Lucan Way

Co-Director, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine
Distinguished Professor of Democracy, Department of Political Science

Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place 
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3K7 Canada

Headshot of Lucan Ahmad Way


Main bio

Lucan Way (PhD University of California, Berkeley) is the Distinguished Professor of Democracy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on global patterns of democracy and dictatorship.  His most recent book (with Steven Levitsky), Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism (Princeton University Press, 2022) provides a comparative historical explanation for the extraordinary durability of autocracies (China, Cuba, USSR) born of violent social revolution. The book was one of TIME magazine’s 33 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2022 and the recipient of the Juan Linz Best Book Prize in the Comparative Study of Democracy & Autocracy.  Way’s solo-authored book, Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics (Johns Hopkins, 2015), examines the sources of political competition in the former Soviet Union.  He argues that pluralism in the developing world often emerges out of authoritarian weakness: governments are too fragmented and states too weak to monopolize political control.  His first book, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Steven Levitsky), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Way’s work on competitive authoritarianism has been cited thousands of times and helped stimulate new and wide-ranging research into the dynamics of hybrid democratic-authoritarian rule. Professor Way is now under contract with Princeton University Press to write a book (with Levitsky) on the resilience of pluralism in an age of backsliding.  

Way also has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Journal of Democracy, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Slavic Review, Studies in Comparative and International Development, World Politics, as well as in a number of area studies journals and edited volumes. His 2005 article in World Politics was awarded the Best Article Award in the “Comparative Democratization” section of the American Political Science Association. He is Co-Director of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine and is Co-Chair of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Democracy. He has held fellowships at Harvard University (Harvard Academy and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies), and the University of Notre Dame (Kellogg Fellowship).