Lisa Hilbink

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Political Science
1414 Soc Sci
267 19th Ave S


Lisa Hilbink received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 1999. Her research and teaching centers on the judicial role in democracy and democratization, with a particular focus on Latin America and Latin Europe. She is a two-time Fulbright grantee to Chile and Spain, and before joining the faculty at Minnesota, was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows and lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Professor Hilbink is the author of the award-winning book, Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship: Lessons from Chile (Cambridge University Press, 2007). She is also co-editor of the December 2009 symposium in Political Research Quarterly on the comparative sources of judicial empowerment, where her individual contribution on Spain and Chile entitled “The Constituted Nature of Constituents’ Interests: Historical and Ideological Factors in Judicial Empowerment“ appeared. Other recent publications include “From Quietism to Incipient Activism: The Ideological and Institutional Roots of Rights Adjudication in Chile,“ (with Javier Couso), in Helmke and Rí­os-Figueroa (eds.), Courts in Latin America (CUP, forthcoming 2010); “Assessing the New Constitutionalism,“ Comparative Politics (Jan. 2008); “Agents of Anti-Politics: Courts in Pinochet’s Chile,“ in Ginsburg and Moustafa, eds., Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (CUP, 2008); and “Politicizing Law to Liberalize Politics: Anti-Francoist Judges and Prosecutors in Spain’s Democratic Transition,“ in Halliday, Karpik, and Feeley (eds.), Fighting for Political Freedom: Comparative Studies of the Legal Complex and Political Change (Hart, 2007).

Professor Hilbink is currently working on a second book, tentatively entitled “Judging for Democracy? Sources and Consequences of Judicial Activism in Iberia and Latin America.“ She is also co-editing a book (with Ofelia Ferrán) on the political and social effects of the exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish civil war.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Political Science, University of California, San Diego, 1999.
  • M.A.: Political Science, University of California, San Diego, 1994.
  • B.A.: International Relations, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1988.


  • Comparative judicial politics
  • Comparative constitutionalism
  • Latin American and Iberian politics
  • Democratization
Courses Taught
  • POL 1908/HSEM 2030H - The Judicial Role in Democracy
  • POL 3479 - Latin American Politics and Government
  • POL 4410 - Law and (In)Justice in Latin America
  • POL 4403W: Comparative Constitutionalism
  • POL 8601 - Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POL 8660 - Law and Courts in Emerging Democracies
  • Herbert Jacob Book Prize, Law and Society Association, 2008, for Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Honorable Mention, 2008 C. Herman Pritchett Book Award, Law and Courts section of the American Political Science Association, for Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Fulbright Senior Research Grant for project, “Judging for Democracy? Spain in Comparative Perspective,“ January-May 2007, Madrid, Spain.
  • Fulbright Grant for doctoral research in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 1995-Nov. 1996.