Htun, Mala


Mala  Htun
PhD 2000, Harvard University
Associate Professor of Political Science

Concentrations: Comparative politics; gender and politics; Latin American politics; race and ethnicity in politics.
Recent Publications:

Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family under Latin American Dictatorships and Democracies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

“Gender, Parties, and Support for Equal Rights in the Brazilian Congress,” Latin American Politics and Society (forthcoming Winter 2006). Coauthored with Tim Power.

“Gender Equality in Transition Polities: Comparative Perspectives on Cuba,” in Looking Forward: Cuba’s Democratic Transition, edited by Marifeli Pérez-Stable (Forthcoming in English from University of Notre Dame Press and in Spanish edition by Editorial Colibrí).

“What It Means to Study Gender and the State,” Politics and Gender 1, no. 1 (Fall 2005).

“Women, Political Parties and Electoral Systems in Latin America,” in Women in Parliament. Beyond Numbers. A New Edition, eds. Julie Ballington and Azza Karam (Stockholm: Internacional IDEA, 2005).

“Democracy and Political Inclusion: The Andes in Comparative Perspective,” in Nadando contra la corriente: Mujeres y cuotas políticas en los países andinos, ed. Magdalena León (Quito and Lima: UNIFEM, 2005).

“Is Gender Like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups.” Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 3 (September 2004). Winner of the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the best article in the journal.

“From Racial Democracy to Affirmative Action: Changing State Policy on Race in Brazil.” Latin American Research Review 39, no. 1 (February 2004). Abridged version also published in: NACLA Report on the Americas (January-February 2005).

“Learning from Gender Quotas,” in Social Inclusion and Economic Development in Latin America, eds. Mayra Buvinic and Jacqueline Mazza (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

“Women and Democracy,” in Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, 2nd Edition, eds. Jorge I. Domínguez and Michael Shifter (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). Also translated into Spanish.
See Mala Htun's book, Sex and the State, published by Cambridge University Press (where you can download a chapter):

Click here to see the Foreign Affairs review of Htun's book.

Click here to read “Is Gender Like Ethnicity?” winner of the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the best article published in Perspectives on Politics in 2004

Click here to read “From Racial Democracy to Affirmative Action: Changing State Policy on Race in Brazil,” published in LARR

Office Location:
Room 723, 6 East 16th Street
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5747 ext. 3085


Research Interests:
Htun's work focuses on the initiatives and responses that states take with regard to gender, race, and ethnicity. Her first book analyzed how-and whether-gender policy reform is possible in countries with hegemonic religious institutions undergoing major political changes. Through a close examination of the politics of abortion, divorce, and the family in Latin America, she theorized the gendered dimensions of transitions to democracy, religious conflict, and social activism. Her second book explains why governments offer guarantees of political inclusion—through candidate quotas in parties and reserved seats in parliament—to women, ethnic minorities, and subordinate racial groups. Her third book, written in collaboration with Laurel Weldon, will explore when and why governments promote women’s rights through a comparative analysis of the experiences of 70 countries between 1975 and 2005. Research for this project is being funded by the National Science Foundation.
Awards and Honors:

National Science Foundation award number SES-0550284, “Collaborative Research. States and Sex Equality: Why do Governments Promote Women’s Rights?” in the amount of $123,643 (2006)

Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi Ltd (2006)

Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association for the best article in Perspectives on Politics (2005)

Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Visiting Fellow, University of Notre Dame (2004)

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Bunting Fellow, Harvard University (2002-03)

Prize for the Best Dissertation on Women and Politics, Women and Politics Research Section, American Political Science Association (2000)

Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Fellowship (1997)

National Security Education Program Dissertation Fellowship (1997)

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow (1994 -1999)

< back