Ned Littlefield

Position title: Ph.D. Candidate: Comparative Politics


Research interests

My academic research has focused on civil-military relations, civil-police relations, crime and violence, national identity, and race in Latin America, especially Brazil. My dissertation project is titled “Theorizing the dynamics of civilian control over law enforcement militarization: A case study of the 2018 Federal Intervention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”. My policy research has focused on U.S. foreign aid to Latin America and on racial equity in Wisconsin. After completing my dissertation, I plan to further my research on civil-police relations and race in Brazil and to extend this research to Wisconsin.


Before graduate school, I taught English in Colombia, volunteered on an urban agriculture project in Nicaragua, performed business strategy research on consulting projects for Fortune 500 clients, and conducted and managed Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) research in Latin America on contracts with the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of State. During graduate school, I have worked as an M&E manager of early childhood education programs at Acelero Learning Wisconsin and a graduate fellow researching racial equity and housing at the Wisconsin Policy Forum. I have a BA from Kenyon College, an MA from Brandeis University, and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Academic publications

“Examining the Crime-Conflict Distinction: Victimization and Political System Support in Colombia”. 2023. Journal of Politics in Latin America. 1-29. w/ Maria Camila Angulo Amaya.

“After racial democracy? The state’s rhetorical reconstruction of national identity in Brazil (1990-2019)”. 2023. Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. 1-21.

“Identity, Conflict and Discourse: Understanding Military Contestation in Brazil”. 2023. Journal of Latin American Studies. 1-28. w/ Douglas Block.

“Why do populists flip-flop on soldiers? The drug war’s civil-military commitment problem”. 2023. In Handbook on Democracy and Security. Eds. Nicholas A. Seltzer and Steven Lloyd Wilson. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing. 211-230. w/ Omar O. Dumdum and Oliver Lang.

“Continuidade ou mudança? As relações civis-militares após a Intervenção Federal no Rio de Janeiro”. 2021. Revista Eletrônica de Ciência Política 12(1): 29-48. w/ Verônica Fenocchio Azzi.

Policy publications

“Hitting Home: Milwaukee’s homeownership inequities and how we compare to peer cities”. 2022. Wisconsin Policy Forum. w/ Joe Peterangelo.

“Indicators to Measure the Sustainability of Agricultural Cooperatives: Research and Recommendations”. 2016. SSG Advisors, LLC for U.S. Agency for International Development. Unnamed author.

“Evaluation of Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) Programs”. 2016. SSG Advisors, LLC for U.S. Department of State. w/ Kristen Sample. Not publicly available.


While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I have received generous support from the following entities: Brazilian Studies Association; Bridging the Gap Project; U.S. Departments of Education and State; UW-Madison Department of Political Science; UW-Madison Graduate School; and UW-Madison Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program. I am participating in UW-Madison’s UniverCity Alliance Scholars Program during the Fall 2023 semester.