Diana Dávila Gordillo

Assistant Professor

Lake Forest College

I am an (incoming) Assistant Professor of Politics at Lake Forest College. Before joining Lake Forest college I was a Lecturer in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. I received a PhD in Political Science from the same Institute on July 1, 2021. My research focuses on political parties’ survival, parties’ mobilization strategies, and the mechanisms that foster changes in ethnic identities. My dissertation, “Surviving against all odds: Pachakutik’s electoral support, mobilization strategies, and goal achievement between 1996 and 2019”, proposes a theory of party survival that focuses on parties with low levels of electoral support and scarce resources. To illustrate my argument, I use the case of Pachakutik, an indigenous party from Ecuador. I completed over 11 months of fieldwork in Ecuador, where I conducted elite interviews and archival work. I specialize in teaching qualitative methods at the master level and small seminars on political parties and democracy with a regional focus in Latin America at the bachelor level. My work is entirely bilingual: I research, write, and teach in English and Spanish.

Before joining Leiden University, I served at the Ecuadorian Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. as Second Secretary Alternate Representative of Ecuador. I joined the Permanent Mission in July 2012. My work there concentrated on the negotiation of Inter-American Human rights conventions.


  • Political parties’ survival
  • Political parties’ mobilization strategies
  • Electoral behaviour
  • Ethnic parties / Ethnic identities
  • Qualitative methods


  • PhD in Political Science, 2021

    Leiden University

  • MSc in Political Science (cum laude), 2015

    Leiden University

  • BSc in Sociology with a minor in Political Science, 2011

    Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador



Archival Work





Peer reviewed articles

Abad, A., Aldaz, R., Davila Gordillo, D., Vallejo Vera, S. (2022). “Un deja-vu no esperado: la política ecuatoriana en 2021.” Revista De Ciencia Política. doi

Abad, A., Aldaz, R., Davila Gordillo, D., Vallejo Vera, S. (2021). “Believe in me: Parties’ Strategies During a Pandemic.” Journal of Politics in Latin America 13(3), 419-441. doi

Book Chapters

Davila Gordillo, D., & Wylie, K., (2021). Party leadership and institutionalization in Latin America. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press. doi

Davila Gordillo D. & Ragazzi F. (2017). The Radicalisation Awareness Network: Producing the EU counter-radicalisation discourse In: Carrera S., Mitsilegas V. (Eds.) Constitutionalising the Security Union Effectiveness, Rule of Law and Rights in Countering Terrorism and Crime. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). 54-63. PDF

Under review

Semi-supervised machine-learning models to detect covert and overt racism in large corpora (with Sebastián Vallejo Vera and Joan C. Timoneda)

Working Papers

The surprising new votes for Pachakutik in 2021: the indigenous voters, and segmented mobilization strategies. Paper manuscript

Who votes for Pachakutik? Ethnic voting in Ecuador. Paper manuscript.

The Ecuadorian paradox of recognition: the fragmentation of the indígena category. Paper manuscript with Frank de Zwart.

Polarization and Party-System Populism: the Case of Ecuador. Paper manuscript with Angélica Abad, Raúl Aldaz, and Sebastián Vallejo.

“Covert racism in Ecuador”. Paper manuscript with Sebastián Vallejo and Joan Timoneda

Women voting for women? Ecuadorian women voting preferences. Paper manuscript with Sebastián Vallejo

Non-peer reviewed publications

Davila Gordillo, D. (2021). Elecciones presidenciales en el Ecuador: flashback al pasado y un futuro incierto . In Voz y Voto.

Abad, A., Aldaz, R., Davila Gordillo, D., Vallejo, S., (2021). Ecuador: cómo diferenciarse cuando compites con 16 candidatos . Agenda Pública


Research Projects

Principal investigator, project: “Attitudes towards Venezuelan migrants among the Ecuadorian youth: Challenging the criminalization of immigrants”. Project funded by the EGAP LATAM Regional Hub Small Grants Fund

Data Projects

Data on Ecuadorian political parties for The Political Party Database country coordinator with Sebastian Vallejo Vera

Ecuadorian Electoral Data: 2021 Election with Sebastian Vallejo Vera

Geo-Party-Links Ecuador 2021 with Angelica Abad, Raul Aldaz, and with Sebastian Vallejo Vera. Data on mobilization strategies used by parties and candidadres during the 2021 national election in Ecuador (forthcoming).


Master Seminars

2021 - 2022

Lecturer: Qualitative Research Methods (x2)

2020 - 2021

Lecturer: Qualitative Research Methods (x4)

2019 - 2020

Lecturer: Qualitative Research Methods (x2)

Bachelor Seminars

2021 - 2022

Lecturer: Bachelor Project Seminar: Democracy in Latin America

Lecturer: Introduction to Comparative Politics (x2)

2020 - 2021

Lecturer: Bachelor Project Seminar: Democracy in Latin America

2019 - 2020

Lecturer: Party Politics in Latin America

2018 - 2019

Lecturer (x3) Academic Skills: Introduction to Political Science


Lecturer (x4) Academic Skills: Critical Review

Lecturer (x3) Academic Skills: Book Review


Lecturer (x3): Workgroups of International Security

Lecturer (x3): Workgroups of Comparative Analysis of Political Systems


Human Rights in the Inter-American System

As Second Secretary Alternate Representative of Ecuador to the Organization of American States (OAS) I was assigned as principal negotiator of Inter American Conventions of Human Rights and as one of the Ecuadorian representatives at the Committee of Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) of the OAS Permanent Council.

I was involved in the final negotiations of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance A-68, and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance A-69 which were negotiated at the same time. Both Conventions were adopted and open for signature at the 2013 OAS General Assembly in Antigua Guatemala. Ecuador signed both conventions during the General Assembly.

I was also part of the the negotiations of the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons which was adopted in 2015 during the OAS General Assembly in Washington D.C., USA. Ecuador ratified the Convention in March 2019.