Frances Lee

Professor of Politics and Public Affairs
Co-Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP)
Office Phone
208 Fisher Hall

Frances E. Lee is jointly appointed in the Department of Politics and the School of Public and International Affairs where she is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs. She is co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP).

Lee has broad interests in American politics, with a special focus on congressional politics, national policymaking, party politics, and representation. She is author of Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign (2016) and Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate(2009). She is also coauthor of Sizing Up The Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation (1999) and a textbook, Congress and Its Members (Sage / CQ Press). Her research has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and other outlets.

Lee is editor of the Cambridge Elements Series in American Politics and a series editor for the Chicago Studies in American Politics. She was co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly from 2014 to 2019. She is also co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of the American Congress (2011). Along with Nolan McCarty, she co-chaired the Institutions Working Group for the Social Science Research Council’s Anxieties of Democracy Program and co-edited an associated volume, Can America Govern Itself? (Cambridge University Press 2019).

Lee is the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Richard F. Fenno prize for the best book in legislative studies and a two-time recipient of the D.B. Hardeman Prize presented by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation for the best book on the U.S. Congress from the fields of biography, history, journalism, and political science. In 2002-2003, she worked on Capitol Hill as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

To watch an interview with Lee about her book Beyond Ideology on C-SPAN's Book TV, click here.

To watch Ezra Klein's interview with Lee about presidential leadership of Congress on, click here