My name is Matthew Martin (he/him/his), and I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. My subfields of study are public law and comparative politics. My research interests include public participation in constitution-making, authoritarian constitutions, Latin American politics, and immigration law and politics. I am in the early stages of my dissertation, which examines the use of public consultation in constitution-making by authoritarian regimes. During my time at UT, I have worked as a graduate research assistant for Dr. Raúl Madrid, conducting in-depth historical research on revolts and elections in Latin America, as well as for Dr. Zachary Elkins, leading a team responsible for enriching the constitutional ontology at the Constitute Project.
Prior to graduate school, I received my B.A. in Political Science and Legal Studies along with a certificate in International Relations from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Upon graduation, I worked for two years as a legal assistant in immigration law at a small firm in Washington, D.C. I assisted attorneys with a variety of family- and huminitarian-based immigration cases ranging from permanent residence to removal defense to asylum. Immmigration advocacy remains important to me. Outside of work, I support trans and gender non-conforming asylum seekers, gathering legal resources, contacting pro bono lawyers, and organizing fundraisers to ensure their security.
My current research agenda is influenced by the emphasis on comparative constitutionalism in public law at UT. I have been involved in a project that develops an innovative method to analyzing public consultation records with natural language processing (NLP) tools, using data produced by the government of Michelle Bachelet in Chile during their 2016 effort at constitutional reform. I have continued to develop this line of inquiry independently in my own dissertation research. I investigate how and why authoritarian regimes across history have used public consultations in constitutional design to legitimate their regimes. I am now constructing an original data set of all public consultations in constitution-making since 1789, which I plan to use for my dissertation and future research.