Danilo Antonio Contreras

Assistant Professor of Political Science

  Research interests include the group identity, political behavior and transnationalism of Afro-Latin Americans and their descendants.

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College, where I teach courses on comparative politics, Latin American politics and social policy, Latin American studies, and democracy consolidation. Broadly, I research how racial stratification, group identity formation, and migration shape the extent to which Afro-descendants in Latin America place ethno-racial identity at the center of their electoral behavior and social policy preferences.
I am currently completing my first book project, Ethno-Nationalism Without Ethno-Racial Politics in the Dominican Republic. The book develops an argument for why ethno-nationalism, not ethno-racial identity, tends to motivate electoral politics in the DR. I draw from an original field experiment, as well as qualitative and survey research, to support my argument. Research from this project has been published in the Latin American Research Review, and it has been supported, most recently, by fellowships at Williams College and the College of the Holy Cross. During the 2023-24 year, I will be a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Workers’ Rights in Penn State’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.
I am co-editor of LAPOP's AmericasBarometer series on political culture and democracy in the Dominican Republic and a member of the Faculty Committee in the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, where I was a fellow from 2019 to 2020. I am a former president of the New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS).