PhD Job Candidates

Daniel Carrigg PhD'20
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Job Market Title: The Politics of Community Health Centers: Policy Feedback wit Elite and Geographic Effects
Abstract: Community health centers are a relatively small and understudied part of overall federal health spending in the United States. Nevertheless, they provide primary care for over 27 million Americans. This paper examines on the politics community health centers make through the lens of policy feedback theory. Specific focus is placed on geography and elite-level feedback effects, along with their interactions. Evidence suggests that over time, health centers have been resistant to multiple rollback attempts. Nevertheless, support for health centers has been inconsistent both in terms of partisanship and ideology, largely because as a policy they are capable of reacting to multiple political objectives. I conclude that the geographic distribution of funds could have significant effect on partisanship and ideology in elite-level policy feedback effects. 

Nicholas Geiser PhD'21 (defended August 2020)
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Job Market Title: Genetic Inheritance in Life-Cycle Approaches to Democratic Justice 
Abstract: Widespread condemnation following the birth of the first genetically-edited child in November 2018 demonstrates a continued reliance on the distinction between somatic and germ-line interventions in human embryos. These concerns over germ-line interventions, as well as certain worries about genetic prediction and the collection use of genetic information, reflect a general view that the genome is a morally special mode of inheritance. However, there are persuasive ethical and scientific arguments that this general view relies on a form of "genetic exceptionalism." A deflationary view of the risks and benefits of germ-line interventions follows from these skeptical criticisms. This paper argues that a deflationary view also points to a greater role for theories of social justice and justice between generations in the assessment of germ-line interventions. It proposes a general account of justice in the distribution of developmental risks and resources as part of a "life cycle approach" to democratic justice and several conditions for the use and implementation of germ-line interventions. 

William Kring PhD'19
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Job Market Title: Contesting the IMF?: Regional Battles for Global Liquidity
Abstract: Regional financial arrangements (RFAs) have existed for decades. Yet the proliferation of RFAs in the wake of the 2007-8 financial crisis and their increasing share of the global financial safety net raises important questions about the RFAs themselves, as well as their influence on the traditional role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). My dissertation develops an integrative theoretical approach to answer the project's central research question: to what extent do RFAs challenge the role of the IMF as an international lender of last resort? I develop an analytical framework that juxtaposes the institutional design of the RFAs with the public framing of the institutions to identify the variation across this class of institutions. Then, my dissertation identifies the conditions under which RFAs challenge the IMF, as well as the conditions under which the RFAs could cause the pocketed displacement of the IMF. This framework is then deployed to conduct three, in-depth case studies of the Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR), the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and to test the extent to which the RFAs have displaced the role of the IMF. 

Ferris Lupino PhD'20
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Job Market Title: American Stasis: Conflict, Order, & Leadership in Black Political Thought 
Abstract: This project looks to the canon of black political thought to find ways to rethink democratic politics and conflict. I find in post-civil rights thinkers' turns to classics a way to think about racial politics in the US. 'Stasis' is an ancient Greek concept meaning faction. It connotes both rest and unrest. This gives thinkers a way to describe conflict as both constraining and potentially enabling at the same time. I look at how canonical black thinkers from the long civil rights movement respond to stasis and note that they draw, in turn, on classical figures and themes to do so. Du Bois turns to charisma, Ellison to a tricksterism located in the figure of Odysseus, and Baldwin to Greek ideas of love. The aim of the project is to find in what seems like a conservative move—the turn to the classics—what might be a kernel of radicalism, and to assess the ability of the authors to secure it in this way. 

Cory Manento
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Job Market Title: Party Crashers: Interest Groups as a Latent Threat to Party Networks in Congressional Primaries 
Abstract:Recent research asserts that coalitions of party leaders, interest groups, and activists will cooperate to support the nomination of mutually acceptable candidates in primary elections. In this article, I utilize an original dataset containing FEC contributions and expenditures data for 1,648 candidates who ran in open seat primary elections for the U.S. House from 2006 to 2016 to measure the extent and effects of coordination among interest groups and party organizations. I find that Democratic-aligned interest groups and party leaders coordinate more often and with a more positive substantive effect than their Republican counterparts. Moreover, I provide evidence that, with the advent of super PACs in the second half of the 2010 primary cycle, a small number of interest groups can act as a latent threat to broader coalitions that unite behind a candidate by using independent expenditures to outspend the broader coalitions. This increased resource parity has tangible representational consequences. 

Rachel Meade PhD'19
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Job Market Title: Mobilization through Antagonism: Populist Identity Formation in Trump's American and Kirchner's Argentina
Abstract: Why are people in countries across the world lining up to support populist political movements and leaders? What does the outburst of populism mean for democratic societies? Scholars typically try to answer these questions by studying the traits of populist supporters or the speech of populist leaders. I argue that these methods leave out a crucial aspect of populist support—the collective process by which people come to identify as a populist "people". This paper draws on eight months of observation with populist and other political groups and over 150 interviews in the U.S. and Argentina, conducted between 2016 and 2018. In order to shed light on the role of the collective community in populist support, I analyze conversations in two populist groups—a Tea Party-aligned, Trump-supporting group in Michigan and an informal women's social group supporting left-wing populist Christina Kirchner in Buenos Aires. I found that members came to identify as members of an oppressed populist "people" through reference to known representatives of abstract populist enemies, such as local members of the political opposition. Additionally, their sharing of experiences of facing political discrimination as members of a populist group and their venting about political outsiders further served to cement their populist identities. Overall, I argue that populist narratives are effective because they provoke outrage against elites and other groups, in turn spurring on both increased participation and increased enmity between citizens. In this way, populism reveals the contradictory impulses inherent in democracy itself. 


Sean Monahan
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Job Market Title: The Right to Work and the American Left
Abstract: After decades of marginality, the idea of a federal jobs guarantee has recently returned to the center of American political debate. Although the discourse around the "right to work" today is generally synonymous with anti-union legislation, the jobs guarantee involves a competing concept with quite a long history in the United States: the right to a job. To better understand this concept, I turn to the debates out of which it emerged in the radical social movements of the nineteenth century. This paper examines language of the "right to labor" as it was introduced by Fourierist socialists and its relationship with the neighboring idea of a "right to the soil" of the older tradition of agrarian radicalism going back to Thomas Paine. It then explores the ways in which two very different forms of labor politics — the "plain and simple unionism" of the American Federation of Labor and the Marxist communism of the First International — both came to see the achievement of a federal jobs guarantee as a central political aim in the decades following the Civil War. The version of the right to work developed by the socialist and labor movements of the nineteenth century was later incorporated into the social liberalism of the New Deal and is beginning to make a comeback today — by examining the debates surrounding its emergence we can better understand the concept's intricacies today. 


Erik Peinert PhD'21 (defended July 2020)
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Job Market Title: Monopoly Politics: Price Competition and Learning in the Evolution of Policy Regimes 
Abstract: Many advanced industrial states have experienced a series of long-term policy alternations between favoring price competition and promoting the market power of dominant firms. Based on extensive, original archival evidence in the United States and France, I challenge existing conventional wisdom regarding "national models" of political economy and the origins of economic policy change. I draw on insights from microeconomics, psychology, sociology, and bureaucratic politics to argue that policymakers are drawn to simple mental models of competition or market power that forestall policy reconsideration and predispose leaders to see policies in simple terms of whether they promote competition or not. The endurance of, and eventual changes to, these policy regimes occur primarily because of accumulating diminishing returns to competition or market power, which are initially ignored by policymakers committed to the policy regime. As questions about the dominance of American technology giants rise in public salience, this research provides important theoretical and historical foundations to these ongoing political debates  
Michelle Rose PhD'21 (defended August 2020)
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Job Market Title: The Art of Democratic Living: Recovering Alain Locke's Politics of Aesthetics 
Abstract: The famous debate between Alain LeRoy Locke and W.E.B. Du Bois over the proper function of art in society—art or propaganda—is typically read by students of politics as a victory for Du Bois. Against the trends in contemporary literature that adopt Du Bois's penchant for propaganda and assume a strictly instrumental relationship between aesthetics and politics, my dissertation argues for a reassessment of Locke's take on aesthetics as a "tap root" for flourishing democratic living. Locke, I contend, is not merely defending "art for art's sake" as a creative freedom owed to artists, he is arguing for a more robust conception of democratic citizenship and collective democratic life which is predicated on the intelligent deployment of aesthetic sensibilities. The dissertation employs methods of historical contextualization, uses both published and unpublished materials from archives, and engages with contemporary interpretations. For Locke, romantic democratic theory in the vain of Walt Whitman and Frederick Douglass combines with the realism and pragmatism of Williams James, Walter Lippmann, and John Dewey, as well as the avant-garde spirit of Walter Pater and Emile Verhaeren to produce an original account of individual and collective agency, and the peculiar problems of value in democracy. Locke's thought speaks to early-twentieth century grappling with "the problem of social value," to use Christopher Lebron's phrase, or the "value gap," in Eddie Glaude's terminology, that remains in need of attention, response, and discussion today. Recovery of Alain Locke's politics of aesthetics enriches our understanding of democracy's pitfalls and promises and opens new possibilities for thinking about the relationship of affect, aesthetics, and politics in our contemporary moment. 

Jan Stockbruegger
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Job Market Title: The Logic of Restraint Why Hegemons Build Rules-Based Orders at Sea 
Abstract: Do hegemons build rules-based orders to constrain their power? I argue that rules-based orders are not a liberal fantasy. Yet hegemons do not construct such orders because they are strong, but because they aren’t strong enough to dominate other actors completely. Weak hegemons have incentives to constrain their power and to build institutions that regulate international behavior. This logic explains order at sea. I argue that ‘free’ maritime orders do not emerge when a hegemon protects freedom of navigation, but when it builds institutions – such as laws of naval warfare regimes - that restrict its ability to dominate the oceans. I provide quantitative evidence for my theory from a new dataset of maritime orders that includes all maritime orders over the last 500 years. I also shed light on the causal logic of my theory through an investigation of the maritime order-building strategies of Habsburg Spain,Britain in the 19th century, and the U.S. during the Cold War. My paper shows that military-economic structures force hegemons to exercise restraint and to build cooperative international environments. Rules-based orders are rare and short-lived, but they contribute to peace and security at sea. 

Timothy Turnbull PhD'19
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Job Market Title: Coercion and Coalitions: The Sources of US Sanctions
Abstract: This talk will examine the international and domestic determinants of US-imposed economic sanctions. Traditionally, the literature on economic sanctions has focused on such things as their economic or political consequences, or their overall effectiveness. Consequently, there exists remarkably little work on the sources of sanctions. To address this imbalance, I ask two questions. First, why does the United States use economic sanctions against some states and not others, and at certain times and not others? Second, what determines the types of sanctions used against a certain target? To answer these questions, I first develop a theory of sanctions imposition, arguing that both the decision to impose sanctions, and the types of sanctions chosen in a given instance, are a function of systemic pressures affecting the interests of both the state and variable coalitions of societal actors. Following this, I develop and test hypotheses concerning the imposition of four different types of economic sanctions. First, I use multinomial logistic regression on a country-year data set of US sanctions from 1960-2000 in order to examine those factors that make the imposition of certain types of sanctions more or less likely. Following this, I conduct four case studies of US sanctions in order to the mechanisms I propose as crucial in translating systemic pressures into sanctions outcomes: import sanctions against Japan, export and financial sanctions against India and Pakistan, an embargo against Nicaragua, and a case of failed sanctions against China. 

Sanne Verschuren
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Job Market Title: Imagining the Unimaginable: War, Weapons and Procurement Politics
Abstract: Why and how do states decide to develop different weapon capabilities within a similar military domain? Contrary to the existing literature, I argue that ideas, particularly those about the future, play a critical role in shaping states' decisions about military technology. Based on original archival evidence from eleven archives and seventy in-depth interviews with key defense stakeholders, I contend that domestic actors' ideas about future warfare—what I call the "images of warfare," consisting of actors' perceptions of the threat environment and their theory of victory—shape actors' preferences for particular military capabilities. Not all of these ideas, however, are equally influential. I therefore trace how those within the military, the legislative and executive branches, the industry, and the community of defense analysts bargain over their technological preferences. In order to transform their ideas into actual capabilities, I argue that actors need to build a cross-cutting coalition within the broader defense community around their "imagined security interests," while exploiting access points to the state. To test this theory, I use comparative case studies, in which I analyze the development of military capabilities around three major technologies in four different countries: air power (1920s-1930s), aircraft carriers (1950s-1960s), and missile defense (1990-today) in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and India. 

Gauri Wagle
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Job Market Title: Counterimagination and the Imperfect Politics of Freedom
Abstract: This paper develops the concept of counterimagination as a resource for the pursuit of freedom among marginalized groups. I draw on Arendt's notion of freedom but ultimately depart from Arendt to espouse an understanding of freedom that is more awake to the ways that marginalized groups experience their political worlds. Using the Civil Rights movement as an historical anchor, the paper argues that instances and spaces of counterimagination are important both because in themselves they make possible an experience of freedom, even if an incomplete one, and also because they are vehicles for social change and political transformation. 

Aaron Weinstein PhD'16
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Job Market Title: A Theology of Consensus: Occupy Wall Street's Civil Religion of hte Nones
Abstract: Over the last thirty years religious and political polarization has not only created the Religious Right, but a Spiritual-But-Not-Religious Left. These changes have had a profound and under-appreciated influence upon civil religious life in the United States. My job talk builds upon my dissertation on civil religion and publication in American Political Thought. It lays out the case for distinguishing between two forms of civil religion: the traditional, pro-status quo (drawing on Puritan thought) and critical, anti-establishment variant (which draws upon the Quaker tradition). After detailing historical and theoretical reasons behind such a distinction, I posit that the contemporary expression of the anti-establishment civil religion exists in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Far from purely secular, OWS epitomizes the Quaker civil religion: its ideals of radical democracy and individuality, as well as practices like the Quaker's own consensus-based decision making through the People's Mic. Ultimately, I argue that as American religiosity changes, so too does its expression through the nation's civil religion. 

Liza Williams PhD'16
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Job Market Title: Ethico-Political Practices of Immigrant Inclusion
Abstract: This project theorizes how democratic values and ethico-political practices can include immigrants into forms of membership and aid formal incorporation. My view moves beyond the universal logic of human rights to explain why democracy implies inclusion rather than exclusion of noncitizens. I draw on the concept of hospitality in the history of political thought to (re)vision what responsibilities are owed to immigrants seeking entry and fair terms of integration. I argue that resistance is part of hospitality, identifying how democratic public space, discretionary leadership and individual practices of welcoming can be vital to transforming moral ideals of membership.