Lisa Hilbink

Photo of Lisa Hilbink

Contact Me

Political Science .
1373 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 published an expanded version of that book in Spanish with FLACSO-Mexico in 2014. Hilbink is also co-editor of and contributor to an inter-disciplinary volume (with Ofelia Ferrán) entitled Legacies of Mass Violence in Contemporary Spain, as well as co-editor of the December 2009 symposium in Political Research Quarterly on the comparative sources of judicial empowerment, both of which feature her comparative contributions on Spain and Chile. Professor Hilbink is currently finishing a book on Judges for Democracy organizations in Latin Europe and Latin America.

Professor Hilbink is also part of the Graduate Faculty in Human Rights, and, since 2017, has been leading a research project, funded by the University of Minnesota's Human Rights Initiative and Human Rights Lab, on access to justice in Latin America.

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.

Curriculum Vitae


  • 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
  • Courts and Rule of Law in Developing Countries: Hilbink, Lisa, Matthew C. Ingram, Oxford University Press, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, 2019.
  • “The State and Law: A Critical Assessment.” Co-authored with Janice Gallagher. In Rachel Sieder, Karina Ansolabehere, and Tatiana Alfonso Sierra, eds., Handbook of Law and Society in Latin America (Routledge, 2019).
  • “When You Wish upon a Star: Baltasar Garzón and the Frustration of Legal Accountability for Franco-era Crimes.” In Ofelia Ferrán and Lisa Hilbink, eds., Legacies of Violence in Contemporary Spain: Exhuming the Past, Understanding the Present. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • “Reforming Judiciaries in Emerging Democracies.” In Eva Bellin and Heidi Lane, eds., Building Rule of Law in the Arab World. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2016.
  • Jueces y Política en Democracia y Dictadura: Lecciones desde Chile. México, D.F.: FLACSO-México, 2014.
  • “The Origins of Positive Judicial Independence.” World Politics 64:4 (October 2012): 587-621.
  • “From Quietism to Incipient Activism: The Ideological and Institutional Roots of Rights Adjudication in Chile,“ with Javier Couso. In Gretchen Helmke and Julio Rí­os-Figueroa, eds., Courts in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2010).
  • “The Constituted Nature of Constituents’ Interests: Historical and Ideological Factors in Judicial Empowerment.“Political Research Quarterly 62:4 (December 2009):781-797.
  • “Comparative Sources of Judicial Empowerment: Ideas and Interests,“ with Patricia Woods, Political Research Quarterly 62:4 (December 2009):745-752.
  • “Agents of Anti-Politics: Courts in Pinochet´s Chile.“ In Tom Ginsburg and Tamir Moustafa, eds., Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • “Assessing the New Constitutionalism.“Comparative Politics 40:2 (January 2008): 227-245.
  • “Politicizing Law to Liberalize Politics: Anti-Francoist Judges and Prosecutors in Spain’s Democratic Transition.“ In Terence Halliday, Lucien Karpik, and Malcolm Feeley (eds.), Fighting for Political Freedom: Comparative Studies of the Legal Complex and Political Change. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2007.
  • Judges beyond Politics in Democracy and Dictatorship: Lessons from Chile. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • 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.