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Professor, Politics, Governance and Economics, American University School of International Service

LeVan focuses on comparative political institutions, democratization, and African security. His second book on Nigeria, "Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Competition in a Time of Transition and Terror" (Cambridge 2019), explains how the ruling party lost in 2015 – the first time an incumbent party had ever been defeated. He is the co-editor of three books, including most recently the Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics (Oxford 2018), a collection of 44 new essays, edited with Patrick Ukata. He has also published on the Boko Haram insurgency, power sharing in east Africa, the economic performance of coalition governments, comparative authoritarianism and property rights in Abuja, Nigeria.

His research interests beyond Africa include the politics of constitution-making. His 2017 book “Constituents before Assembly: Participation, Deliberation and Representation in the Crafting of New Constitutions,” co-authored with Todd Eisenstadt and Tofigh Maboudi, examines all new constitutions 1974-2014. His current research project examines problems of democratic politics in "post-truth" America.

Prior to joining academia, he worked as a legislative director in the U.S. Congress and then as an adviser to Nigeria's National Assembly. He publishes the blog, Development4security and tweets @Dev4Security. A frequent commentator on African politics, he has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Voice of America TV, BBC World Television, al Jazeera, MSNBC, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!


  • –present
    Professor of Political Science, American University