- PhD, political science, University of California, San Diego; MA, political science, American University; BA, political science, George Washington University
- Favorite Spot on Campus
- The CRS lounge, and the Korean garden
- Favorite Place in Washington DC
- I like Open City, Politics & Prose, and Qualia. I try to go to either the Black Cat or the 930 once a month!
- LeVan focuses on comparative political institutions, democratization, and African security. His second book on Nigeria, "Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Competition in a Time of Transition and Terror" (Cambridge 2019), explains how the ruling party lost in 2015 – the first time an incumbent party had ever been defeated. He is the co-editor of three books, including most recently the Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics (Oxford 2018), a collection of 44 new essays, edited with Patrick Ukata. He has also published on the Boko Haram insurgency, power sharing in east Africa, the economic performance of coalition governments, comparative authoritarianism and property rights and migration in Nigeria. His research interests beyond Africa include the politics of constitution-making. His 2017 book “Constituents before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions,” co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi, examines all new constitutions 1974-2014. Extending the findings from their American Political Science Review article, they demonstrate that making constitutions with extensive and transparent public input has long term positive effects on the level of democracy. His current research project, “In Search of Solidarity,” examines tensions between how we acquire knowledge and the practice of democracy in contemporary America. Prior to joining academia, he worked as a legislative director in the U.S. Congress and then as an adviser to Nigeria's National Assembly. He publishes the blog, Development4security and tweets @Dev4Security. A frequent commentator on African politics, he has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Voice of America TV, BBC World Television, al Jazeera, MSNBC, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!
American Political Science Association
Midwest Political Science Association
Fulbright Alumni Association
African Studies Association
Chair, Peace & Security Section
African Politics Conference Group
Niger Delta Working Group
Institute for Policy Studies
Dr. LeVan's research interests include democratization, comparative institutions, African security, and political theory.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Co-Leader, American Political Science Association's Africa Workshop, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, 2011
- AU Curriculum Development Award for "Representation in the Developing World," 2011
- USAID in-kind grant for AU workshop on "The Consequences of Inclusive Governance," 2009
- American Political Science Association travel grant for Annual Conference, 2006
- Institute for International, Comparative and Area Studies field research grant, 2005
- Fulbright grant for dissertation research in Nigeria, 2003 – 2004 academic year
- Seymour Melman Fellowship, Institute for Policy Studies, 2001
- Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science National Honor Society, 1998
- Pi Alpha Alpha Public Affairs National Honor Society, 1998
- Secretary, Board of Directors, the Daima Project
- Member, American Political Science Association
- Member, African Studies Association
- Member, Midwest Political Science Association
- Member, International Studies Association
- Member, African Politics Conference Group
- Member, Nigerian Studies Association
- Member, Working Group and African Political Economy
- Member, Fulbright Association
- Member, National Board of Directors, Education for Peace in Iraq Center (2003 – 2004)
- Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Competition in a Time of Transition and Terror. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
- 2017. Constituents Before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation, and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions. Co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi. Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Dictators and Democracy in African Development: the Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- African State Governance: Subnational Politics and National Power. Co-edited with Joseph Olayinka Fashagba and Edward McMahon. Palgrave, 2015.
- “From Terrorism to Talakawa: Explaining Party Turnover in Nigeria’s 2015 Elections,” with Matthew T. Page and Yoonbin Ha, Review of African Political Economy, 45, no. 155 (2018): 1-16.
- “Reciprocal Retaliation and Local Linkage: Federalism as an Instrument of Opposition Organizing in Nigeria. African Affairs, 117, no. 466 (January 2018): 1-20.
- "When Talk Trumps Text: The Democratizing Effects of Deliberation during Constitution-Making, 1974–2011," with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi. American Political Science Review no. 109 (03):592-612.
- “Parallel Institutionalism and the Future of Representation in Nigeria,” Journal of Contemporary African Studies
- “’I am Here until Development Comes:’ Displacement, Demolitions, and Property Rights in Urbanizing Nigeria,” (with Josiah Olubowale) African Affairs 113, 452 (July 2014): 387-408.
- “Sectarian Rebellions in Post-Transition Nigeria Compared,” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 8, 1 (2013): 1-18.
- LeVan, A. Carl, and Assen Assenov. 2015. "Parties or Portfolio? The Economic Consequences of Africa’s Big Cabinets." Government and Opposition no. 40:1-30.
- "Power Sharing in Africa's Uncertain Democracies," in Governance: an International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, Vol. 24, No. 1, January 2011.
- "Questioning Tocqueville in Africa: Continuity and Change in Civil Society During Nigeria's Democratization," Democratization, January 2011.
Briefing chair, "African Security Policy," Subcommittee on International Operations, House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Congress (December 2008)
Area of Expertise
Nigeria, African politics, development, democratization, Boko Haram
Carl LeVan has recently published articles about the U.S. Africa Command (in Africa Today),Nigerian democratization (in the journal Democratization), and the problems presented by African power sharing agreements (in the journal Governance). Prior to academia, he worked as the legislative director to U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and served as the National Democratic Institute's country director in Nigeria. He is currently carrying out research on the economic consequences of Africa’s cabinets and is writing a book about Nigerian government performance. He is the author of Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria (2014). He publishes the blog Development4security. LeVan has appeared on the Diane Rehm Show, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour, MSNBC and BBC. His commentaries have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, and other national and international publications.