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2020 News


Rebecca Kolins Givan (TGS PhD) | Strike for the Common Good

October 15, 2020 – from University of Michigan Press
"Strike for the Common Good" gathers together original essays, written by teachers involved in strikes nationwide, by students and parents who have supported them, and by outside analysts (academic and otherwise). Together, the essays consider the place of these strikes in the broader landscape of recent labor organizing and battles over public education, and attend to the largely female workforce and, often, largely non-white student population of America’s schools.

Marina Henke | 2019 Lepgold Prize Winning Author

October 9, 2020 – from Mortara Center for International Studies
Through qualitative and quantitative analysis of 80 multilateral military coalitions, Henke demonstrates that coalitions do not emerge naturally. Rather, pivotal states deliberately build them. They develop operational plans and bargain suitable third parties into the coalition, purposefully using their bilateral and multilateral diplomatic connections—what Henke terms diplomatic embeddedness—as a resource. As Constructing Allied Cooperation shows, these ties constitute an invaluable state capability to engage others in collective action: they are tools to construct cooperation.

Sally Nuamah | Public Perceptions of Black Women and Girls and its Punitive Consequences

October 6, 2020 – from Institute for Policy Research
The analysis reveals that Black girls are seen as older, more dangerous, and more knowledgeable about sex. Further, they are viewed as deserving of harsher punishments, in this case, suspension, more than any other student. These findings have serious implications for the study of race, gender, criminal justice, and public opinion in American politics.


Kim Suiseeya | Pandemic Imperils Promotions for Women in Academia

September 29, 2020 – from The New York Times
“This year was critical for me to finalize my tenure packet,” she said. “I stare at my computer and try to be productive. And every five minutes my daughter comes in and says, ‘My Zoom link doesn’t work.’” The pandemic has been brutal on many working mothers, especially those with little leverage on the job. Experts say it may be uniquely unforgiving for mothers in so-called up-or-out fields, where workers face a single high-stakes promotion decision. The loss of months or more of productivity to additional child care responsibilities, which fall more heavily on women, can reverberate throughout their careers.

Dan Galvin | Stiffing Workers on Wages Grows Worse With Recession

September 22, 2020 – from The New York Times
According to a paper released Thursday by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a liberal think tank, the rate at which workers suffered violations of minimum-wage law increased almost in lock step with the unemployment rate during the last recession. On average, the workers on the receiving end of these violations lost about one-fifth of their hourly wage. The paper’s numbers show that more than 20 percent of low-wage workers were probably paid less than what the law requires in April, when the unemployment rate peaked, up from just over 10 percent before the pandemic.

Sally Nuamah | AESA Critics' Choice Book Awards

September 21, 2020 – from American Educational Studies Association
Each year, a committee of AESA members selects a number of titles it regards as outstanding books that may be of interest to those in educational studies. These books are designated as AESA Critics’ Choice Award winners and are displayed prominently at the annual meeting.

Daniel Krcmaric | The Justice Dilemma: Leaders and Exile in an Era of Accountability

September 15, 2020 – from Cornell University Press
Abusive leaders are now held accountable for their crimes in a way that was unimaginable just a few decades ago. What are the consequences of this recent push for international justice? In The Justice Dilemma, Daniel Krcmaric explains why the "golden parachute" of exile is no longer an attractive retirement option for oppressive rulers. He argues that this is both a blessing and a curse: leaders culpable for atrocity crimes fight longer civil wars because they lack good exit options, but the threat of international prosecution deters some leaders from committing atrocities in the first place. The Justice Dilemma therefore diagnoses an inherent tension between conflict resolution and atrocity prevention, two of the signature goals of the international community.

M. Christopher Sardo (TGS PhD) | Responsibility for climate justice: Political not moral

September 14, 2020 – from European Journal of Political Theory
This article argues that climate change is a structural injustice demanding a theory of political responsibility. Agents bear responsibility not in virtue of their individual causal contribution or capacity, but because they participate in and benefit from the carbon-intensive structures, practices, and institutions that constitute the global political and economic system. Agents take responsibility by engaging in collective political action to transform these structures that generate both climate hazards and unjust relationships of power.

Joshua Freedman (TGS PhD) | Back of the queue: Brexit, status loss, and the politics of backlash

September 9, 2020 – from Sage Journals
Across political levels, from the community and state to the international system, status anxiety is often cited as a principal grievance and motivator of backlash politics. This article challenges the basic premise behind this framing by arguing that status loss – as a subset of status anxiety – and backlash politics, are essentially co-constitutive phenomena. Status loss can certainly propel backlash movements to form, but claims of status loss and decline are also uniquely exploitable mechanisms for bringing backlash movements into existence.


Ian Hurd | Legal Games — Political Goals

August 17, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
Governments’ goals may differ, both within and across regime types, but the instrumental use of law in the service of political ends does not. Because the methodological difficulties in correlating regime type with attitude toward international law are insuperable, Ginsburg's contribution is that he directs attention to the substantive goals that governments pursue through law and to the tradeoffs that follow as one goal wins over others. The normative valence of international law depends on how one feels about these practical tradeoffs; those whose interests are harmed by international law have good reason to feel disadvantaged.

Al Tillery |Poll: Black woman running mate favored for Vice President Biden

August 11, 2020 – from Northwestern Now
"While it is true that the margins between the overall enthusiasm for Biden and the enthusiasm for him when a hypothetical African-American woman is added to his ticket are small, they are precisely the kinds of margins that can cost Vice President Biden an election in a highly polarized partisan environment,” Tillery said. “The reality for Biden is that he needs to do everything that he can to maximize African-American turnout and selecting an African-American woman as his running mate looks like a big step in that direction."

Tabitha Bonilla & Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Which Identity Frames Boost Support for and Mobilization in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement? An Experimental Test

August 6, 2020 – from
"The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has organized hundreds of disruptive protests in American cities since 2013 (Garza 2014; Harris 2015; Taylor 2016). The movement has garnered considerable attention from the U.S. media and is well recognized by the U.S. public (Horowitz and Livingston 2016; Neal 2017). Social movement scholars suggest that such robust mobilizations are typically predicated on clear social movement frames (Benford and Snow 2000; Snow et al. 1986). Tillery (2019b) has identified several distinct message frames within the social media communications of BLM activists. In this paper, we use a survey experiment to test the effect of three of these frames—Black Nationalist, Feminist, and LGBTQ+ Rights—on the mobilization of African Americans. We find that exposure to these frames generates differential effects on respondents’ willingness to support, trust, canvass, and..."

Jennifer Cyr, Marissa Brooke | Diversifying and Expanding Participation in the Southwest Workshop on Mixed Methods Research (SWMMR)

August 4, 2020 – from Political Science Now
"The grants awarded support projects focusing on a wide variety of topics, including advancing the impact of political science research through public engagement, expanding professional development opportunities and scholarly collaboration around civically engaged research, mixed-methods research, and world politics research, and advancing diversity and inclusion in the profession."

Al Tillery | Northwestern University Launches "Leading Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion" Online Short Course with GetSmarter

August 4, 2020 – from 2U
EVANSTON, Illinois — July 30, 2020 — Northwestern University today announced it will offer an online short course to help professionals across private industry, government, and civil society learn to lead in more inclusive and equitable ways. The six-week short course, "Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion," will be offered in partnership with GetSmarter, a brand of 2U, Inc. (Nasdaq: TWOU). Enrollment opens today and the first class will begin in October.

Aili Tripp | Northwestern Political Science PhD appointed Editor of APSR

August 23, 2019 – from American Political Science Association
Aili Mari Tripp is Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on African politics (including North Africa), gender and politics in Africa, women’s movements, and the informal economy in Africa. She recently has won awards from the American Academy in Berlin and the Fulbright Program.


Traci Burch | Police Reform and Systemic Racism

July 31, 2020 – from CSPAN
"I do have hope…there are lots of people who are working on these problems. The political will needs to be there. But most importantly, we’re starting to think about and harmonize across the country what it is we want and expect from our police and how we want police to treat others. Part of that is to think about what kind of policing we all want. When we call the police for help, what is it we expect from that? If we go to a community policing meeting…how do we want the police to treat our neighbors? How do we want the police to treat our neighbor’s kids? I think that the fact that we all are starting to consider (that) now, even if we are not the people most likely to have a bad outcome from police contact, that we now care about and are interested in what happens to other people. That’s probably one of the biggest changes going forward.”

Benjamin Page | The Roots of Right-Wing Populism: Donald Trump in 2016

July 30, 2020 – from International Journal of Political Economy
"Using survey data from the American National Election Study (ANES) and aggregate data on Congressional districts, this article assesses the roles that economic and social factors played in Donald J. Trump’s 2016 “populist” presidential candidacy. It shows the hollowness of claims that economic issues played little or no role. While agreeing that racial resentment and sexism were important factors, the article shows how various economic considerations helped Trump win the Republican nomination and then led significant blocs of voters to shift from supporting Democrats or abstaining in 2012 to vote for him. It also presents striking evidence of the importance of political money and Senators’ “reverse coattails” in the final result."


Menaka Philips | APSA 2020 Okin-Young Award for Best Article in Feminist Political Theory

June 29, 2020 – from Politics and Gender Journal
The Okin-Young Award in Feminist Political Theory, co-sponsored by Women and Politics, Foundations of Political Theory, and the Women’s Caucus for Political Science, commemorates the scholarly, mentoring, and professional contributions of Susan Moller Okin and Iris Marion Young to the development of the field of feminist political theory. This annual award recognizes the best paper on feminist political theory published in an English language academic journal during the previous calendar year.

Nathan Dial | ‘I am confused, scared and afraid'

June 27, 2020 – from AirforceTimes
"For many of us, learning how to be the only black face in the room was tough because our socialization took decades. The recent barrage of requests for conversation leaves us confused, scared and afraid. I want to use my experiences in the Air Force to provide insight into why some Black military members are skeptical of our colleagues’ recent intrigue with racial injustice."

Matt Nelsen | The Attitude With Arnie Arnesen

June 25, 2020 – from WNHN
"America’s classrooms shut down this spring. Civics lessons shifted to the streets, and now protests are teaching about political engagement. Matthew Nelson has done research on what effects the textbooks used in grade schools and high schools have had on the willingness of students to later participate inpolitical engagement. He has also examined how local newspaper coverage slants news to present a version of reality according to the ethos of the community. For example, Texas and California teach civics, but the approach and philosophy is very different in each state. This presents a problem when trying to solve a the issues that present. It also affects how and whether citizens will participate in the conversation."

Rana Khoury | ASPA 2020 Honorable Mention for the Alexander L. George Article Award

June 25, 2020 – from Syracuse University
This award honors Alexander George's contributions to the comparative case-study method, including his work linking that method to a systematic concern with research design, and his contribution of developing the idea and the practice of process tracing. This award may be granted to a journal article or to a chapter in an edited volume that stands on its own as an article. Rana was given an honorable mention for her Perspectives on Politics article "Hard-to-Survey Populations and Respondent-Driven Sampling".

Jahara "Franky" Matisek | Limited Wars in the Periphery The Dilemma of American Military Assistance

June 25, 2020 – from Marine Corps University
"The United States is struggling in an era of tripolar competition. After nearly two decades spent providing military assistance in the Middle East and Africa, the United States is now trying to pivot its military resources and personnel toward conventional warfare capabilities to counter China and Russia. However, these rebalancing efforts are difficult when waning American influence is filled by China and/or Russia. Despite shifting American aims in Africa and the Middle East, reducing engagement has strategic and contextual ramifications. To mitigate China and Russia, U.S. military assistance missions must be properly resourced and maintained."

Alex Hertel-Fernandez | How Policymakers Can Craft Measures That Endure and Build Political Power

June 25, 2020 – from Roosevelt Institute
"As the United States grapples with ongoing social, health, and economic crises, policymakers are considering—and enacting—major changes to all levels of government. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes bolstering existing programs, like unemployment insurance, and creating new initiatives, like grants and loans for small businesses and a new paid sick leave benefit. And in the wake of mass protests around police violence, policymakers are considering reforms to public safety funding and practices. If these programs work as hoped, they may have profound economic and social consequences."

Alvin B. Tillery | Bill of Rights: On civic action

June 23, 2020 – from Civics 101 Podcast
"The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to our Constitution. In our episode about the Bill of Rights, the final seven minutes of the episode, featuring Alvin Tillery and Linda Monk, is about the actions it took to make these rights actually apply to our lives."

Al Tillery | Bill of Rights: On civic action

June 22, 2020 – from Civics 101
"The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to our Constitution. In our episode about the Bill of Rights, the final seven minutes of the episode, featuring Alvin Tillery and Linda Monk, is about the actions it took to make these rights actually apply to our lives."

Kumar Ramanathan, Matthew Nelsen, and Tom Ogorzalek | The Racial Divide in Chicagoland’s Experiences of Policing

June 22, 2020 – from Chicago Democracy
"As protests against racism and police brutality continue across the United States, issues of policing have come to dominate the local political agenda across the country, including in Chicago. Activists have proposed defunding the police, removing police officers from schools, civilian accountability of police, and numerous other policies. In light of ongoing public discussion on these proposals, this blog post shares findings from recent surveys that highlight stark differences in experiences and views of policing across racial groups in Chicagoland. Underscoring the voices of activists and protestors, we find that Black residents disproportionately experience negative encounters with police, sharply disapprove of their performance, and express more concern about crime."

Michelle Bueno Vasquez | APSA 2020-2021 Minority Fellow

June 22, 2020 – from American Political Science Association
Michelle is a recipient of the APSA Spring Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). The MFP is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science. Michelle's current research investigates how transnational information flows can mutate ideas of race throughout the Dominican diaspora, particularly between the United States and Dominican Republic.

Matt Nelsen | America's Classroom Shuts Down This Spring

June 22, 2020 – from Washington Post
"In March, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders called out young people for failing to vote on Super Tuesday. Social commentators are quick to note that less than half of 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2016 presidential election. But young Americans, particularly young black Americans, are driving the recent wave of protests in response to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Educators have struggled to ensure access to high-quality civic learning opportunities across America — and the protests of May and June demonstrate that empowering civics lessons often take place outside the classroom."

Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem | Rethinking the weak state paradigm in light of the war on terror: Evidence from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

June 22, 2020 – from The Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS)
"External observers puzzled for quite some time over this “Mauritanian paradox”. One tantalizing theory emerged from an unlikely place: Osama Bin Laden personal archives. According to documents seized by U.S. Navy Seals when they raided Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout in 2011, Al Qaeda leaders seemed to have discussed a plan in 2010 to arrange a truce with the government of Mauritania[i]. This theory was vehemently denied by local authorities, and few foreign commentators lent it credibility. More significantly, this narrative provides an insufficient explanation as to why a weak country such as Mauritania has been able to stabilize its government, break the jihadist cycle and address its security concerns."

Sean Lee (TGD PhD) | The Tragedies and Dilemmas of US Intervention in Northeast Syria

June 22, 2020 – from Middle East Research and Information Project
"At the very beginning of the Syrian uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Asad in 2011, and during the early stages of the slide into civil war, Washington made the serious miscalculation that the Asad regime would fall quickly. When the regime failed to collapse, it appeared that President Barack Obama’s administration took the advice of Edward Luttwak, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, who publicly argued in favor of “an indefinite draw” in Syria on the assumption that a “victory by either side would be equally undesirable for the United States.”"

Sasha Klyachkina | Chicago Public Schools' Curriculum Equity Initiative

June 19, 2020 – from Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools today announced a first-of-its-kind Curriculum Equity Initiative to ensure that students in every part of Chicago can benefit from high-quality curriculum and instructional resources. While some teachers currently have access to instructional materials, quality and access vary greatly among district schools, with nearly half of surveyed CPS educators reporting their school does not have curriculum available in the subject they teach. The Curriculum Equity Initiative will create a standards-aligned, culturally relevant library of teacher resources that educators across all grade levels and subjects will be able to utilize to supplement their instruction and ensure the needs of all students are met, especially English learners and students receiving specialized services.

Mara Suttmann-Lea | SPSA 2021 Election Sciences Conference-within-a-Conference (CwC)

June 18, 2020 – from Southern Political Science Association
Our theme for this CwC is: "looking back on a challenging year." We encourage abstract submissions that look into institutional, administrative and citizen-led initiatives to increase or restrict access to the ballot box, broadly speaking. We also encourage submissions on institutional and administrative responses to COVID-19, as well as how those responses performed.

Kumar Ramanathan | APSA 2020 Public Scholarship Fellow

June 18, 2020 – from American Political Science Association
APSA is pleased to announce the 2020 class of the new Public Scholarship Program. The Public Scholarship Program is a remote, part-time fellowship that introduces political science graduate students to the intellectual and practical aspects of presenting academic scholarship to the public. During the fellowship period, the scholars will focus on producing public-facing overviews of new research published in the American Political Science Review.

Jacqueline Stevens | Buffett Global Connections grant

June 18, 2020 – from Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
The Global Connections project for which Prof. Stevens has secured this grant funding is the creation of a global working group that will instantiate a Declaration of Citizenship for the purpose of adoption by local and national legislative bodies, as well as international institutions, with the ultimate goal being debate if not passage by the United Nations.

Sasha Klyachkina | Center for Governance and Markets Post-Doctoral Research Associate 2020-2021

June 18, 2020 – from University of Pittsburgh Center for Governance and Markets
Sasha Klyachkina analyzes how individuals and communities respond to crises, ranging from state collapse to different forms of armed conflict. She studies how these processes impact the intersection of non-state governance and state-building, as well as citizen strategies of autonomy and engagement. Her work is empirically grounded in fieldwork in Russia’s North Caucasus, specifically Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia where she conducted interviews, collected oral histories, designed original public opinion surveys, and analyzed local newspapers to understand these processes. Her research has been supported by the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the ZEIT-Stiftung’s Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, Kellogg Dispute Resolution Research Center (DRRC), and the Harriman Institute of Columbia University.

David Steinberg (TGS PhD) | Inside looking out

June 18, 2020 – from The Pacific Review
"This paper examines the political-economy of capital controls in China. We argue that the global policy context influences domestic political debates over capital controls, which, in turn, can shape public attitudes toward the subject. Policy entrepreneurs on each side of the capital controls debate can point to capital account policies in other countries as evidence for the desirability of their position."

Kevin Mazur | Networks, Informal Governance, and Ethnic Violence in a Syrian City

June 16, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
"Mobilization within an excluded ethnic group is most likely among local communities where members are densely linked to one another and lack network access to state-controlled resources. Drawing on a case study of the Syrian city of Homs in the 2011 uprising, this article demonstrates how the Syrian regime’s strategies of managing the Sunni population of Homs shaped patterns of challenge"

Yoes Kenawas | Power in the Clutches of Family

June 13, 2020 – from Tempo
"Twenty-two years after the 1988 Reformation, political dynasties can be found in all political parties at all levels of government and various regions in Indonesia."

Erin Lockwood | The international political economy of global inequality

June 12, 2020 – from Review of International Political Economy
While national inequality has made headlines in recent years, income is far more unequally distributed globally than it is within any state. It is striking that global economic inequality has garnered so little attention in International Political Economy (IPE), given the field’s longstanding interest in the distribution of resources and the structure of the global economy. This paper argues that IPE should regard the unequal global distribution of wealth and income as a central research concern and outlines a research agenda for doing so."

Jacqueline Stevens | The problem with Pritzker's pandemic immunity orders

June 12, 2020 – from Chicago Reader
On the afternoon of the April 1 pandemic press conference, Governor J.B. Pritzker said, "We're doing our best to take care of our seniors, our children, people who are in our care. Our number one concern is the welfare of the people who are in our care." Later that same day, Pritzker quietly issued an emergency order granting Illinois nursing homes and hospitals a broad swath of legal immunities for injuries or deaths from negligence. The AARP-IL, disability rights activists, attorneys, experts, and a Department on Aging official believe the immunities from litigation will harm Illinoisans, especially those in long-term care."

Al Tillery | Civics 101 Podcast: Protest

June 11, 2020 – from Civics 101
Both Alvin Tillery and Bakari Sellers, our guests for the show, pointed out that there is always resistance to protest, even when it is nonviolent. Today, we’ll look at the response to protest through the lens of letters to the editor, past and present.

Marina Henke | Podcast: How does security policy work?

June 10, 2020 – from Hertie School
Are there more armed conflicts in our world? How does the geopolitical power structure change with the end of the American age? And is Europe moving closer to China? Marina Henke, Professor of International Relations at the Hertie School and Director of the Centre for International Security, discussed the current state of international security on a podcast episode of the Hertie Foundation's interview series.

Wesley Skogan | How cities can reimagine their police forces and still fight crime

June 9, 2020 – from Quartz
As a call to action, defund the police can have a variety of meanings.”Dismantle, disinvest, defund, redirect, abolish—there may be some subtle differences between these… [but] there are some themes underneath them,” says Wesley Skogan, professor emeritus of political science at Northwestern University. “You’d be hard pressed to find an abolitionist position,” Skogan says. (Camden, New Jersey is one of very few locales that has disbanded and restarted its police force from scratch.) “So it’s all really a question of the adjustments that need to be made.”

Juan Cruz Olmeda | Ortega's Strategy Against Covid-19 in Nicaragua

June 9, 2020 – from Noticiarios Pulso
Dr. Juan Cruz Olmeda, professor and researcher at El Colmex and Director of the Foro Internacional magazine, analyzes Daniel Ortega's strategy against Covid-19 in Nicaragua. Pulse Newscasts 96.5 FM and 1060 AM Radio Education.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Racialising Security: from Post-9/11 to Post-Corona

June 9, 2020 – from The Graduate Institute Geneva
This unique panel discussion will examine to what extent security discourse and public policy about ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ re-enact, reinforce, transform or relocate dynamics of racialisation that have contributed to othering, excluding and demeaning specific groups. Over the past two decades, as talk of ‘terrorism’, ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ has proliferated spectacularly and public policies using these conceptual referentials have multiplied internationally, racialising dynamics have accompanied a global history-in-the-making. These trends appear to persist as the world moves into the post-corona moment. For all its urgency, the question of racism and security has not been addressed sufficiently. It remains peripheral to the dominant mainstream international security agenda, political narrative and academic curriculum.

Julie Lee Merseth, Chloe N. Thurston, and Al Tillery | PGI/WPSA BlackLivesMatter reading list

June 8, 2020 – from Politics, Groups, and Identities
This micro-syllabus brings together a broad collection of readings about the Black Lives Matter Movement, police violence, and subsequent Black political responses. The syllabus includes discussions about the origins of Black Lives Matter and how this movement fits in the story of American Political Development. It also covers how the media and elected officials respond to protests around police violence. Additionally, this collection provides insight into how the public has responded to the shootings of unarmed African Americans and Black Lives Matter protests.

Isabella Alcañiz | The Earth is Round and Viruses Spread

June 8, 2020 – from Agenda Pública
"What do scientists in the public sector want? In different countries of the world, small groups of anti-science protesters are protesting against the quarantine instituted by the pandemic and against the experts who designed it. They represent a minority of the population, with the exception perhaps of the United States, where they are an integral part of the Republican Party. Despite their small number, these protests receive excessive media attention, especially in the days of Covid-19. Undoubtedly, it is striking that in the year 2020 there are people who deny the existence and human origin of climate change, the immunization effect of vaccines, and the spherical property of planet Earth. It is also surprising how the anti-science claim was politicized during the pandemic."

Al Tillery | Protesting in America: A history of rebellion and change

June 7, 2020 – from Today
Mass protests took place in hundreds of cities across the United States for the second week following the death of George Floyd. The demonstrations drew comparisons to those in 1968. The times may be different, but the long-standing tradition of protesting in this country continues. NBC’s Harry Smith has this week’s Sunday Spotlight.

Al Tillery | Trump’s False Claim That ‘Nobody Has Ever Done’ More for the Black Community Than He Has

June 5, 2020 – from The New York Times
Overall, Mr. Trump can claim some credit for these accomplishments, said Alvin Bernard Tillery Jr., a professor of political science and African-American studies at Northwestern University. “He has one or two nice policy accomplishments where his signature is on the legislation,” Mr. Tillery said. “That’s a record that’s going to place him in the bottom third of modern presidents.” In a 2017 study co-authored by Mr. Tillery that assessed modern presidents based on the analysis of editorials published in black newspapers, Mr. Johnson ranked at the top. While Mr. Trump was not yet included, as he had yet to complete his term, Mr. Tillery said the president “is not faring well” currently, with black editorial pages ranking him “at the bottom, just below Nixon,” at No. 15 out of 20 presidents.

Sally A. Nuamah | How Closing Schools Impacts Democracy

June 4, 2020 – from Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy
Chicago closed a record-high 50 public schools in 2013. But more will likely be permanently shuttered in the wake of a COVID-19 pandemic-related budget crisis, Northwestern University political scientist Sally Nuamah predicted in an interview with Citylab. Additional school closures could cause “mobilization fatigue” for black and Latino families and ultimately influence the upcoming 2020 presidential election, says Nuamah, who explores these theories in her forthcoming book Closed for Democracy, which she recently completed.

Al Tillery | Perspective: The state of our country

June 3, 2020 – from Northwestern Now
“As a scholar of protests, I would also like to highlight that we are in a very interesting phase in the life cycle of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The hyper-democratic, decentralized nature of the movement has worked brilliantly in generating protest activities on the ground and giving Americans a vocabulary for articulating their emotions about the anti-racist struggle in America."

Warren Snead | Political Science Searle Teaching Fellow for AY21

June 2, 2020 – from Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching
Throughout the 2020-21 school year, Warren seeks to maintain and expand the Political Science Teaching Committee. The Teaching Committee sponsors department-wide programming, holds pedagogical discussions for its members, and provides an environment in which participants prepare job-market materials related to their teaching practices. This year, Warren hopes to expand upon the Teaching Committee’s existing mentorship program for new TAs by providing more structured opportunities for mentor-mentee check-ins and by developing department programming designed to specifically meet the needs of our new TAs.

Loubna El Amine | Political Liberalism, Western History, and the Conjectural Non-West

June 1, 2020 – from Political Theory
"Taking its distance from classical liberalism, political liberalism seeks to avoid controversial metaphysical assumptions by starting from institutional features of modern polities. Political liberalism also extends the limits of liberal toleration by envisioning societies that it considers nonliberal but decent. This article is concerned with the relationship between these two dimensions of political liberalism, specifically as they are instantiated in the work of John Rawls. I show that these two dimensions are in tension with each other. Put simply, if political liberalism is institutional, then decent societies are impossible. "


Steve Nelson | Argentina is on the verge of defaulting on its debt again. Here’s what you need to know

May 29, 2020 – from The Washington Post
"The Argentine government is locked in contentious negotiations with foreign bondholders, led by the U.S. investment firm BlackRock, over the terms of nearly $65 billion in payments it owes on its debt. This is familiar — and risky — territory for Argentina. Should negotiations fail before the June 2 deadline and the government of President Alberto Fernández misses another debt payment, the country will formally slip into default for the third time this century and ninth time in its history."

James Druckman | Most Americans Support Vote by Mail During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 29, 2020 – from Institute for Policy Research
The survey, conducted by IPR political scientist James Druckman as part of a consortium of four universities that includes Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers, found widespread support for such measures directly linked to fears of getting COVID-19. Druckman said that “It seems that the majority of Americans support allowing vote by mail and that support stems in part from concerns about COVID-19 preventing them from otherwise voting.”

Al Tillery | National protests over George Floyd's death was 'conflagration waiting to happen'

May 29, 2020 – from NBC News
""Big cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Newark, New Jersey, were once convulsed by rioting, or as Tillery prefers to call them, "uprisings," that left black and brown communities disadvantaged socially and economically to this day. The millennials and Gen Z who are protesting now are "much less willing to take the law and order obfuscations that come from the white power structure," Tillery said."

Steve Nelson | Crisis, what crisis? uncertainty, risk, and financial markets

May 27, 2020 – from The Politics and Science of Prevision
"The outbreak of the crisis of 2008 reminds us that financial markets are domains characterized by measurable risks as well as by unquantifiable uncertainties – a point that was often elided in the run-up to the crisis. How do sophisticated financial market players and regulators cope in environments rife with risks and uncertainties? In this chapter we emphasize the centrality of ‘Knightian’ uncertainty for the analysis of financial markets, and, further, we illustrate how the social ordering of finance is shaped by social conventions employed by agents to (contingently) stabilize an unstable and uncertain domain. The chapter begins by providing a brief conceptual clarification of risk and uncertainty, before turning to the role of conventions for minimizing future uncertainty. "

Karen Alter | "Is it a Dance or is it Chicken? The German Constitutional Court's European Central Bank Ruling"

May 13, 2020 – from Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional
"The GCC needs to figure out when national constitutional checks are an appropriate and helpful part of an international system of democratic checks and balances. As far as I know, no judicial body has been foolish enough to insert itself into the monetary policy-making process, for good reason. The GCC should not be putting a hand on the German scale of price stability."

Educating Communists: Eugene Bechtold and the Chicago Workers School | Jim Farr

May 11, 2020 – from American Communist History
“Workers’ Education Is Workers’ Power.” This slogan—emblazoned atop the brochure announcing the courses for the Fall term of 1936—captured the political convictions of the Chicago Workers School. Amidst the Great Depression and located in America’s definitive working city, the School proclaimed its “main task,” to equip students with the knowledge “to understand and participate in the class struggle,” based on “the scientific teachings of Marxism-Leninism.”

William Hurst | Does China pose a moral hazard in the international society?

May 8, 2020 – from Centre for Geopolitics
"Treating China as a '“black knight', pariah, or moral hazard can be self-fulfilling. Marginalized, excluded, and encircled states have a tendency to misbehave. But how should status quo powers like the UK, US, or EU engage constructively with China without merely appeasing its ambitions?"

Ana Arjona | LACS (Virtual) Faculty Colloquium: The Violent Bias in the Study of Civil War

May 6, 2020 – from PlanItPurple
The study of civil war has focused, for obvious reasons, on violence. Yet, civil war is about much more than violence. Ana Arjona argues that the focus on violence hinders our understanding of the most common type of armed conflict in the world today. In particular, equating civil war and violence leads to (i) a theoretical bias, whereby scholars overlook other aspects of war that could shape the outcome of interest; and (ii) an empirical bias that assumes, mistakenly, that when we measure violence we are measuring civil war. Professor Arjona illustrates her claim with studies on the Colombian conflict, a case that has been studied by many political scientists and economists. She concludes with ideas on how to move this research program forward.


James Druckman | Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response

April 30, 2020 – from Nature Human Behaviour
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. Here we discuss evidence from a selection of research topics relevant to pandemics, including work on navigating threats, social and cultural influences on behaviour, science communication, moral decision-making, leadership, and stress and coping. In each section, we note the nature and quality of prior research, including uncertainty and unsettled issues. We identify several insights for effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight important gaps researchers should move quickly to fill in the coming weeks and months.

Alex Hertel-Fernandez (WCAS '08) | American Workers' Experiences with Power, Information, and Rights on the Job

April 30, 2020 – from The Roosevelt Institute
"The COVID-19 pandemic has cast these failings in sharp relief: the lack of paid sick leave, inadequate wages, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and the inability to speak up at work without facing discipline or dismissal. But even before the coronavirus crisis, a growing number of labor activists, policymakers, and academics have been calling for a fundamental overhaul of workplace law."

James Druckman | Easing the Impact of COVID-19

April 30, 2020 – from Northwestern Institute for Policy Research
"“The paper makes clear that the social sciences provide a body of knowledge that helps understand responses to COVID-19 and provides concrete suggestions about how best to respond,” Druckman said. The researchers reviewed more than a century of relevant research from a wide variety of topics, synthesizing more than 250 prominent peer-reviewed studies, chapters, and books to produce their analysis."

Jason Seawright | Party-System Change in Latin America

April 30, 2020 – from Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
"A distinctly Latin American puzzle for the study of party systems emerges from taking the long view of these periods of stability and disruption. For the most part, party systems in the region are distinctly central to politics and electoral in origin, in contrast to many other developing countries where parties are noncentral, volatile, or oriented toward nonelectoral forms of governance. Yet, these same party systems are largely unable to adjust their appeals when faced with fundamental transformations to the social, political, or economic landscape—in contrast to the party systems of much of North America and Western Europe, where many parties and party systems have successfully navigated multiple such transformations with the identities of key parties intact."

Loubna El Amine | 2020-21 Kaplan Humanities Institute Fellow

April 29, 2020 – from Weinberg College
Ten Weinberg College faculty members have been named 2020-21 Kaplan Humanities Institute Fellows. The competitive fellowships offer faculty the opportunity to develop research projects within an interdisciplinary community. The new fellows, and their projects, include: Loubna El Amine, assistant professor of political science Project:?Beyond Freedom and Slavery: Status and Membership in the Ancient Confucian Political Community

Wendy Pearlman | Charles Deering McCormick Professor for Teaching Excellence

April 29, 2020 – from Weinberg College
Five Weinberg College faculty members have been recognized for their excellence in classroom teaching with Northwestern University Teaching Awards. Four of these professors have been named Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence: Sarah Jacoby, an associate professor of religious studies; Wendy Pearlman, an associate professor of political science; Santiago Canez, an associate professor of instruction in mathematics; and Regan Thomson, a professor of chemistry.

Mauro Gilli (TGS PhD) | Studies Tackle Who Joins the Military and Why, but Their Findings Aren’t What Many Assume

April 27, 2020 – from Military Time
"...our analysis suggests that, despite the increasing economic inequality and the erosion of many low-skill occupational opportunities, the U.S. military has not become a refuge for the less fortunate," write authors Andrea Asoni, Andrea Gilli, Mauro Gilli and Tino Sandanaji in "A mercenary army of the poor? Technological change and the demographic composition of the post-9/11 U.S. military," a report published January in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

Robin Xu (TGS Phd), James N. Druckman & Avery Goods (WCAS '19) | When and How Different Motives Can Drive Motivated Political Reasoning

April 24, 2020 – from Political Psychology
"The present research explores the roles of distinct types of motives in politically motivated thinking and identifies the conditions under which motivated reasoners are persuaded by political messages. Results of an experiment with a large, representative sample of Republicans show that manipulations inducing motivations for either (1) forming accurate impressions, (2) affirming moral values, or (3) affirming group identity each increased beliefs in and intentions to combat human-induced climate change, but only when also paired with political messages that are congruent with the induced motivation."

William Hurst | New Chapter: Chinese Cities: Liberalization, Development, and Social Dislocation

April 16, 2020 – from McGill-Queen's University Press
"Chinese cities re often the envy of the developing world. As one Indonesian urban official put it to me in 2009, 'In Indonesia, people become urban even where there are no cities, but in China cities grow from nothing and are still successful.' Even US cities like Chicago and San Francisco look covetously upon their Chinese counterparts’ ability to scale-up public transit networks, build new housing, and undertake massive new infrastructure investments like airports or bridges. All this seems to happen without concomitant problems like homelessness or crime that so often blight more established metropolises from London to Detroit. Yet this veneer of success, of economic development without social dislocation, masks a much less rosy reality for tens of millions of Chinese citizens and in the countryside."

Hayden Richardson (WCAS '21) | Harry S. Truman Scholarship

April 15, 2020 – from Northwestern Now
Northwestern University junior Hayden Richardson has received a highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a $30,000 award that supports graduate education for outstanding students who plan to pursue careers in public service. Richardson, a political science and legal studies double major, plans to attend law school and dedicate her career to changing the culture of her home state of Nebraska and help the next generation of women by enacting change when it comes to prosecuting sex crimes.

Laurel Harbridge-Yong | New Chapter: "The Challenges of Partisan Conflict for Lawmaking in Congress" in New Directions in Congressional Politics

April 15, 2020 – from Routledge
"As the U.S. Congress has steadily evolved since the Founding of our nation, so too has our understanding of the institution. The second edition of New Directions in Congressional Politics offers an accessible overview of the current developments in our understanding of America’s legislative branch. Jamie L. Carson and Michael S. Lynch help students bridge the gap between roles, rules, and outcomes by focusing on a variety of thematic issues: the importance of electoral considerations, legislators’ strategic behavior to accomplish objectives, the unique challenges of Congress as a bicameral institution in a polarized environment, and the often-overlooked policy outputs of the institution."

Mara Suttman-Lea (TGS PhD) | What Voting Means to Me Podcast

April 9, 2020
What Voting Means To Me is hosted by Mara Suttmann-Lea, a professor of American Politics and lifelong observer of American democracy. Recorded in the basement of a log cabin in the woods of Connecticut, each episode features in-depth, one on one interviews with people from all walks of life—voters and non-voters alike—about their personal relationship with the act at the heart of the democratic experiment: the vote.

Tabitha Bonilla, James Druckman, & Laurel Harbridge-Yong | Join CoronaData U.S.

April 8, 2020 – from Funded by the NSF and NU WCAS
The COVID-19 Social Change Survey is a daily nationally representative survey of U.S. public opinions, behaviors, and attitudes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, assembled by a team of social scientists at Northwestern University.CoronaData U.S. is a nationally representative survey, administered daily, of U.S. public opinions, behaviors, and attitudes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, assembled by a team of social scientists at Northwestern University.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Theologies of American Exceptionalism

April 6, 2020 – from Indiana University Press
"Theologies of American Exceptionalism is a collection of fifteen interlocking essays reflecting on the vagaries of exceptionalist claims in and about the United States. Loosely and generatively curious, these essays bring together a range of historical and contemporary voices, some familiar and some less so, to stimulate new thought about America. A print version of this volume will be available in summer 2020. This volume is the first in a book series “Religion and the Human” hosted by the IU Center for Religion and the Human."

Brian F. Harrison | A Change is Gonna Come

April 1, 2020 – from Oxford University Press
"How can deliberative democracy survive if we can't even speak to people with whom we disagree? As this book argues, we need a new way to discuss politics, one that encourages engagement and room for dissent. One way to approach this challenge is to consider how public opinion changes. By and large, public opinion is sticky and change occurs very slowly; one exception to this is the more recent and significant change in public opinion toward LGBTQ rights and marriage equality."

Shmuel Nili | From Charlottesville to the Nobel: Political Leaders and the Morality of Political Honors

April 1, 2020 – from Ethics: An International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy
"Political honors are ubiquitous in public life, whether in the form of public monuments, street names, or national holidays. Yet such honors have received scant attention from normative political theorists. Tackling this gap, I begin by criticizing a desert-based approach to political honors. I then argue that morally appropriate honors are best understood as marking and reinforcing the moral commitments of the collective in whose name they are being awarded. I show how this thesis clarifies and organizes core intuitions regarding a variety of honors, from those commemorating slave-owning founders of the United States to the Nobel Peace Prize."

Ernesto Calvo (TGS PhD)| Early E-book Release of Fake News, Trolls y Otros Encantos

April 1, 2020 – from Siglo Veintiuno Editores
"If we could go back to the origin of social networks, that moment in which for the first time two users shared the photo of a cat sleeping in the lap of a dog, it would be difficult for us to imagine the political-media world that we inhabit today. Why do we abandon the promise of unrestricted, horizontal and democratic communication to enter this wasteland of political operations, fake news, narcissism and conflict?"

Florencia Guerzovich (TGS PhD) | Problem Solving Before Teeth: Welcome to the Realm of Local Politicians and the Bureaucracy (Part 3)

April 1, 2020 – from Global Partnership for Social Accountability
"Bureaucrats, local politicians, and their capacities and incentives to respond to demands, rather than people’s expectations, seem to shape responsiveness and the ability to effectively solve problems that matter to people. Our colleagues believe that when service providers and bureaucrats feel their challenges are understood, they are more likely to respond in kind in many contexts. Yet, the lack of attention and learning about each side (state and civil society and their interfaces) can undermine the possibility to increase trust and continue engaging in what should be in essence a repeat interaction."


Brian Harrison (TGS PhD) | How to be an Ally for Transgender Rights

March 31, 2020 – from Oxford University Press's Blog
"How do we push back against this fear and help others treat transgender people with equality and respect? Remind us all that we have a superpower. When we speak up, we can change people’s perspectives, change public opinion, and change public policy. Every one of us can play a part in improving the lives and treatment of transgender people. The key is to appeal to people’s existing values and feelings, boosting their existing identities and reassuring folks who feel uncomfortable that they are good people. Here is our actionable, evidence-based advice—grounded in empirical data—on how to help folks be more comfortable with transgender people and more supportive of their rights."

Kumar Ramanathan (TGS PhD) | Breaking Down Kim Foxx’s Win in the 2020 Primary

March 25, 2020 – from Chicago Democracy Project at NU
"Kim Foxx rose to prominence when she challenged incumbent State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the 2016 election. During that election, progressive activist groups mobilized against Alvarez, who was embroiled in controversy over her handling of the murder of Lacquan McDonald, memorably creating the slogan #ByeAnita. Along with ousting a dissatisfying incumbent, these groups also sought to advance a broad criminal justice agenda through changing the policies of the county prosecutor’s office."

Mara Suttmann-Lea (TGS PhD) | Connecticut College: Classes resume remotely

March 25, 2020 – from Connecticut College News
For Suttmann-Lea, that meant recording a podcast timed to lecture slides for her “Introduction to American Politics” course. “This week’s episodes focus on the powers of the presidency. Next week we will be transitioning to Congress, and from there we’ll cover other components of the American political system like the bureaucracy, the courts, political parties, public opinion and elections,” she said, adding that she is doing her best to keep things consistent while also being attuned to the different positions her students are in.

Wendy Pearlman | Mobilizing From Scratch: Large-Scale Collective Action Without Preexisting Organization in the Syrian Uprising

March 23, 2020 – from Comparative Political Studies
"How do dissenters mobilize masses in repressive settings where, given curtailment of civil society, autonomous associations scarcely exist and norms discourage trust more than encourage it? Testimonials from the Syrian uprising illustrate how protest can become widespread under such conditions, yet occurs through processes different from what dominant theory expects."

Mary McGrath | Female Politicians are Struggling, but Could Succeed with More Faith from Voters

March 22, 2020 – from Medill Reports
McGrath’s experiments revealed a distinct, self-fulling prophecy among voters, fueled in part by the hesitation around voting for something they’ve never seen before, in this case a female holding executive office. “We don’t see women in office and then voters may take that as a sign that other voters aren’t willing to put women in office. So, it’s the same sort of unfortunate feedback loop,” McGrath said.

Jaime Dominguez | 5 Questions Heading into Tuesday’s Democratic Primaries

March 17, 2020 – from Chicago Tonight
"Four states had been scheduled to hold Democratic presidential primaries on Tuesday amid a global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but leaders in Ohio called off their election, citing public health concerns. Arizona, Illinois and Florida say they’re going ahead with plans to vote."

Jesse Savage (TGS PhD) | Political Survival and Sovereignty in International Relations

March 15, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
Why do political actors willingly give up sovereignty to another state, or choose to resist, sometimes to the point of violence? Jesse Dillon Savage demonstrates the role that domestic politics plays in the formation of international hierarchies, and shows that when there are high levels of rent-seeking and political competition within the subordinate state, elites within this state become more prepared to accept hierarchy.

Jahara Matisek (TGS PhD) | The "Goldilocks Zone" of War and Peace

March 12, 2020 – from The Journal of Character & Leadership Development
“In this article, we contend that educators should strive toward an educational ‘Goldilocks Zone’ approach, where students are forced to grapple with counterfactuals and case studies to understand the implications of the human condition, cultures, and societies within conflict. We further argue that weak states breed persistent civil wars, and that overcoming this ‘conflict trap’ requires war-making and the teaching of such to resolve contextualized political disputes. Moreover, we discuss the utility and limits of military force to include the precarious nature of militarily intervening in civil wars – past and present – in order to illustrate how future leaders should engage in constructive classroom engagements about humanitarianism in such scenarios.”

Mara Suttmann-Lea (TGS PhD) | Bloomberg Bets Old Rules of Politics No Longer Apply. He May Be Right.

March 12, 2020 – from The Christian Science Monitor
Just a few wealthy super PAC donors were able to boost Republican candidates in 2012 and 2016 who wouldn’t have made it off the ground in previous cycles, he says. And while most Democratic candidates have spoken out against Citizens United and eschewed the use of super PACs, “instead we get people like [Tom] Steyer and Bloomberg, who are financing themselves,” Professor Boatright says. Others note that Mr. Bloomberg has committed to keeping his resources on the ground, even if he’s not the nominee. “So regardless of where he ends up in the nominating process, he’s going to have an impact,” says Mara Suttmann-Lea, professor of government at Connecticut College.

Erin Lockwood (TGS PhD) | The Trump administration considers ways to help the travel industry

March 11, 2020 – from Marketplace
When the financial system was in turmoil in 2008, it was pretty easy to see which industries caused the problems and which were suffering. “And this, of course, was concentrated last time to the financial industry, the housing industry, ultimately, the automakers were also involved,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. And so they got federal government bailouts, or loans, regulatory relief — whatever you want to call it. “The assistance that was given to the banking and automobile industries during the 2008 financial crisis came under the heading of the Troubled Asset Relief Program,” said Erin Lockwood, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine.

Marina Henke | A tale of three French interventions: Intervention entrepreneurs and institutional intervention choices

March 11, 2020 – from Journal of Strategic Studies
"What factors explain the institutional shape of military interventions spearheaded by France? This article suggests that Intervention Entrepreneurs are the deciding agents. To secure the viability of their intervention proposal, they select an intervention venue based on pragmatic grounds. Most importantly, they carefully study possible domestic and international opposition to their intervention plans and conceive institutional intervention choices accordingly."

Samara Klar (TGS PHD) | Civics 101: A Podcast — Independents

March 11, 2020 – from CIvics 101: A Podcast
What prevents someone from affiliating with a political party? What is the ideology of an independent? And how can these voters exist in a two party system? Walking us through the world of the party outsiders is political scientist Samara Klar, head of, Jacqueline Salit and president of New Hampshire Independent Voters, Tiani Coleman.

Chloe Thurston | From Personal to Partisan: Abortion, Party, and Religion Among California State Legislators

March 10, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
"The parties’ polarization on abortion is a signal development. Yet while the issue has been much discussed, scholars have said less about how it reveals the unstable relationship between legislators’ personal backgrounds and their issue positions. We argue that the importance of personal characteristics may wane as links between parties and interest groups develop. We focus on the case of abortion in the California State Assembly—one of the first legislative bodies to wrestle with the issue in modern times."

Samuel Gubitz and Denzel Avant (TGS PhDs) | Racializing Captain America: How Racial Attitudes Affect Perceptions of Affirmative Action and Diversity Initiatives in Media

March 9, 2020 – from Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
"Is announcing a commitment to diversity enough to activate attitudes toward diversity initiatives? And what are the spillover effects of these programs? To address these questions, we conduct an experiment imbedded in a nationally representative survey of non-Hispanic White Americans (n = 1,519). We inform respondents that the White actor who plays Captain America will be replaced, while varying whether there is a reference to a diversity initiative and whether the replacement is White or Black. We find that reference to diversity initiatives on its own has no effect but the action of displaying diversity affects marketplace preferences and attitudes toward diversity initiatives."

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (WCAS '08) | Memo: Why Workers Need Physical Spaces for Workplace Discussions—and What Labor Law Can Do

March 6, 2020 – from Data For Progress
"American labor and employment law is broken. Compared to their counterparts in other rich democracies, U.S. workers have far fewer rights on the job. And federal and state governments all too often fail to enforce the patchy set of protections that American workers do have. Violations of basic workplace rights, like failing to pay workers the minimum wage or overtime and breaking health and safety laws, are surprisingly common in many segments of the economy. Labor unions, the most natural source of worker protections and voice, only reach about 12% of workers, and just 7% of workers in the private sector. Workers need reforms to American labor law that will guarantee better working standards and more opportunities for representation."

Horia Dijmarescu (TGS PhD) | Book Review of Anatomies of Revolution

March 5, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
"Anatomies of revolution advances a relational, inter-social and historicist view of revolution. George Lawson convincingly rejects a generalizing approach to revolutionary processes, which completely detaches them from the contexts in which they arise and from interactions among social forces across levels of analysis. Instead, Lawson argues that revolutions are ‘formed by the interaction of entities-in-motion—they are confluences of events that are embedded within fields of action that are, in turn, derived from historically specific conditions’ (p. 249). The book adopts an analyticist framework, which moves between abstract ideal-types that highlight causal configurations seen across revolutionary cases and historical narratives, which are sensitive to how the abstract interacts with singular, context-specific events, processes, personalities, institutions and meanings."

Alvin Tillery | Illinois Democratic Presidential Primary Will Be Critical As Biden, Sanders Run Neck-And-Neck

March 4, 2020 – from CBS Chicago
The primary is on March 17, and Northwestern University political scientist Alvin Tillery Jr. said Illinois voters’ ballots will matter. “Absolutely – this is going to be a very critical stretch – the rest of the month’s primaries – because you do have the ability to decide it for Joe Biden, or keep Bernie Sanders in it,” Tillery said. Tillery said the 10 upcoming primaries and caucuses prior to Illinois’ March 17 primary day will further clarify a frontrunner. After Super Tuesday, that is not always the case.

James Mahoney | The Production of Knowledge Enhancing Progress in Social Science

March 3, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
"This volume considers the challenges facing the social sciences, as well as possible solutions. In doing so, we adopt a systemic view of the subject matter. What are the rules and norms governing behavior in the social sciences? What kinds of research, and which sorts of researcher, succeed and fail under the current system? In what ways does this incentive structure serve, or subvert, the goal of scientific progress?"

Andrew Kelly (TGS PhD) | State Politics And The Uneven Fate Of Medicaid Expansion

March 3, 2020 – from Health Affairs
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), state governments play a central role in deciding whether millions of low-income Americans have access to Medicaid. During the early years of ACA implementation, conservative opposition stalled the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid in many Republican-controlled states, even in the face of strong fiscal incentives. Can any forces overcome this partisan divide? In this article we consider the role of several key mechanisms that have affected Medicaid expansion over the past decade, including electoral competition, ballot-box initiatives, interest-group coalitions, and entrepreneurial administrators.

Jean Clipperton | Northwestern Digital Learning Podcast: Episode 14, Open Textbooks

March 2, 2020 – from Northwestern Digital Learning
March 2 kicks off Open Education Week, a global awareness campaign about the impact of open education on teaching and learning. This episode focuses on open textbooks, a type of open educational resource (OER) commonly used at colleges and universities as free alternatives to expensive textbooks.


John Bullock | Education and Attitudes toward Redistribution in the United States

February 27, 2020 – from British Journal of Political Science
"Although scholars have studied education's effects on many different outcomes, little attention has been paid to its effects on adults’ economic views. This article examines those effects. It presents results based on longitudinal data which suggest that secondary education has a little-appreciated consequence: it makes Americans more opposed to redistribution. Placebo tests and other analyses confirm this finding. Further investigation suggests that these conservative effects of education operate partly by changing the way that self-interest shapes people's ideas about redistribution."

Karen Alter and Cristina Lafont | Global Governance and the Problem of the Second Best: The Example of Reforming the World Trade Organization

February 27, 2020 – from Social Science Research Network
"This article applies the problem of the second best to the subject of global governance reform. The problem of the second best raises a concern about an “approximation trap” where steps intended to move closer to an ideal instead generate outcomes that are worse than the unreformed system. The solution, we argue, is “second-best theorizing,” identifying a package of objectives worth protecting so long as the first-best ideal remains elusive. Our second-best theorizing involves ideal elements that one can approximate, deviant elements that one must defend so long as the ideal is unattainable, a substantive floor so that reforms do not make things worse, and a meta-requirement that wholesale institutional change take the form of a 'constructive vote of no-confidence.' We then apply these criteria, suggesting reforms of the World Trade Organization (WTO)."

Samuel Gubitz (TGS PHD) | National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant

February 26, 2020 – from National Science Foundation
The Political Science Program supports scientific research that advances knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics. Research proposals are expected to be theoretically motivated, conceptually precise, methodologically rigorous, and empirically oriented. Substantive areas include, but are not limited to, American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political behavior, political economy, and political institutions.

Laurel Harbridge‐Yong | You Can’t Always Get What You Want: How Majority‐Party Agenda Setting and Ignored Alternatives Shape Public Attitudes

February 26, 2020 – from Legislative Studies Quarterly
“Agenda setting is central to the study of legislatures and has profound implications for policy outcomes—yet little is known about how the public reacts to agenda setting and to majority-party decisions to ignore alternative proposals. We hypothesize that voters will be less satisfied with policy decisions when they are made aware of ignored alternatives. “Through a series of experiments, we show that information about agenda setting can drive down public support for legislation and for Congress as a whole and reduce the perceived fairness of the legislative process. Importantly, these effects are not confined to cases where popular policy alternatives are ignored or where one’s own party loses out.”

Sebastian Karcher (TGS PhD) | Official Release of Online Course "Managing Qualitative Social Science Data"

February 25, 2020 – from Social Science Research Council
In collaboration with the Qualitative Data Repository, the Digital Culture program’s Digital Literacy Initiative introduces a new set of modules of the SSRC Labs project. Diana Kapiszewski and Sebastian Karcher explain how this new course will help researchers become better acquainted with research data management, in particular the management of qualitative data.

Kumar Ramanathan (TGS PhD) et al. | Immigrants Are Far More Engaged In Politics than What You May Expect

February 21, 2020 – from United States Politics and Policy
In new research, Natalie Masuoka, Kumar Ramanathan, and Jane Junn cast doubt on notion that immigrants are less engaged with politics than native born Americans. Analyzing nation-wide survey data, they find that those immigrants who do have citizenship are just as likely and potentially more likely to vote than those born in the US. In addition, looking at political activities that do not require citizenship, they also determine that non-citizens participate at a similar rate to citizens.

Jacqueline McAllister (TGS PhD) | The Extraordinary Gamble: How The Yugoslav Tribunal’s Indictment Of Slobodan Milošević During The Kosovo War Affected Peace Efforts

February 21, 2020 – from Brown Journal of World Affairs
"Since Miloševic’s rise to power roughly a decade before, forces either directly or indirectly under his control had unleashed a reign of terror first in Croatia, then in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and finally in Kosovo. Indicting Miloševic was no small feat: he did everything in his power to cover his tracks. Moreover, in order to secure crucial evidence (e.g., intelligence and satellite imagery linking Serb forces to crime sites) and the support necessary to actually put Miloševic on trial, the ICTY required the backing of Western powers, which—until the Kosovo War in 1999—viewed Miloševic as a vital, yet unsavory guarantor of peace in the region. Reactions to the indictment were mixed."

Jordan Gans-Morse et al.| Trump’s Impeachment Isn’t over for Ukraine’s Citizens

February 19, 2020 – from Washington Post
"From the time that news first broke of Trump’s now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine watchers have worried about the scandal’s ramifications, including its potential to tarnish Zelensky’s image as a corruption fighter, to offer fresh fodder for Russian propaganda efforts in Ukraine and to undermine the United States’ ability to promote the rule of law abroad."

James Druckman et al.| Electoral Consequences of Court Expansion Advocacy: Candidate Support of Court Expansion Does Not Have a Statistically Significant Impact on Voting Rates or Vote Choice

February 18, 2020 – from Northwestern University Institute for Policy Research
"Our results indicate that Republican and Independent voters are no more likely to vote, or to vote for a Republican candidate, if a Democratic candidate endorses court expansion. Thus, a Democratic candidate’s endorsement of court expansion will not produce an electoral backlash. On the other hand, our results indicate that candidate endorsement of court expansion does not prompt Democrats to vote at higher rates, or to become more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, based on our experimental results, candidate endorsement of court expansion is not expected to produce an electoral disadvantage or benefit in 2020."

Bailey Ellis (WCAS '19) and Carolina Laguna (WCAS '19)| Meet the Fullbrighters

February 15, 2020 – from Northwestern Now
Ellis is an ETA in the Canary Islands. A political science major at Northwestern, Ellis is also interviewing residents who are not of Spanish heritage as part of a project to shed light on the experiences of immigrant populations on Gran Canaria. // Laguna is an ETA in La Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Palmira, one of the oldest campuses of Colombia's National University, which mainly focuses on agricultural studies. In her free time, Laguna volunteers with Venezuelan migrants in the city of Cali as well as with the city's chapter of 100 Resilient Cities.

Thomas Leeper (TGS PhD) | Divided By the Vote: Affective Polarization in the Wake of the Brexit Referendum

February 14, 2020 – from British Journal of Political Science
A well-functioning democracy requires a degree of mutual respect and a willingness to talk across political divides. Yet numerous studies have shown that many electorates are polarized along partisan lines, with animosity towards the partisan out-group. In this article, we further develop the idea of affective polarization, not by partisanship, but instead by identification with opinion-based groups. Examining social identities formed during Britain’s 2016 referendum on European Union membership, we use surveys and experiments to measure the intensity of partisan and Brexit-related affective polarization.

Mneesha Gellman (TGS PhD) | Central American Indigenous Movements and the Kurdish Movement. Panel & Discussion.

February 14, 2020 – from Emergency Committee for Rojava
This panel discussion looks at the radical democratic processes of indigenous movements of the Americas with a focus on Central Americas and the Kurdish movement in Rojava to develop a deeper understand- ing of these geographically distinct, yet ideologically proximate movements and to develop solidarities among them. With a comparative discussion of the threats these movements are facing today, we want to explore ways to develop internationalist movements to prevent violence against these communities and help them sustain their vision and practices of anti-capitalist radical participatory democracy.

Sally Nuamah (TGS PhD) | Association of American Publishers Announces Finalists for 2020 Prose Awards

February 12, 2020 – from Association of American Publishers
One of these five Excellence Winners will receive the prestigious R.R. Hawkins Award, the top prize of the annual PROSE competition, which will be named this month. The R.R. Hawkins Award winner will be further celebrated at AAP’s annual Professional and Scholarly Publishers (PSP) forum in Washington, DC, taking place this year on June 23rd.

Arturo Chang (TGS PhD) | Anáhuac and Rome: Converging Indigeneity and Religiosity in Mexico's Republican Moment

February 10, 2020 – from Age of Revolutions
"Anáhuac took on a political valence in the fifteenth century by indigenous groups collectivizing against Aztec domination and seeking to declare war against the 'Mexicans' for the murder of the chiefs of Chalco.[2] In eighteenth century New Spain, Anáhuac was undergoing popular renewal to reveal a new moment of resistance—this time against Spanish colonial order. Cullen’s hurried letter to Bolívar, it turns out, was not entirely mistaken. Mexican insurgents used indigenous revivalism to reframe the revolution as a restorative act that subverted colonial authority by appealing to the successes of ancient American civilizations."

Alexander Hertel Fernandez (WCAS '08) | Why the PRO Act is a victory for workers and our democracy

February 8, 2020 – from The Hill
"While most of the country has been focused on the Senate and President Trump’s impeachment acquittal this week, over in the House U.S. Representatives voted on a bill that, if made into law, would have major consequences for our economy and democracy. The House of Representatives just passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act, HR 2474), and it’s one of the most significant pieces of labor legislation to come before Congress in years. The PRO Act would make it substantially easier for workers to form and join unions and for those unions to negotiate meaningful contracts with employers."

Mneesha Gellman (TGS PhD) | Landmark Femicide Case Fails to Fix El Salvador’s Patriarchy

February 6, 2020 – from The Globe Post
"El Salvador has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world, and an abysmal human rights record protecting vulnerable categories of people, including indigenous peoples, those reporting crimes, those demonstrating political opposition to gangs or political parties, and women and girls who challenge entrenched machismo, or patriarchy."

Stephen Nelson | Banks Beyond Borders: Internationalization, Financialization, and the Behavior of Foreign-Owned Banks During the Global Financial Crisis

February 1, 2020 – from Theory and Society
"The eruption of the GFC and its aftermath, it would appear, decisively settled the dispute over the merits of foreign control of national banking systems in the critics’ favor. Yet the simple foreign/domestic ownership distinction cannot answer the questions that animate this article: why did foreign-owned banks play an amplifying role during the crisis in one region (post-communist Central and Eastern Europe) but not in another (Central and South America)? What accounts for the difference in how foreign-owned banks responded to a common financial shock across the two regions?"


Lida Maxwell (TGS PhD) | Against Terrestrial Political Theory: The Politics of Water and a Liveable Future

January 31, 2020 – from Johns Hopkins University Press
"When we code terrestrial covenanting as the work of politics, aquatic passage, consumption, and labor appear immaterial to politics, as sites of natural risk or uncertainty that simply must be overcome to have the futural politics of either Arendt or Locke. Coded as a "natural," prepolitical site of uncertainty and risk, the aquatic appears linked to femininity, the private realm, and maternity—experiences which also threaten the dissolution of self-ownership and sovereignty."

Michael Bosia (TGS PhD) | The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics

January 31, 2020 – from Oxford Handbooks
This Handbook contains chapters on the struggles for LGBT rights and the security of sexual and gender minorities around the world, with a substantial number of contributions from the Global South. It contextualizes the regional case studies within relevant theoretical frameworks from the sociology of sexualities, critical race studies, postcolonialism, indigenous theories, social movement theory, and international relations theory.

Mauro Gilli (TGS PhD) | A Mercenary Army of the Poor? Technological Change and the Demographic Composition of the Post-9/11 U.S. Military

January 30, 2020 – from Journal of Strategic Studies
"Is the American military a mercenary army of the poor, as some critics of U.S. foreign policy suggest? In this article, we analyse individual-level data of two national representative samples covering the period 1979–2008. We find that, in contrast to the accepted wisdom, the U.S. military no longer primarily recruits individuals from the most disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel. As a result, on different metrics such as family income and family wealth as well as cognitive abilities, military personnel performs, on average, like or slightly better than the civilian population."

Laurel Harbridge-Yong et al. | Rejecting Compromise: Legislators’ Fear of Primary Voters

January 28, 2020 – from Cambridge University Press
Legislative solutions to pressing problems like balancing the budget, climate change, and poverty usually require compromise. Yet national, state, and local legislators often reject compromise proposals that would move policy in their preferred direction. Why do legislators reject such agreements? This engaging and relevant investigation into how politicians think reveals that legislators refuse compromise - and exacerbate gridlock - because they fear punishment from voters in primary elections. Prioritizing these electoral interests can lead lawmakers to act in ways that hurt their policy interests and also overlook the broader electorate's preferences by representing only a subset of voters with rigid positions.

William Hurst | Winter CE Course, Uneasy Partners: US-China Relations, 1900-2019

January 7, 2020 – from Northwestern Alumnae Continuing Education
The United States and China are arguably the two most powerful and important countries in the world today. Their bilateral relationship is clearly among the most important between any two states. Yet, comparatively little attention is paid by the media, and even some policy actors, to the underlying dynamics and historical trends in this relationship. This course aims to introduce students to the basic dynamics of strategic thinking and policy-making on both sides, to give an overview of the history of US-China relations, and to discuss a number of key contemporary issues in the relationship in some detail. It also aims to introduce a conceptual and theoretical template for making sense of the complex dynamics of the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

James Druckman, John Bullock, et al. | College sports show interactions with people from other backgrounds affects policy attitudes, professor suggests

January 6, 2020 – from The Daily Northwestern
The study — which collected about 32,000 email contacts — surveyed NCAA athletes, coaches and school administrators. Respondents’ own identities and level of interaction with black and female athletes were compared with their approval of policies supporting those two groups. “The idea here is that the more somebody who’s not a member of that group interacts with members of that group, the more they’re going to learn their perspective and possibly come to support those policies views,” Druckman said.
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