Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Political Science
Competition: Latin America & Caribbean
Catalina Smulovitz has been a Professor of Political Science at the University Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires since 1993, and chair of that department since 2004; she has also been a CONICET researcher since 1992.
After earning her undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of Salvador in 1980, she came to the United States, where she earned her M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1991) from the Pennsylvania State University. However, after completing her Ph.D. coursework in 1984, she returned to Argentina, where she became a researcher for the Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES) (1985-93) and took up an appointment at the University of Buenos Aires, first as a professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (1985-90) and then in the Faculty of Social Sciences (1987-88).
Even before receiving her Ph.D., Ms. Smulovitz had published over a half dozen articles in prominent periodicals and, with Liliana De Riz, contributed chapters to Instituciones y Cambio Político en la Argentina (Ed. Legasa, 1991), edited by Ms. De Riz and Dieter Nohlen. She has come to be considered one of the world’s leading political scientists, especially in the areas of social accountability, a concept originated by her and Enrique Peruzzotti, and judicial mobilization. During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, she furthered her research on the latter concept, studying legal mobilization in Argentina.
Among her publications that she considers most significant are “Guarding the Guardians in Argentina. Some Lessons about the Risks and Benefits of Empowering the Courts,” in Transitional Justice and the Rule of Law in New Democracies, ed. James McAdams (U of Notre Dame Press, 1997), which she wrote with Carlos Acuña; “Citizen Insecurity and Fear: Public and Private Responses in the Case of Argentina,” in Crime and Violence in Latin America: Citizen Security, Democracy, and the State, ed. Hugo Fruhling et al. (Johns Hopkins UP, 2003); “Societal and Horizontal Controls. Two Cases about a Fruitful Relationship,” in Accountability, Democratic Governance, and Political Institutions in Latin America, ed. Scott Mainwaring and Christopher Welna (Oxford UP, 2003), which she wrote with Mr. Peruzzotti; “How Can the Rule of Law Rule? Cost Imposition through Decentralized Mechanisms,” in Democracy and the Rule of Law, ed. Adam Przeworski and José Maria Maravall (Cambridge UP, 2003); “Petitioning and Creating Rights. Judicialization in Argentina,” in The Judicalization of Politics in Latin America, ed. Rachel Sieder et al. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); and Enforcing the Rule of Law. Citizens and the Media in Latin America (Pittsburgh UP, 2006), which she and Mr. Peruzzotti edited.