Daniel M. Brinks

Daniel M. Brinks

  • Professor

Faculty Profile: Daniel M. Brinks

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Daniel Brinks is Professor of Government and of Law. He is the Chair of the Government Department, and is active in the fields of Comparative Politics and Public Law. He is a Senior Researcher & Global Scholar of the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, a joint project of the University of Bergen and Christian Michelsen Institute, in Bergen, Norway.

Prof. Brinks was born and raised in Argentina and practiced law in the United States for nearly ten years before turning to academia.

 His research focuses on the role of the law and courts in supporting or extending human rights and many of the basic rights associated with democracy, with a primary regional interest in Latin America. His recent book, written with Abby Blass, The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America: Politics, Governance and Judicial Design, examines constitutional change in Latin America since 1975, focusing especially on judicial institutions and constitutional review. The book was awarded the C. Herman Pritchett Award for Best Book on Law and Courts in 2018, by the Law and Courts Section of the APSA. 

Other recent books, in collaboration with Steve Levitsky and Vicky Murillo, seek to understand what we mean by, and the political origins of, weak institutions in Latin America. Understanding Institutional Weakness: Power and Design in Latin American Institutions, and The Politics of Institutional Weakness in Latin America, both with Cambridge University Press, come out of that project. A Ford Foundation-funded project on human rights and socio-economic inequality, in collaboration with Karen Engle, Julia Dehm, and Kate Taylor, led to an edited collection entitled Power, Participation and Private Regulatory Initiatives: Human Rights under Supply Chain Capitalism, from University of Pennsylvania Press. And a collaboration with Sandra Botero and Ezequiel González Ocantos produced The Limits of Judicialization: From Progress to Backlash in Latin America.

He is also working on an NSF-funded project to build convergent research communities around crucial questions in the global study of legal institutions, in collaboration with Jeff Staton and Rachel Cichowski. And he collaborates with researchers affiliated with the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Norway, on a series of projects related to the realization of rights. 

His major projects over the years have addressed the use of courts and law to enforce social and economic rights in the developing world, the development of the rule of law in Latin America, the judicial response to police violence in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, judicial independence, and the role of informal norms in the legal order. He is also interested in the study of democracy more generally, and has written on the classification of regimes in Latin America, and on the global diffusion of democracy.

Courses taught: He teaches courses in Comparative Politics, Comparative Judicial Politics, Comparative Law, Democracy and Democratization, and Latin American Politics.