#ElliottExpert: Cynthia McClintock

#EE McClintock

Cynthia McClintock specializes in Latin American politics. Her most recent book is Electoral Rules and Democracy in Latin America (Oxford University Press, 2018); it argues that runoff rules for presidential election helped build democracy in Latin America in recent years. She has carried out a great deal of research on Peru, and in 2019 won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association. Her publications on Peru include Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru (Princeton University Press, 1981) and Revolutionary Movements in Latin America: El Salvador’s FMLN and Peru’s Shining Path (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1998) as well as the co-edited volume The Peruvian Experiment Reconsidered (Princeton University Press, 1983). At GWU, she regularly teaches Latin American Politics in the fall and the International Relations of Latin America in the spring (undergraduate and graduate).

  • Program/Institute: Latin American and Hemispheric Studies
  • Area(s) of expertise: Democracy, insurgency, Peru
  • Undergrad Institution & Degree: B.A., Harvard University
  • Ph.D. Institution & Thesis: M.I.T., Peasant Cooperatives and Political Change in Peru
  • Fall 2019 Courses: Government and Politics in Latin America


When did you know you wanted a career in international affairs/academia?

After a course on the politics of developing countries taught by Samuel P. Huntington in my junior year at Harvard. 

What has been your favorite course to teach and why?

The interdisciplinary course on Peru that I co-taught for two years with GWU colleagues, one in history and the other in anthropology.  It was just wonderful to share our perspectives and insights not only with the students but with each other.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of academia?

Tennis; horseback riding.

What advice do you have for first-year students who are starting their graduate studies?

Follow their intellectual passions.

Favorite part about living in/around DC?

Attending parties at the Peruvian Embassy.

The #ElliottExpert series highlights current Elliott School professors and seeks to answer common questions posed by prospective, current, and incoming students. The views expressed by professors profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.

For more information or to submit questions, e-mail esiagrad@gwu.edu.