Sharon Werning Rivera, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Government
Sharon Werning Rivera (Ph.D., University of Michigan) specializes in the post-communist countries of Eurasia with a particular emphasis on Russia. Her research and teaching interests are in the field of comparative politics with particular emphases on democratization, elite political culture, the transformation of elites in post-communist settings, and the diffusion of ideas. Rivera's articles have appeared in such journals as Perspectives on Politics, Political Studies, Party Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Europe-Asia Studies, as well as in edited collections. In 2012-13 she was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to the Russian Federation. In 2014, she taught in the Political Linguistics Summer School at the Higher School of Economics in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
In 2016, she directed the 2016 Hamilton College Levitt Poll. Titled “The Russian Elite 2016,” the survey is based on 243 interviews with Moscow-based foreign policy elites. It is the seventh wave in an existing series of interviews that is currently deposited with the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Rivera, the Principal Investigator, fielded the survey with Co-Principal Investigators William Zimmerman, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Emeritus Research Professor, Center for Political Studies, at the University of Michigan, and Eduard Ponarin, Director of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research and Professor of Sociology at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg. She is currently using the survey data to write a series of articles on the foreign policy attitudes of Russian elites.
In 2017 Rivera was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to support her project, “Russian Elite Attitudes toward Conflict and the West.” She also received a Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Notable Year Achievement in 2017.
Her other two larger research projects focus on two main questions: 1) what is the relative balance between structure and agency in explaining democratization in the post-communist region? and 2) how valid are widespread claims that the elite sector in Russia during the Putin era has become dominated by individuals from the military and security services?
She has also published pedagogical articles on the use of active learning strategies in the classroom. The simulation she developed for her introductory comparative politics course at Hamilton College was published as an on-line text by Congressional Quarterly Press.
She teaches the following courses:
- Gov 112W: Comparative Politics
- Gov 213: Politics in Russia
- Gov 311W: Transitions to Democracy
- Gov 329W: Authoritarian Politics
- Gov 333: Topics in Survey Research
- Gov 549: Honors Seminar
- Gov 550: Senior Project
- Russian Studies 100: Introduction to Russia
Professor Rivera was a Mellon-Sawyer Post-Doctoral Fellow in Democratization at Cornell University and holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Her publications include:
Articles and Book Chapters in English
- "The Militarization of the Russian Elite under Putin: What We Know, What We Think We Know (but Don’t), and What We Need to Know,” Problems of Post-Communism, forthcoming. With David W. Rivera.
- “Governing Nizhny Novgorod: Boris Nemtsov as a Regional Leader,” in Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk, eds., Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance (Germany: ibidem Press, 2018). With Vladimir Gel’man.
- "Is Russia Too Unique To Learn From Abroad? Elite Attitudes Toward Foreign Borrowing and the West, 1993-2012,” Sravnitel’naya politika 7, No. 1 (2016): 31-39.
- "Nemtsov and Democracy in Nizhny Novgorod," Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 24, No. 1 (Winter 2016): 36-38.
- “Is Russia a Militocracy? Conceptual Issues and Extant Findings Regarding Elite Militarization,” Post-Soviet Affairs, 30, No. 1 (2014): 27-40. With David W. Rivera. The supplementary appendix to the article can be accessed here.
- "Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective," Perspectives on Politics 7. No. 3 (September 2009): 591-610. With David W. Rivera. (copyright Cambridge University Press)
- "Engaging Students as Paraprofessionals through Simulations," Journal of Political Science Education 4, No. 3 (July 2008): 298-316. With Janet Simons.
- "The Russian Elite under Putin: Militocratic or Bourgeois?" Post-Soviet Affairs 22, No. 2 (April-June 2006): 125-144. With David W. Rivera.
- "Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia," in David Rochefort, ed., Quantitative Methods in Practice: Readings from PS (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006). With Polina Kozyreva and Eduard Sarovskii. Updated version of article in PS: Political Science and Politics.
- "Out of the Ivory Tower: Integrating Service-Learning into Russian Studies," AAASS NewsNet 46, No. 2 (March 2006): 15-19.
- "Elites and the Diffusion of Foreign Models in Russia," Political Studies 52, No. 1 (March 2004): 43-62.
- "Interviewing Political Elites: Lessons from Russia," PS: Political Science and Politics 35, No. 4 (December 2002): 683-88. With Polina Kozyreva and Eduard Sarovskii.
- "Elites in Post-Communist Russia: A Changing of the Guard?" Europe-Asia Studies 52, No. 3 (2000): 413-432.
- "Historical Cleavages or Transition Mode? Influences on the Emerging Party Systems in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia," Party Politics 2, No. 2 (1996): 177-208.
- "The Second Russian Revolution," in Daniel Diller, ed., Russia and the Independent States (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1993).
- "Reforming the Soviet System," in Daniel Diller, ed., The Soviet Union, 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1990).
- Elections in West Europa, Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009. On-line simulation for comparative politics courses.
Occasional Papers and Blog Posts
- “Ability, Virtue, and Donald Trump: What Alexander Hamilton Would Say about the 2016 Election,” Medium.org, November 16, 2016. With David W. Rivera.
- “Russian Elites Are More Militaristic and Anti-American Than They’ve Been in Years,” The Monkey Cage (blog), The Washington Post, July 22, 2016. With James Bryan ’16, Emma Raynor ’18, and Hunter Sobczak ’17.
- The Russian Elite 2016: Perspectives on Foreign and Domestic Policy, May 11, 2016. With James Bryan ‘16, Brisa Camacho-Lovell ‘16, Carlos Fineman ‘17, Nora Klemmer ‘17, and Emma Raynor ‘18.
Articles and Book Chapters in Russian
- “Tsel’ bakalavriata i magistratury v SShA: kratkoe vvedenie” [The Purposes of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in the U.S.: A Brief Introduction], in N. V. Makshantseva, E. P. Savrutskaya, and L.A. L’vov, eds., Rol’ lingvisticheskogo vuza v integratsii mezhdunarodnogo obrazovaniya: vektory i strategii razvitiya [The Role of the Linguistics University in the Integration of International Education: Avenues and Strategies for Development] (Nizhnii Novgorod: FGBOU VPO “NGLU,” 2014). With David W. Rivera.
- “El’tsin, Putin i prezidentskaya vlast’” [Yeltsin, Putin, and Presidential Power], Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 3 (2012): 19-29. With David W. Rivera.
- “El’tsin, Putin, i Klinton: prezidentskoe liderstvo i rossiiskaya demokratiya v sravnitel’noi perspektive” [Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective], Mir i politika [The World and Politics] 9, No. 48 (September 2010): 35-52. With David W. Rivera.
- “K bolee tochnym otsenkam transformatsii v Rossiiskoi elite” [Towards a More Accurate Assessment of the Transformation of the Russian Elite] (with David W. Rivera), Politicheskie issledovaniya [Political Research], No. 5 (2009): 149-157.
- "Unikal'nyi put' Rossii? Obzor politicheskikh elit" ["A Unique Path for Russia? A Survey of Political Elites"], A. D. Shutov, ed., Uchyenye zapiski 2006 (Moscow: Nauchnaya kniga, 2006), pp. 46-59. Publication of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- "Tendentsii formirovaniya sostava post-kommunisticheskoi elity v Rossii: reputatsionnyi analiz" [Trends in the Formation of Russia's Post Communist Elite: A Reputational Analysis], Politicheskie issledovaniya, No. 6 (1995): 61-66. Errata published in "Popravka," Politicheskie issledovaniya, [Political Research] No. 3 (1996): 156-157.
- "Tendentsii formirovaniya sostava post-kommunisticheskoi elity v Rossii: reputatsionnyi analiz" [Trends in the Formation of Russia's Post Communist Elite: A Reputational Analysis], in I. I. Petrov, ed., Novaya elita v Rossii [New Elites in Russia] (Moscow, 1995).
Last updated: April 2017
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Office Hours Thurs 10:15-12:15