Elisabeth Wood

Associate Professor, Department of Politics , New York University

Contact Info:

Elisabeth Wood
Department of Politics
New York University
726 Broadway, Room 715
New York, NY 10003-9580

email: elisabeth.wood@nyu.edu

phone: (212) 998-8534
fax: (212) 995-4184



Comparative politics, including Latin America and Africa; civil war and negotiated settlements; collective action and social movements; political economy of development; democratization; methods of comparative research.


Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador, (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

"Civil Wars: What We Don't Know," Global Governance, 9(2), 2003.

"Civil War, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation: The Repopulation of Tenancingo, El Salvador," in Aldo Lauria Santiago and Leigh Binford, eds., Community, Politics, and the Nation-State in Twentieth-Century El Salvador, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003).

"An Insurgent Path to Democracy: Popular Mobilization, Economic Interests and Regime Transition in South Africa and El Salvador," Comparative Political Studies, October 2001. Translation published in Estudios Centroamericános, No. 641-2, 2002.

"Peasant Political Mobilization in El Salvador: The Contribution of Emotional In-process Benefits," in Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper and Francesca Polletta, eds., Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (University of Chicago Press, 2001).

"Civil War and the Transformation of Elite Representation in El Salvador," in Kevin Middlebrook, ed., Conservative Parties, the Right, and Democracy in Latin America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

"The Peace Accords and Post-war Reconstruction," in James Boyce, ed., Economic Policy for Building Peace (Lynne Rienner, 1996).

Published in Spanish in James Boyce, ed., Ajuste Hacia La Paz: la política económica y la reconstrucción de posguerra en El Salvador (Mexico: Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo and Plaza y Valdés Editores, 1999).

"Macroeconomic Policy and the Salvadoran Peace Accords," with Alexander Segovia, World Development 23(12): 2079-2100 (December 1995).

"Teaching Discussion Sections in the Sciences" in Learning to Teach: A Handbook for Teaching Assistants at UC Berkeley, University of California Graduate Assembly (1984).

"Line-shape Analysis and Filter Difference Method for a High Intensity Time-of-Flight Inelastic Neutron Scattering Spectrometer" with A.D. Taylor, et al., Nuclear Instruments and Methods (1983).

Works in Progress

"Distributional Settlements and Civil War Resolution: Stakes, Expectations, and Optimal Agreements," under revision for re-submission to The Journal of Conflict Resolution.

"The Logic of Insurgent Collective Action: Defiance and Agency in Rural El Salvador," under revision for re-submission to Theory and Society.

For a full list of my work, see my Vitae.


V53.0595.01: Civil Wars and Negotiated Settlements (undergraduate). In this seminar, we will investigate why some civil wars are durably resolved through negotiated settlements and why others are long resistant to the efforts of international and domestic actors to end violence through negotiation. After learning about patterns of civil war emergence and dynamics, class members will analyze scholarly arguments purporting to explain this puzzle and study several cases of civil war and settlement. The class will explore in more detail the obstacles to the negotiated resolution of the Colombian and Israeli/Palestinian conflicts. (Fall 2003)

G53.3500: Civil Wars (graduate) In this seminar we will study the mechanisms underlying the emergence of civil wars and distinct dynamics of violence in civil wars. Course readings will draw on a wide range of methodological approaches and cases. The principal requirement will be a research paper or proposal on a topic related to civil wars. (Fall 2003)

V53.0580: Collective Action: Social Movements and Revolutions (undergraduate). In this course we will analyze strikes, demonstrations, revolutions, and other forms of collective action. We will study several cases, including the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the women's movement in the US as well as revolutionary social movements in Central America, South Africa, and elsewhere. We will also consider a case of genocide as an example of collective action. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze several theoretical approaches to the understanding of social movements and revolutions, including sociological as well as rational choice approaches.

G53.1500 Comparative Politics (graduate). This course, an introduction to the study of comparative politics at the graduate level, examines the purpose and methodology of comparative inquiry. Designed to introduce students to the study of comparative politics and to assist students in developing research topics and strategies, the course surveys a range of methodological approaches and explores key themes -- the origins of political regimes, the origins and consequences of institutions, and the logic of collective action -- through the critical reading and discussion of classics of the field supplemented with contemporary readings.

G53.2533 Collective Action and Social Movements (graduate). In this course participants will assess the achievements and problems of the principal approaches to the explanation of collective action and the emergence of social movements. Discussion will also explore the relationship between theory and research methods in the literature's various approaches, including rational choice, collective identity, and structuralist approaches. Drawing on literature in political science, anthropology, economics, experimental psychology, and sociology, the course reading includes theoretical works as well as case-studies exploring the merits of these approaches in explaining collective action.

G53.2536: The Political Economy of Development (graduate). In this course we review and assess current issues and debates in the political economy of development, including the determinants of economic growth, the role of institutions in the definition of development trajectories, and the consequences of path dependency and uneven development. During the course of the semester participants will analyze a range of approaches to the understanding of development, drawing on diverse methodologies. While there are no economics prerequisites for the course, we will develop and use economic concepts as needed.

G53.2424: Politics of Economic Growth (graduate). The course is an advanced introduction to the literature, with a heavily methodological bent. It focuses on defining what we do not know and on the methods for finding out. The first part of the course is an introduction to growth economics. The second part examines the impact of intra-country inequality on growth. The last part focuses on the impact of voter preferences and of government policies.


Last edited:  March 11, 2003