UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Angelica Bernal

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Thompson 334
Office Hours: Spring 2015: On leave
Phone: (413) 545-2761


I specialize on issues of founding and refounding, popular constitutionalism, and indigenous rights and movements in Latin America.  I am interested in examining the mechanisms and challenges involved in the creation and recreation of political orders, the significance of constitution-making and the law in processes of extraordinary politics, and the role of popular power and "the people" in legitimating radical political change.

Ph.D., Yale University B.A., Wellesley College

Courses Taught:
Undergraduate: Power; Indigenous Rights and Social Movements in Latin America; American Political Thought; Issues in Political Theory (Citizenship) Graduate: Arendt; Foundings; Citizenship

Current Projects:
I recently completed a book manuscript entitled Beyond Origins that examines the politics of foundings and foundation-building to articulate an alternate conception more fitting for an age of democracy. Following on this work, I am pursuing two new projects. The first focuses on indigenous protests and resistance against natural resource extraction proposals by states in Latin America, focusing on the cases of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. I am interested in examining both empirically the challenges and constraints faced by protestors, as well as theoretically the challenges to state sovereignty they articulate through alternate philosophies of nature and economic development. The second project examines the role of populist presidents in constitution-making episodes in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, focusing on the relation between populist politics and constitutionalism in advancing revolutionary change.

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