Kristina Mani

  • Professor of Politics
  • Chair of Politics


  • BS, Georgetown University, 1991
  • MA, Columbia University, 1996
  • PhD, Columbia University, 2004


Professor of Politics Kristina Mani’s research focuses on the relationships between domestic political change and regional security in Latin America.

Questions that interest me especially include how the processes of democratization and democratic consolidation impact elite political learning and historical memory of conflict and cooperation.

My book, Democratization and Military Transformation in Argentina and Chile: Rethinking Rivalry (Lynne Rienner 2011), explored these dynamics in terms of changes to military thinking and behavior that reshaped security relations in the Southern Cone. That project relied on dozens of individual interviews and documentary sources, and established my interest in interpreting the power shifts and narrative reframing that result from challenges to historically influential elites like the armed forces.

Currently my research centers on how Latin American militaries have been influential actors in their national economies, in a variety of different ways that often have deep historical and strategic roots, as well as important implications for military autonomy and professionalism. That work studies several countries from across the region, including cases from Central and South America.

My scholarly articles have been published in journals including Armed Forces and Society, Bulletin of Latin American Research, and Latin American Politics and Society.

While I am not a policy analyst, I feel strongly that my work as a social scientist should provide insights for policy makers, both official and non-governmental. I have consulted and produced papers for think tanks and nonprofit organizations including Transparency International, Providing for Peacekeeping, RESDAL, and the Christian Michelsen Institute.

At Oberlin, I teach courses in international relations and Latin American politics. Along with core courses in those areas, I teach topical courses on transnational justice and transnational actors. I have also chaired Oberlin’s programs in Latin American Studies and International Studies. Since 2020, I have mentored talented high school students from around the world on undergraduate-level research projects in international politics, through Oberlin’s partnership with Pioneer Academics.

  • “Honduras: All-Purpose Militarization,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, edited by William R. Thompson. Oxford University Press, 2021.
  • “Toward a Citizen Soldier Paradigm? Assessing Three Decades of Civil-Military Relations in Argentina,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 9:1 (2017), 83-111.
  • “The Armed Forces and the Economy in Latin America:  Contemporary Trends and Implications for Civil-Military Relations,” CMI Working Paper 2016:08.  Christian Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway, November 2016.
  • “Political Learning through a Transgovernmental Network:  Resolving the Argentine-Chilean Border Dispute during the 1990s,” in American Crossings: Border Politics in the Western Hemisphere, edited by Maiah Jaskoski, Arturo C. Sotomayor, and Harold A. Trinkunas. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.
  • “Diverse Markets for Force in Latin America: from Argentina to Guatemala,” in The Markets for Force:  Privatization and Security Across World Regions, edited by Molly Dunigan and Ulrich Petersohn. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

Spring 2024

Politics of Transitional Justice — POLT 244
Seminar: Pirates, Priests and Protestors: Non-state Actors in International Politics — POLT 328

Fall 2024

Latin American Politics — POLT 210


Kristina Mani featured in podcast

August 25, 2020

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani was featured in a WOLA Podcast on Latin American civil-military relations. In the podcast, "Civil-Military Relations at a Crossroads in the Americas," Mani is interviewed by WOLA's Adam Isacson, discussing how Latin American militaries have been called to a range of non-defense roles, most recently in the COVID-19 emergency, and what this can mean for state and society in the region.

Kristina Mani Publishes Article about the Use of Military on Civil Protests

June 9, 2020

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani wrote a piece in the Conversation about how U.S. should pay attention to what happens when strong democracies use the military to repress civil protests. In it, Mani states that lessons from Uruguay, Venezuela, and Chile are worth recalling now.

Kristina Mani Writes for World Politics Review

April 23, 2020

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani wrote in World Politics Review that Latin America's militarized response to the COVID-19 crisis will likely expand the political influence of the military and bring new challenges to the protection of human rights.

Kristina Mani Interviewed about Gender Equality

March 9, 2020

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani was one of seven women scholars interviewed in a piece about gender equality in the field of International Relations.

Kristina Mani Interviewed

January 14, 2020

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani was interviewed by E-International Relations, the leading open access website for students and scholars of international politics. In the interview, she talks about her research on Latin American militaries, their influence on national economic and political developments, and transnational issues facing the region.

Kristina Mani Invited as Panelist

February 10, 2019

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani was an invited panelist in Bogotá, Colombia, at a conference on security sector reform for Colombia sponsored by the Universidad del Rosario and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. She spoke about choices and lessons learned by other South American countries in reforming their military and defense institutions. The conference was directed at generating broader public debate over transformations in defense and security practices as Colombia pursues a historic peace agreement to end its long internal war. Government and military officials, academics and civil society organizations attended.

Kristina Mani Interviewed for BloombergView

November 29, 2017

Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani was interviewed for BloombergView about the 2017 elections in Chile.