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Melissa Martinez - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Melissa Martinez

Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Martinez is an expert on human rights, criminal organizations and post-conflict societies in Latin America.



An Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington, Melissa Martinez teaches courses on Latin America and human rights. She specializes in human rights and violent non-state actors in Latin America.

Dr. Martinez has co-authored publications in the journals Political Science Quarterly and PS: Political Science and Politics. She also received the Pi Sigma Alpha Best Paper Award from the Southwestern Political Science Association. She is currently working on a few manuscripts that examine how naming and shaming countries over violations committed by state and non-state perpetrators affect changes in human rights violations.

In addition, Dr. Martinez will be virtually presenting a paper this year called "Compliance from the Northern Triangle at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights" at the American Political Science Association. This paper examines why the states of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala comply with certain rulings from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Post-Conflict Societies in Latin America

Human Rights

Criminal Organizations

Accomplishments (8)

Peace Science Society Graduate Student Travel Grant (professional)


American Political Science Association Travel Grant (professional)


Dissertation Research Award, University of North Texas (professional)


Outstanding Teaching Assistant, University of North Texas (professional)

2016, 2018

Pi Sigma Alpha Best Paper Award, Southwestern Political Science Association (professional)


Graduate Assistantship Tuition Scholarship, University of North Texas (professional)

2014 - 2018

Raupe Travel Grant, University of North Texas (professional)

2013, 2016

Ronald E. McNair Graduate Fellowship, University of North Texas (professional)

2012 - 2014

Education (3)

University of North Texas: Ph.D., International Relations and Comparative Politics 2018

University of North Texas: M.A., Political Science 2016

St. Mary's University: B.A., International Relations 2012

Affiliations (4)

  • Latin American Studies Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • Midwest Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association

Event Appearances (7)

Compliance from the Northern Triangle in the Regional Court

American Political Science Association’s virtual meeting  2020


Human Rights Research Conference  Iowa City, IA - 2019

Interactive dialogue in the UNHRC: “Who condemns in an intergovernmental platform?”

International Studies Association Annual Convention  Toronto, Canada - 2019

How does International Pressure Affect Human Rights Charges?

International Studies Association Annual Convention  San Francisco, CA - 2018

Protests in Post-Conflict Societies

Midwest Political Science Association  Chicago, IL - 2017

Military and Police Visibility after Naming and Shaming

Peace Science Society Annual Meeting  Tempe, AZ - 2017

Social and Institutional Trust in Resource Cursed States: Data from Africa and Latin America

Southwestern Social Science Association  San Antonio, TX - 2013

Articles (4)

Difficult Commitments: Intercountry Adoption to the United States and Accession to the Hague Convention

Adoption Quarterly

Marijke Breuning, Melissa Martinez


Why have relatively few countries joined the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption? Have countries that send children to the United States been more likely to join? The United States has joined this convention and prefers sending countries to do so also. However, our findings show that countries that send children to the United States are not more likely to join than other countries. In addition, countries with large “orphan” populations are less likely to join the convention. These findings have implications for the potential of the Hague Convention to improve transparency and accountability in intercountry adoption.

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How International Is Political Science? Patterns of Submission and Publication in the American Political Science Review

Political Science and Politics

Marijke Breuning, Ayal Feinberg, Benjamin Isaak Gross, Melissa Martinez


How international in scope is publishing in political science? Previous studies have shown that the top journals primarily publish work by scholars from the United States and, to a lesser extent, other global-north countries. However, these studies used published content and could not evaluate the impact of the review process on the relative absence of international scholars in journals. This article evaluates patterns of submission and publication by US and international scholars for the American Political Science Review —one of the most selective peer-reviewed journals in the discipline. We found that scholars from the United States and other global-north countries are published approximately in proportion to submissions but that global-south scholars fare less well. We also found that scholars affiliated with prestigious universities are overrepresented, irrespective of geographic location. The article concludes with observations about the implications of these findings for efforts to internationalize the discipline.

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Clearing the Pipeline? Gender and the Review Process at the American Political Science Review

Political Science and Politics

Marijke Breuning, Benjamin Isaak Gross, Ayal Feinberg, Melissa Martinez


Is the peer-review process at academic journals gendered? The answer to this question has important implications for the advancement of women in the political science profession. However, few studies have had access to data that can evaluate whether the peer-review process is gendered. We investigate this for papers submitted to the American Political Science Review across two editorial teams to identify trends over time. We evaluate overall differences across gender, but we also present more fine-grained data to evaluate gender differences across subfield, methodology, and submitting author’s institutional affiliation and academic rank. Furthermore, we show that prior service as a reviewer is associated with a higher acceptance rate for first-time submitters. We demonstrate that the review process is not gendered. Women’s share of submissions and acceptances has risen but remains lower than their presence in the discipline.

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Do “Resource-Cursed States” Have Lower Levels of Social and Institutional Trust? Evidence from Africa and Latin America*

Social Science Quarterly

John Ishiyama, Melissa Martinez, Melda Ozsut


Objective: In this paper we examine whether individuals in states that are "resource cursed" (or those rich in oil and gas) express lower levels of trust than those in countries that are not as "cursed" with such resources. Methods: We derive a set of hypotheses linking resource endowment with social and institutional trust and use survey data from the Afrobarometer and the Americas Barometer to test our propositions. Results: Using multi-level logit analysis for 42 African and Latin American countries, and subnationally for two large oil producing countries (Nigeria and Mexico), we find that individuals in countries that are oil and gas exporters exhibit much less social and institutional trust than individuals in countries that are not oil or gas producers. However, when examining oil producing states within Nigeria and Mexico, we find that individuals in oil producing regions tend to express higher levels of individual social and institutional trust than regions that were not oil producers. Conclusion: The findings support the theoretical propositions that individuals in countries that are resource exporters that generate external rents are less likely to exhibit high levels of social or institutional trust than individuals in countries that were not oil or gas exporters between 1980 and 2008. Thus it appears that oil and gas rents are associated with lower social and institutional trust.

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