406 Thompson Hall

Office Hours:
Fall 2024: by appointment


  • BA, Dartmouth College
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania


Professor Ahmed's main area of specialization is democratic studies, with a special interest in elections, voting systems, legislative politics, party development, and voting rights. She examines these issues in historical and comparative perspective and her work combines a regional focus on Europe and the United States.  She is author of “Democracy and the Politics of Electoral System Choice: Engineering Electoral Dominance” (Cambridge University Press, 2013) which won the Best Book Award from the European Politics and Society Section of the American Political Science Association. Her new book, entitled When Democracy Divides: The Regime Question in European and American Political Development (forthcoming, Princeton University Press), examines the dynamics and long-term impact of regime contention on political development in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. She is currently working on a new book entitled Democracies in America: Understanding Conflict Democratic Attitudes, which seeks to understand regime contention in the U.S. today through ground-up investigation of public conceptions of democracy. She also has a special interest in research methods and has written about mixed-method research designs, the position of historical analysis within the social sciences, and comparative areas studies. Her work has appeared in various journals including: Comparative Political StudiesPerspectives on PoliticsDemocratizationStudies in Comparative International Development, and Journal of Politics. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of Comparative Politics, West European Politics, American Political Development, Democratization, Electoral Studies, and Research Methods.

Area of Study

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics


  • Political Science

Media & Public Engagement





* Received the Best Book Award from the European Politics and Society Section of the APSA, 2014.







  • “What Can We Learn from History?: Competing Approaches to Historical Methodology and the Weberian Alternative of Reflexive Understanding” Polity, 54(4) (October 2022). link

  • “Is the American Public Really Turning Away from Democracy? Backsliding and the Conceptual Challenges of Understanding Public Attitudes. Perspectives on Politics, July 2022 1-12. link

  • “Multi-Method Research and Democratization Studies: Intellectual Bridges Among Islands of  Specialization”Democratization, Vol 26:1 (2018) 97-139).

  • “American Political Development in the Mirror of Europe” in Comparative Area Studies:Methodological Rationales and Cross-Regional Applications, Ariel Ahram, Patrick Köllner, and Rudra Sil eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

  • “The Politics of History and the History of Economic Development" Journal of Politics (Jan 2015) 77.1

  • “Democratization Theory and the Arab Spring" with Giovanni Capoccia , Middle East law and Governance Journal (2014) 6.1: 1-31.

  • "The Existential Threat: Varieties of Socialism and the Origins of Electoral Systems in Early Democracies", Studies in Comparative International Development (June 2013) 48.2: 141-171. Download (pdf) (332.29 KB)

  • “When Multi-Method Research Subverts Methodological Pluralism: Or Why We Still Need Single Method Research” with Rudra Sil, Perspectives on Politics (December 2012)10.4: 935-953. Download (pdf) (332.29 KB)

  • "Revolutionary Blind-Spots: The Politics of Electoral System Choice in the Egyptian Transition" Middle East Law and Governance Journal. 2011. Vol. 3, No. 2.

  • “Reading History Forward: The Origins of Electoral Systems in Advanced Democracies” Comparative Political Studies Special Issue on The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies. August/September 2010 43: 1059-1088.



  • “The Utility of a Comparative Area Studies framework for Historical Analysis” Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, Vol. 18. No 1.

  • "Rethinking Backsliding: Insights from the Historical Turn in Democratization Studies". Comparative Democratization Newsletter, Fall 2104.

  • "Restoring the Voting Rights Act Will Not Do Enough to Ensure Fair Elections" Policy Brief for the Scholars Strategy Network.January 2014

  • “When Election Rules Undermine Democracy”, Policy brief for the Scholars Strategy Network, April 2013.

  • “Is Multi-Method Research Really Better?” with Rudra Sil, Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section Newsletter, Fall 2009.



  • When Democracy Divides: The Regime Question in European and American Political Development.  (Book Manuscript)

  • “Continuities of German Political Development: Party Politics and Legislative Coalitions in the Reichstag, 1867-1933” with Stephanie Chan (Article Manuscript)

  • “Crossing the Boundaries of Comparison: Comparative Area Studies and Comparative Historical Analysis” in Ariel Ahram, Patrick Köllner, and Rudra Sil eds., Comparative Area Studies Volume II  (Invited Chapter)

  • “Political Parties and Democracy” in Adam Hilton and Jessica Hejny, eds. Placing Parties in American Political Development  (Invited Chapter)

  • “Our Past, Weimar’s Present: Democracy’s Defense and the Inversion of an Historical Lesson” in Ned Lebow and Ludvig Norman eds. Why Weimar? (Invited Chapter)

  • “Framing Democracy: The Effects of Framing on Support for Contestation and Inclusion” with Stephanie Chan.(Article Manuscript)

  • “Out of this World?: The U.S. in Comparative Analysis” with Fatih Cetin. (Article Manuscript)

  • Democracy in Context: Understanding Public Attitudes about Democracy and Political Change. (Article Manuscript)

  • “The Scholar as Agent of Political Understanding: Reconciling Weber’s Vocational Lectures” (Article Manuscript)

  • Why No Public Political Science? The Epistemological Roots of Disciplinary Disengagement (Article Manuscript)

  • “Disaggregating Democracy: Contradictions and Ambiguities of Political Regimes”. (Article Manuscript)