Jocelyn Viterna is Associate Professor of Sociology. Her areas of interest include social movements, development, civil society, democratization, comparative politics, and gender. Her region of emphasis is Latin America.
Viterna received a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Kansas State University (1995), and an M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2003) in Sociology from Indiana University-Bloomington. Prior to joining the Harvard Sociology department in 2007, she was an assistant professor in Sociology and Latin American Studies at Tulane University (2003-2007).
Viterna’s research explores the evolving relationship between the state and civil society in countries undergoing political transitions. Her four current projects investigate (1) the gendered causes and consequences of guerrilla participation in El Salvador in the 1980s, (2) variations in states’ genders with democratic transitions, (3) the role of NGOs in both hampering and enhancing grassroots political participation in new democracies, and (4) the consequences of the rise of the Left for women’s rights in Latin America. In each project, Viterna begins with the premise that gender is a central locus for contesting and defining new political processes during periods of state transition. She then explores how the strategic and gendered actions taken by men, women, and organizations during these transitional moments may affect the formation of new state structures, and create new gendered identities, interests and opportunities for citizens.Her first book manuscript, Women in War: The Micro-processes of Mobilization in El Salvador, is under contract at Oxford University Press.