Dr. Paul DeBell

Dr. Paul DeBell
Associate Professor of Political Science
Assistant Dean of Impact and Innovation


  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Psychology
  • Populism and Anti-Establishment Movements 
  • Campaigns and Elections
  • Political Communications and Media
  • Democratization
  • Post-Communist Politics


  • Ph.D., Political Science, The Ohio State University, 2016
  • M.A., Political Science, The Ohio State University, 2011
  • B.A., Government and Philosophy, College of William & Mary, 2006


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About Dr. Paul DeBell

Paul DeBell’s teaching and research span political psychology and comparative politics, focusing on democratic governance, the psychology of political division, and the role of emotion in political behavior. DeBell's dissertation analyzed the link between populist outrage and democratic backsliding in Hungary and his current research and teaching focus on the psychology of democratic citizenship in light of 21st-century challenges to self-governance. 

Professor DeBell joined the faculty at Fort Lewis College in 2016. In addition to teaching, he is the founding coordinator of the FLC Civic Engagement Collaborative, which works across campus to engage students and the Durango community to foster nonpartisan political engagement and dialogue. In 2022, FLC was recognized as one of the nation's Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting by the nonpartisan national student engagement organization All In. DeBell was recognized for this work in 2022 as the first recipient of the Boucher Faculty Award

Professor DeBell is honored to work alongside FLC's outstanding students. Every day, they show how good people can come together to have tough conversations about things that matter, and he's very grateful to be part of those conversations. 

Recent publications and presentations

Chapman, H., Hanson, M., Dzutsati, V., and DeBell, P. 2023. Under the veil of democracy: What do people mean when they say they support democracy? Perspectives on Politics, 1-19. doi: 10.1017/S1537592722004157

DeBell, P. September, 2022. Lessons on depolarization from the family bar business. Fort Lewis College Undergraduate Research Talk Series.

DeBell, P. and Schwartz S. (FLC ’21). April, 2022. Anger, disgust, and deliberation: Can guided deliberative discussion decrease affective polarization? Midwestern Political Science Association 2022 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL,

DeBell, P. January, 2021. A citizen's guide to realizing American democracy in the 21st Century. La Plata County League of Women Voters, Durango, CO.

DeBell, P. 2020. HIV/AIDS politics and policy in Europe, in Haider-Markel, D. The Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBT Politics and Policy. Oxford University Press. doi: 9780190228637.013.1318

DeBell, P. January, 2020. Globalizing outrage: International constraint and the rise of anti-establishment populism. Southern Political Science Association 2020 Annual Meeting, San Juan, PR,

DeBell, P. 2019. Morality, emotion, and partisan animus over the immigration debate. Midwestern Political Science Association 2019 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 4 April.

DeBell, P. 2018. Undermining democracy with outrage: Disgust, anger, and the democratic recession. Midwestern Political Science Association 2018 Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 6 April.

In the News

Fulcher, M.P., and Jimenez, C. Jan. 7, 2021. How will the political divide and unrest in America resonate moving forward? Colorado Matters. Colorado Public Radio.

Amijo, P. Sept. 18, 2020. There are candidates, then there are other variables that will guide this election. The Durango Herald.

Kim, C. Sept. 8, 2020. The 3rd Congressional is a huge, contrasting cross-section of Colorado. Now it's up to Boebert or Mitsch Bush to win over voters. Colorado Public Radio.

Marvin-Vanderryn, S. Nov. 3, 2020. Drop box at Fort Lewis College aims to increase voter turnout. The Durango Herald.

Amijo, P. April 6, 2020. Is government response to health crisis causing irreversible damage to civil liberties? The Durango Herald.

Sheffey, A. Oct. 15, 2019. In covering impeachment, teachers focus on historical significance. The Durango Herald.

Marshall, J. Aug. 24, 2019. As unaffiliated voters surge, major party candidates court their votes. The Durango Herald.

Romeo, J. Jan. 12, 2019. Has La Plata County shed its purple skin? The Durango Herald.

Shinn, M. Dec. 10, 2018. Fort Lewis College students study what motivates young voters. The Durango Herald.

Shinn, M. Nov. 2, 2018. Will young people show up this year to vote? The Durango Herald.

Amijo, P. Sept 14, 2018. Fort Lewis College students seek to boost voter turnout among peers. The Durango Herald.