitions?” (with Jae-Jae Spoon). 2017. Party Politics 23(5): 578-588.

  • “Indigenous Belief Systems, Science, and Resource Extraction: Climate Change Attitudes in Ecuador” (with Todd Eisenstadt). 2017. Global Environmental Politics 17(1): 40 - 58.

  • “Public Opinion, Vulnerability, and Living with Extraction on Ecuador's Oil Frontier: Where the Debate between Development and Environmentalism Gets Personal” (with Todd Eisenstadt). 2017. Comparative Politics 49(2): 231 - 251.

  • "Decentralization, the Inclusion of Ethnic Citizens, and Support for Democracy in Latin America?" 2015. Latin American Research Review 50(3): 46 - 70.

  • "Bottoms Up: How Subnational Elections Predict Parties? Decisions to Run in Presidential Elections in Europe and Latin America" (with Jae-Jae Spoon). 2015. Research & Politics Accessible here: http://rap.sagepub.com/content/2/3/2053168015602039

  • "Alone or Together? How Institutions Affect Party Entry in Presidential Elections in Europe and South America?" (with Jae-Jae Spoon). 2015. Party Politics 21(3): 393-403. DOI:10.1177/1354068812473870.

  • "Veto Players Revisited: Internal and External Factors Influencing Policy Production?" (with Hoon Lee). 2014. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39(2): 227-260.

  • "Credibility vs. Competition: The Impact of Party Size on Decisions to Enter Presidential Elections in South America and Europe?" (with Jae-Jae Spoon). 2013. Comparative Political Studies 46(4): 513-539.

  • "Programmatic or Personalistic? Pachakutik Strategies in Ecuador's 2006 Elections." 2011. The Latin Americanist 55(1): 49 ? 68.


  • PLSC 250: Women & Politics

    Sex (like class, race, ethnic identity, religion, or nationality) is treated as a fundamental factor, crucial to political analysis. Explores the politics of male-female relations in individual and social dimensions and in geographically and historically comparative perspective. Examines the political behavior of women in the context of formal, political institutions. Also analyzes the impact of male-dominated structures and culture upon women's consciousness and actions. In short, represents an aspect of the politics of inequality and the mechanisms of dominance and dependence. Offered when demand is sufficient

  • PLSC 354: Govt & Politics of Latin Amer

    This course focuses on the functioning of democratic politics in Latin America. Its main objectives are to consider: first, how government institutions interact with a variety of historic and contemporary political actors across the region; and second, how this interaction affects issues such as representation, political stability, and economic development. As such, we will investigate the role that the military, the Catholic Church, social movements, and political parties play in promoting political interests throughout Latin America, while also examining how institutional arrangements such as the presidency, legislatures, and electoral systems affect the representation of those interests. Students will have the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation of the politics of a single Latin American country in a final research paper. The prerequisite for this course is PLSC 120, or approval of course instructor. Offered once every year.