Gretchen Helmke is Associate Professor and Chair (on leave 2013-2014) of Political Science at the University of Rochester. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2000. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, a Harvard Academy Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International and Area Studies at Harvard University, and a Visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Professor Helmke's research focuses on comparative political institutions, democratization, law and courts, and Latin American politics. Her first book, Courts Under Constraints: Judges, Generals, and Presidents in Argentina (Cambridge University Press 2005) examines court-executive relations under dictatorship and democracy. Her second book (co-edited with Steven Levitsky) Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America (Johns Hopkins University Press 2006) explores how informal institutions shape the quality and stability of democracy in Latin America. Her third book (co-edited with Julio Ríos-Figueroa), Courts in Latin America, seeks to explain the widespread variation in the performance of Latin America's constitutional courts. Her articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Comparative Politics, Desarollo Económico, Electoral Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Annual Review of Political Science, American Journal of Political Science, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.
She is currently working on a book-length project, Institutions on the Edge: The Origins and Consequences of Institutional Instability in Latin America (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press), and the Comparative Law Project. Professor Helmke is on the editorial board for the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Theoretical Politics. She teaches courses on democracy, Latin American politics, judicial politics, comparative political institutions, and parties and elections.
331 Harkness Hall
Department of Political Science
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627
tel: (585) 275-5236
fax: (585) 271-1616