I have had many research interests over the years.

I am currently working on a SSHRC-funded project that compares the high courts (constitutional/supreme) of four countries: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. By analyzing some landmark decisions, the project looks at the relationship between institutional design and the penetrability of arguments and ideas regarding the expansion/contraction of rights that have travelled across Latin America during processes of democratization.

SSHRC LogoMichelle Dion of McMaster University and I have also explored public opinion formation in Latin America as it relates to the use of social media to access news, the role of intra-group social contact and religiosity in the development of democratic values, and the impact of policy framing on attitudes toward sexual and reproductive rights. We have recently started to publish some of these results in journals.

Another area of research has been the politics of gay and lesbian rights in Latin America. Also funded by SSHRC, I completed a project in 2015 – which took 7 years to research and involved some 250 personal interviews – that looked at cross-national variance in the expansion of gay marriage rights in Argentina, Chile and Mexico. The results were published by Cambridge University Press in 2015 and translated and published in Spanish in 2018 by the Fondo de Cultura Económica.

A fourth area is on public policy making in Latin America. Susan Franceschet (University of Calgary) and I completed a project, also funded by SSHRC, on an effort to study policymaking in Latin America in a more systematic way. Specifically, we looked at the extent to which concepts and theories designed to study public policy in the Global North are applicable to the study of policymaking in Latin America given its historical, cultural and political realities. The results of this project, which assembles the work of senior and junior scholars from across North and Latin America, as well as Europe, were published by The University of Toronto Press in 2012.

I have also written on the relationship between globalization and environmental degradation in developing countries. In collaboration with the late Professor O.P. Dwivedi, I have assembled an edited collection on the effects of growing economic and social integration on the natural environments of eleven countries of the Global South. This study was published by Broadview Press (now under The University of Toronto Press).

As international relations were shaken by 9/11, I became interested in regional security relations and civil-military relations and wrote about these issues with particular attention to the elusive ‘North American security perimeter.’ Some of these arguments were presented in a book I edited, with contributions from North American scholars, and the results were published by Queen’s-McGill University Press in 2006.

Early in my career I was interested in environmental politics. During my doctoral training, I carried out research on the process of environmental policymaking in Mexico, with a particular focus on forestry policy implementation in the Lacandone rainforest in the south-eastern state of Chiapas. The results of this work were published by Routledge Press, also in 2006.

Please see the Publications Section for a list of all this work.