Avital Livny

 Avital Livny

Contact Information

David Kinley Hall 311
Assistant Professor
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Additional Campus Affiliations


I was born in Rehovot, Israel and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. I received my B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in Political ScienceHistory, and Near Eastern Studies. After graduation, I worked as a Policy Assistant for Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund) before beginning my graduate studies. I received an M.Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and an M.Sc. in Comparative Politics Research from Oxford University (where I was a proud resident of St. Catherine’s College). I began my Ph.D. studies at Stanford University in the Fall of 2006, advanced to candidacy in Fall, 2008, and graduated in June, 2014. I spent AY 2014-15 as a Junior Research Fellow at the Carlos III-Juan March Institute in Madrid, Spain before beginning as an Assistant Professor at UIUC.


Research Interests

  • Middle East
  • comparative politics
  • identity politics

Research Description

My research interests generally fall under the heading of comparative politics and include: the politics of religion and ethnicity, particularly the micro-foundations of identity-based mobilization; electoral dynamics in developing democracies; and variations in interpersonal trust, across space and time. My region of interest is the Muslim World, particularly the Muslim Middle East, and I have conducted extensive research in Turkey.

I am a native speaker of Hebrew and English and have good knowledge of both Modern Turkish and Modern Standard Arabic.


In The News

  • Professor Avital Livny has been selected by the APSA Comparative Democratization Section as the winner of the 2017 Juan Linz Best Dissertation Award.

  • Congratulations to Avital Livny and Stephen Chaudoin who have been names 2017-2018 Linowes Fellows with through the Cline Center for Democracy.