PhD Job Candidates

Daniel Carrigg
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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. 

Matthew Hodgetts PhD'18
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Job Market Title: In This Together: An Ethos of Sustainability for a Greener Globe
Abstract: Increasingly, political theorists working on the environment have been attentive to the misalignment between our social ethos and the demands of addressing climate change. One means of addressing climate change is to confront this misalignment with a shift in ethos to one that emphasizes sustainability. This project provides an original contribution to this emerging discourse by developing an account of a novel alternative to the dominant neoliberal ethos that emphasizes growth and consumption. It argues that a change in ethos to one of 'in-it-togetherness' is not only morally desirable, but that it would provide both direct and indirect pragmatic benefits, ultimately encouraging green citizenship. To do so, the paper first develops an account of the ethos, providing an account of the factual, international, and intergenerational ways in which we are 'together' on climate change. It then addresses the moral desirability of the non-hierarchical and cooperative social relations and the additional direct and indirect pragmatic benefits that would result from sufficient uptake of the ethos, before concluding by tying the ethos into the discourse on green citizenship. 

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. 

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
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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 original archival evidence from eight archives across both the United States and France, I challenge existing conventional wisdom regarding "national models" of political economy and the origins of economic policy change. Showing that many states do indeed sustain policy regimes in favor of one or the other for extended periods, I draw on evidence and insights from sociology, psychology, and economics to argue that policymakers are drawn to simple mental models of competition or market power that both forestall policy reconsideration and predispose leaders to see policies in simple terms of whether they promote competition or not. I make a positive argument that both the endurance and eventual changes to these policy regimes occur primarily because the rising, secondary costs of competition or market power are initially ignored by policymakers committed to the approach. As questions about the dominance of American technology giants rise in public salience, this research provides important theoretical foundations to these ongoing political debates. 
Michelle Rose
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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. 

Noga Rotem
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Job Market Title: "Negatively in Love": The Politics of Paranoia and Repair From Arendt to Hobbes 
Abstract: My article, World-Craving: Rahel Varnhagen, Daniel Paul Schreber, and the Strange Promise of Paranoia, just published in the journal Political Theory, is part of my dissertation, which looks at accounts of paranoia in the works of Hannah Arendt, Sigmund Freud, Richard Hofstadter, and Thomas Hobbes. Each of these thinkers has his or her own reasons to be interested in paranoia. All are surprisingly ambivalent about it though, condemning paranoia as unworldly or delusional, but also finding some kind of dark illumination in it. I turned to them to seek critiques of and alternatives to paranoid politics but found instead that they risk a dangerous proximity to paranoia: Hofstadter finds in the paranoid method a critical virtue, uncannily like the virtues of scholarship – involving detection and the capacity to make surprising connections. Hobbes positions curiosity as a partner of the paranoid fear for which he is most well-known. And Arendt and Freud find in paranoid fantasy a strange but remarkable desire for a world. Without in any way underestimating the debilitating powers of paranoia as a mental illness, I draw on these thinkers to develop an account of paranoia's positive possibilities. Where paranoia endorses a worrying withdrawal from the world and a retreat into fantasy, I take the risk of appreciating its other side: its canonical connections to curiosity, detection, and world-craving show there may just be possibilities in paranoid politics upon which to build a decent democratic politics in the future.

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. 

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. 

Marcus Walton PhD'19
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Job Market Title: Resources and Recourses: The Origins of Entitlement in Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa
Abstract: In recent decades, contentious politics across the Global South, particularly in Africa, have frequently centered around claims to basic entitlements (social policies, consumer subsidies, public goods etc.). Moreover, depending on the country, these claims have repeatedly concerned access to specific goods and services more than others (e.g. food, housing, electricity, water, sanitation, education etc.). While these protests and social movements have emerged as key factors in shaping political reform, elections, and in some cases regime change, the extent of the variation between countries casts doubt on the common assumption that popular mobilization for basic goods is based purely on rational, economic interests (hunger, shelter etc.). My dissertation explores this phenomenon more closely by asking, ‘where do entitlements come from?’ I use 16-months of interviews, participant observation, and archival research tracing three cases of contested entitlements in Africa: bread in Egypt, fuel in Nigeria, and housing in South Africa. I argue that, in each country, the current entrenched pattern of contentious politics derives from the dominant political discourse, or frame, constructed in the early post-colonial period. In each country, the specific entitlements associated with this discourse repeatedly galvanize protestors, not simply because of common economic interests, but because given their social and historical significance, these goods mediate for shared conceptions of citizenship. 

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. 

Cadence Willse PhD'19
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Job Market Title: Battling Budget Cuts: Interest Group Mobilization and Inequality in Public Education  Abstract: The dissertation project explores the changing role of civic advocacy in American politics, focusing on the following research questions: how have group mobilization strategies changed over time? And what is the impact of interest group advocacy on public school finance? Employing a mixed-methods empirical strategy, the dissertation leverages archival research, social media data on advocacy and issue mobilization, and a unique national, longitudinal dataset of private and public spending in public education. The overarching goal of the project is threefold: first, I examine archival materials on the progressive politics of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA). The organization once served as a key voice in the progressive fight for juvenile justice reform, mother's pensions, and for adequate funding for compulsory education. Second, I examine the political scope of the contemporary PTA and other parent teacher groups, emphasizing the organization's singular focus on local school issues and fundraising efforts. Third, I quantify the distributional consequences of this shift towards fundraising: I find that parent teacher groups are not evenly distributed throughout the U.S., and this differential distribution of civic capacity and social capital augments existing structural inequalities in the United States. Private fundraising and public spending are positively correlated, suggesting that scholarship underestimates existing inequality in public school finance.