Liz Sheridan Sperber

Assistant Professor

What I do

Professor Sperber specializes in comparative politics, with regional expertise in sub-Saharan Africa. At DU, she teaches classes on African politics, religion and politics, democratic erosion, identity and politics in a comparative perspective, and politicized ethnicity.

Professional Biography

Dr. Sperber's work has received awards at both Columbia University and Brown University and has received significant grant support. At Columbia, Sperber was also awarded a Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Fellowship through the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics. She has published in journals such as Political Behavior, Politics and Religion, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Journal of Public Health, and the International Journal of Social Policy, among others.

Dr. Sperber is the recipient, with Erin Acampo Hern, of the 2018 Ted Jelen Award for the best paper published in Politics and Religion. In 2019-20 she was awarded a Kellogg Institute Research Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame. In 2021, she was invited to serve as the Chair of the Politics and Religion Section for the Midwest Political Science Association. She will serve on the editorial board of Politics and Religion starting later in 2024.

At the University of Denver, Professor Sperber also passionately mentors undergraduate research. This includes sponsoring undergraduate summer research studies funded by PINS, obtaining external support to bring students from her Democratic Erosion course to a joint faculty and student conference at Brown University in 2018, and encouraging her students to move their research into the public realm. Indeed, five of her undergraduates (nearly all of whom are first generation students) have won prestigious awards for their research, while others have presented their research at major conferences, published in undergraduate journals, traveled abroad to conduct research, and/or won fellowships.


  • Ph.D., Political Science, Columbia University, 2016
  • M.Phil., Political Science, Columbia University, 2011
  • BA, History; Africana Studies; Literatures & Cultures in English, Brown University, 2006


For details on my research, please see