PhD International Affairs Northeastern University

Courses Taught

  • Contemporary African Politics
  • Politics of Global Sustainable Development
  • Intro to Comparative Public Policy
  • Women and Politics in Africa
  • End of Liberal Democracy?
  • Intro to International Politics
  • Freedom of Expression and the Media

Research Interests

Rachel studies comparative judicial politics, rule of law development, gender and judging, lawyers and the state in sub-Saharan Africa.

Current projects include: gender and judging in sub-Saharan Africa; freedom of expression constitutional jurisprudence and the politics of African chief justices. 



Pathways to Judicial Power in Transitional States: Perspectives from African Courts Routledge, 2013 (Comparative analysis of judicial decision making in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda).


“Rethinking Law and State Building in sub-Saharan Africa” Law and Social Inquiry Volume 41, Issue 2, pages 471–479, Spring 2016

“Fostering Interdisciplinary Thinking through an International Development Case Study” with Diep Phan and Jennifer Esperanza, Journal of Political Science Education, 2016, Vol. 12:2

“Judicial Independence under the APRM: From Rhetoric to Reality” South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) Occasional Paper No. 212, March 2015

“Judges and Their Allies: Rethinking Judicial Autonomy through the Prism of Off-Bench Resistance” with Alexei Trochev, Journal of Law and Courts Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2014, pp.67-91

Book Chapters

“The Judiciary and Democratization in Africa” in Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa (forthcoming, 2019)

“The Pitfalls and Promises of Interviewing Judges” in Data and Methods in the Comparative Study of Legal Institutions (forthcoming) Cambridge University Press

“The Gendering of Judicial Appointment Processes in African Courts” in African Women Judges on International Courts: Unveiled Narratives. Eds. Josephine Dawuni and Akua Kuenyehia Routledge 2017

“Botswana: Delayed Indigenization and Feminization of the Judiciary” with Gretchen Bauer, in Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity? Eds. Gretchen Bauer and Josephine Dawuni. Routledge 2015

Rachel Ellett

Professor of Political Science

 Email:  Phone: 608-363-2334   Room 116, Morse-Ingersoll Hall

Rachel Ellett is Professor of Political Science at Beloit College, where she is Chair of the African Studies minor.

The author of Pathways to Judicial Power in Transitional States (Routledge, 2013) she studies comparative judicial politics, rule of law development, gender and judging, lawyers and the state in sub-Saharan Africa. She has published in Comparative Politics, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Political Science Education, among others. She holds a PhD from Northeastern University.

Ellett has consulted for Freedom House on rule of law development in southern Africa, Human Dynamics and the International Commission of Jurists. Ellett teaches courses in international and comparative politics, African studies and women and politics.

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  • Professor Rachel Ellett

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