Karen Lynn Bird
Professor, Political Science

I'm a Professor of Political Science, specializing in comparative politics. I work on questions related to political representation, electoral systems, and the ethnic and gender diversity of candidates and elected members of parliament. One of my research projects investigates the implementation of ethnic quotas in elections and parliaments. Another project looks at the way candidates communicate their identities and how voters respond. My research focuses on Canada and selected countries around the world.

My publications on these topics appears in leading scholarly journals including Canadian Journal of Political Science; Politics, Groups and Identities; Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics; Representation; International Political Science Review, as well as numerous edited volumes. I am co-editor, with Thomas Saalfeld and Andreas Wüst, of The Political Representation of Immigrants and Minorities: Voters, Parties and Parliaments in Liberal Democracies (Routledge 2011).

In addition to my scholarly research, I am engaged in several public-facing and policy-related activities. Most recently, I served as a Commissioner on the 2022-23 Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario. In 2016, I was a Visiting Fellow on the Electoral Integrity Project, which produces innovative and policy-relevant research comparing elections worldwide. I have also held visiting fellowships at the Institute d'Etudes Politique Grenoble, France and the Academy for Migration Studies in Denmark (AMID), University of Aalborg, Denmark.

I received my PhD from the University of Minnesota, but am Hamilton born-and-bred. My kids say I should include a couple of interesting facts about myself, so here are two truths and a lie: I drive a 1981 Fiat convertible; I have never voted; I played varsity volleyball in college.
  • Contact Information
  • PHONE: 905-525-9140 ext. 23124
uri icon
Scholarly Activity in McMaster Experts
  • Scholarly Activity
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Background
  • Contact
  • View All

selected scholarly activity