Jennifer McCoy, PhD, is a political science professor at Georgia State University and nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 2019 she was a Senior Core Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. She was named a GSU Distinguished University Professor in the inaugural class of 2013 and served as inaugural director of the Global Studies Institute (2015-16). Prior to this, Dr. McCoy served as Director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program (1998-2015), leading projects on democratic strengthening, mediation and dialogue, and hemispheric cooperation. A specialist on democratization and polarization, mediation and conflict prevention, election processes and election observation, and Latin American politics, Dr. McCoy has authored or edited six books and dozens of articles. Her latest volume is Polarizing Polities: A Global Threat to Democracy, co-edited with Murat Somer (2019). She teaches courses on democratic erosion, comparative democratization, international norms, and Latin American politics.
Dr. McCoy’s current research project on Polarized Democracies seeks to determine the causes, consequences and solutions to polarized societies around the world, including Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Hungary, Greece, Bangladesh, Philippines and the United States. She coined the term “pernicious polarization” to refer to the political polarization that divides societies into mutually distrustful “Us vs. Them” camps, undermines the capacity of democracies to address critical policy problems, and often incentivizes leaders and citizens to support democratic erosion. Leading a group of international scholars and funded by NSF, International Studies Association, and Central European University, McCoy organized two international workshops whose work was published as book-length volumes of the American Behavioral Scientist (Jan 2018) and Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (January 2019).