Leah Gilbert

Leah E. Gilbert

Associate Professor of Political Science and Department Chair

John R. Howard Hall 329, MSC: 12
Office Hours:

In-person Monday 9:30-10:30, Zoom Thursday 4:00-5:30, or by appointment

Leah Gilbert is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Lewis & Clark College. Her research and teaching interests include civil society, democratization, authoritarianism, post-communist politics (with an emphasis on Russia), and European politics (with an emphasis on Germany). She speaks German and Russian and has conducted intensive fieldwork in both languages.

Gilbert, along with Payam Mohseni, is the author of an article that introduces a new conceptual map and taxonomy for hybrid regimes published by Studies in Comparative International Development (September 2011). She has also published several articles about the legal regulation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in nondemocratic regimes. This research includes the development of a unique system of measurement of legal regulatory barriers for NGOs. These measures are available for download at: https://payammohseni.com/papers/.

In addition, Gilbert has published multiple articles on the development and impact of civil society on democracy in Russia and Europe. Currently her research explores the use of protest within the contemporary environmental movement in Germany to spur greater action to address climate change.


Comparative Politics

Academic Credentials

PhD, Political Science, Georgetown University (2012)

BA, Political Science and German, St. Olaf College (2002)


Fall 2023:

POLS 102: Intro to Comparative Politics

MWF 11:30AM - 12:30PM

Introduction to the central questions in comparative politics. Fundamental differences in the organization of states, democratic political institutions (presidentialism versus parliamentarianism, for example), and domestic social forces (for example, social capital, ethnic versus nonethnic identities). The impact of political organization on economic performance and social peace.
Prerequisites: None.

POLS 250: Transitions to Democracy
MWF 1:50PM - 02:50PM

Why do some countries transition to democratic forms of rule while others do not? We will investigate this question by examining not only the rise of democracy, but also the origins and persistence of authoritarianism. While the course will consider historical processes of democratization and authoritarianism, emphasis will be placed on developments in the past 30 years. This course will draw on country examples from multiple world regions to illuminate why some autocrats have fallen and others have not - even in the current “age of democratization.”
Prerequisites: POLS 102 or permission of instructor.


Leah Gilbert. 2020. “Regulating Society after the Color Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of NGO Laws in Belarus, Russia, and Armenia.” Demokratizatsiya 28, no. 2: 305-332.

Leah Gilbert and Payam Mohseni. 2020. “NGO Laws After the Colour Revolutions and the Arab Spring: Nondemocratic Regime Strategies in Eastern Europe and the Middle East” Mediterranean Politics, 25: 182-214.

Leah Gilbert and Payam Mohseni. 2018. “Disabling Dissent:  The Colour Revolutions, Autocratic Linkages, and Civil Society Regulations in Hybrid Regimes.” Contemporary Politics 24, no. 4: 454-480.

Leah Gilbert. 2016. “Crowding Out Civil Society:  State Management of Social Organizations in Putin’s Russia.” Europe-Asia Studies 68, no. 9: 1553-1578.

Leah Gilbert and Payam Mohseni. 2011. “Beyond Authoritarianism:  The Conceptualization of Hybrid Regimes.” Studies in Comparative International Development 46, no 3: 270-297.

Leah Gilbert and Harley Balzer. 2012. “Civil Society in Russia” in Routledge Handbook of Russian Politics and Society, edited by Graeme Gill and James Young, 464-374. New York: Routledge.

Leah Gilbert. 2010. “Civil Society and Social Capital in Russia” in International Encyclopedia of Civil Society, edited by Helmut K. Anheier and Stefan Toepler, New York: Springer.

Leah Gilbert. 2009. “The Dark Sides of Social Capital: Organized Crime in Russia” in The Paradox of Social Capital: Fueling Conflict and Building Peace through Trust and Networks, edited by Michaelene Cox. 57-74. New York: Routledge.  

Marc Morjé Howard and Leah Gilbert. 2008. “A Cross-National Comparison of the Internal Effects of Participation in Voluntary Organizations.” Political Studies 56, no. 1: 12-32