Spring 2020 American Politics Speaker Series

Jan 24: Alan Wiseman, Vanderbilt
February 12: Brian Richter — UT
February 17: Brandon Archuleta — USMA (a new addition since our last announcement)
February 26: Matthew Hayes — Rice
March 11: Zachary McGee — UT
March 25: Philip Moniz — UT
April 9: Angie Maxwell — Arkansas
April 29: Adam Berinsky — MIT

Buehler Wins SERMEISS Book Award

Matt Buehler’s book, Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa, has received the 2019 SERMEISS book award. The Southeast Regional Middle East & Islamic Studies Society (SERMEISS) awards this prize to recognize outstanding scholarship in Middle Eastern studies across any academic discipline in the social sciences or humanities.



Recent PhD Alumni Promotions, Prizes, Placements

Congratulations to our alumni on the following promotions, prizes, or placements.

Manuel Balan: promotion to Associate Professor with tenure; two multi-year external grants from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Alvaro Corral: 2019 recipient of the APSA Fund for Latino Scholarship

Oya Dursun-Ozkanca: promotion to professor of political science; College Professor of International Studies

Dennis Plane: Fulbright grant to teach at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Amy Risley: Promotion to Professor; 2019 Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching

Matt Vandenbroek (and co-authors): Honorable Mention for the 2019 Walter Lippmann Best Published Article Award from APSA’s Political Communication Section for the 2016 JOP article, “The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming.”

David Williams: TCU Political Science Department Distinguished Alumnus Award

Matthew Wright: 2019-20 John and Daria Barry Visiting Research Scholar in the James Madison Program at Princeton University


Recent Placements

Alec Arellano – Occidental College (visiting assistant professor)

Caitlin Andrews-Lee – Tulane University (post-doc)

Christina Bambrick – Clemson University (tenure-track)

Thomas Bell – Knox College (tenure-track)

Zachary Bennett – Michigan State University (post-doc)

Nadine Gibson – University of North Carolina, Wilmington (tenure-track)

Kyosuke Kikuta – Osaka University (tenured)

Carolina Moehlecke – Fundação Getúlio Vargas-São Paolo (near equivalent of tenure-track)

Luke Perez – Arizona State University School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (tenure-track)

German Petersen – ITESO (Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente) in Guadalajara (translated as Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education)

Jessica Price – University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia (tenure-track)

Andy Stravers – Rand Corporation

Joe Tafoya – DePaul University (tenure-track)


2019 APSA Awards

The following GOV faculty or projects are being recognized at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.

Comparative Agendas Project: Lijphart/Przeworski/Verba Dataset Award from the Comparative Politics Section

Dan Brinks and Abby Blass (The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America): C. Herman Pritchett Award for the Best Book Published on Law and Courts (co-winner).

Derek Epp (Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race, co-authored with Frank Baumgartner and Kelsey Shoub): C. Herman Pritchett Award for the Best Book Published on Law and Courts (co-winner).

Gary Jacobsohn: Law and Courts Section Lifetime Achievement Award

Fall 2018, and Spring, Summer 2019 PhD Defenses

Caitlin Andrews-Lee: Charisma Lives On: A Study of Peronism and Chavismo

Alec Arellano: Tocqueville and Mill on Doubt and the Demands of Democratic Citizenship

Christina Bambrick: Horizontal Rights: Constitutionalism and the Transformation of the Private Sphere

Thomas Bell: The Architectonic Constitution: Higher Order Principles and Separation of Powers Conflict

Zach Bennett: Making Virtue Reign: Citizenship and Civic Education in the Political Philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Alex Branham: Public Opinion, Partisanship, and Public Policy

Nadine Gibson: Understanding the Mechanics of Democracy: How to Improve the Quality of Elections in America

Kyosuke Kikuta: Bargaining Over Nature: Formal and Causal Analyses on Climate and Conflict

Andy Stravers: Pork, Parties, and Priorities: Partisan Politics and Overseas Military Deployments

Joe Tafoya: When Latinos Avoid and Accept Risks: The Effect of Risk Attitudes on Policy Views and Political Mobilization

Gibson and Shaw: Politics as Unusual

Nadine Ginbson and Daron Shaw and I published an article in Social Science Quarterly, “Politics as Unusual? Exploring Issues and the 2016 Presidential Vote” (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12595).

Conclusion: Relative to other Republican presidential candidates, Trump was more effective in tapping into anti‐political feelings prior to the Republican Convention. By the general election, issue perceptions of Trump were similar to those we see for most Republican presidential candidates. Feelings toward third‐party candidates, however, were more strongly structured by an anti‐politics dimension.

Burdine Chronicles – April 2019

Dear Alumni and Friends,

This newsletter is somewhat bittersweet for me. This is my last semester as chair, and thus my last newsletter. With that in mind, I hope to see many of you in Chicago at the MPSA conference. The Texas Reception is Saturday night, April 6, 8:30-10:30, in the Honore room. I hope you will give me the pleasure of handing you a drink ticket one more time.

As always, we have plenty to celebrate. Recently, I am especially encouraged by the success that our alumni and graduate students have been enjoying. For example, in Fall 2019, Steven Brooke moves on from Louisville to start a tenure-track position at University of Wisconsin-Madison, which I and my predecessor, Gary Freeman (being proud UW PhDs), have always maintained is the top department in the country. This comes on the heels of Brooke publishing his book with Cornell, Winning Hearts and Votes: Social Services and the Islamist Political Advantage. We have other exciting placement news as well. Ken Miller, coming off a Princeton post-doc, will begin a tenure-track position at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Miller’s article, “The Divided Labor of Attack Advertising in Congressional Campaigns,” is forthcoming in Journal of Politics. Christina Bambrick will begin a tenure-track position at Clemson; Thomas Bell a tenure-track position at Knox College; Nadine Gibson a tenure-track position at UNC-Wilmington; Kyosuke Kikuta a tenured position at Osaka University; Joe Tafoya a tenure-track position at DePaul; and Michelle Whyman a tenure-track position at Florida State. Matthew Wright’s book A Vindication of Politics: On the Common Good and Human Flourishing, has been published by University Press of Kansas, and Wright has some exciting news about a prestigious visiting appointment for 2019-20 that should be ready soon for public announcement. Giorleny Altamirano Rayo’s dissertation, “Securing Territory: State Interests and the Implementation of Ethnic Land Rights in the Americas,” won the Western Political Science Association’s best dissertation award, and Kate Bersch’s book, When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America, has been published by Cambridge. And Trey Thomas has won UT-Arlington’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

I am also pleased to note some of the many ways that our faculty members continue to impress. First, a note about promotion. In Fall 2019 four associate professors will be promoted to full professor: Dan Brinks, Devin Stauffer, Jeff Tulis, and Scott Wolford. Congratulations to these four most-deserving candidates! A quick word about two of these professors. Devin Stauffer’s book, Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light, will be the focus of an author meets critics roundtable at Midwest, at 8am Friday morning. And Scott Wolford’s new book, The Politics of the First World War: A Course in Game Theory and International Security, is available from Cambridge University Press. Other faculty members continue to make waves as well. Kurt Weyland and Raúl Madrid have published their edited volume, When Democracy Trumps Populism, and Tom Pangle’s next book, The Socratic Founding of Political Philosophy: Xenophon’s Economist, Symposium, and Apology, has an expected 2020 release from Chicago. Bryan Jones, Sean Theriault, and Michelle Whyman’s new book, The Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of the Policymaking Agenda Transformed American Politics, will be published with Chicago in June 2019.

In the category of “making waves,” Nate Jensen is something of a media phenomenon. Jensen and graduate student Calvin Thrall released in February a white paper, “Who’s afraid of sunlight? Explaining opposition to transparency in economic development.” Since January 2019, the College public relations team has collected more than 500 media clips mentioning Jensen’s work on economic development incentives, which far outpaces any other faculty member at UT. Bethany Albertson has won a President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, Zach Elkins’ project, Constitute, has been made available in Spanish, Amy Liu received a President’s Award for Global Learning to lead a team of undergraduates student maternal mortality rates in Europe, Russia, and the Caucasus, and Zach Elkins, Ken Greene, and Eric McDaniel have received Provost’s Authors Fellowships to support their current book projects. Finally, this Spring we hosted the Southern Political Science Association’s annual meeting. Organized by Chris Wlezien, this year’s Southern was the association’s most well-attended meeting on record.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to a couple of faculty members who are retiring or entering phased retirement after this semester – Jim Enelow and David Prindle. Our many thanks and best wishes go out to both of them. Another fine colleague, Paula Newberg, left the department at the end of the Fall semester to return to DC. We wish her the very best.

As my time as chair comes to end, I can’t help but to get a bit introspective. I became chair in 2013, and sent my first newsletter before that Fall’s APSA conference. At the time, we were coming off our most recent external review. The external reviewers noted that a 2-2 teaching load is standard at a leading research university, but that the number of students our faculty teach is well above the norm and thus our teaching load is “very difficult to reconcile with a scholarly career.” A key part of our teaching load, of course, is the introductory sequence of GOV 310 and 312. On this front, I believe we have made important changes that have lessened this teaching burden for the bulk of our faculty by introducing online courses. Make no mistake, we are teaching more students than ever. Our count for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 had us teaching more than 9,000 students across 310 and 312. However, we have succeeded in shifting this burden away from the majority of our faculty. Our online course offerings routinely teach nearly half of these students, while graduate assistant instructors and non-tenure track faculty teach the bulk of the rest. Every semester a few tenured and tenure track faculty also contribute significantly to this teaching load, but overall, I believe the innovations we have pursued, especially the online course offerings, have been a net positive for the teaching burden carried by the bulk of the department. Simultaneously, we have been a stand out department within the College given the disproportionate college-wide teaching burden we are carrying.

Two other areas that the external report flagged for improvement were faculty leaves and graduate funding. I will be the first to admit that the progress we have made on these two issues is not adequate, but I am pleased that we have been able to make some progress. Again, the progress we have made can be attributed to our online course offerings. In Fall 2019, two faculty members will receive a semester-long research leave that is a product of an agreement with the Dean that translates our large enrollments in online courses into extra faculty leaves. Moreover, beginning in Fall 2019 we are giving an across-the-board increase in graduate student teaching assistant stipends with money generated by online course enrollments through University Extension. To reiterate, in neither of these cases is the progress we have made sufficient. We would still welcome and benefit greatly from a systematic sabbatical policy. And our graduate students have been suffering for too long as their wages have not kept pace with Austin’s increasing cost of living. We continue to work to improve this situation, and will continue doing so. Thanks to some generous programs from the Provost, Graduate School, and College, in combination with department resources we have been able to allocate toward this effort, we are pleased that we have been able to make some improvements, even if we wish we could do more. Improving the graduate student experience here I am sure will always remain a priority.

Serving as department chair has been an unforgettable experience and a great honor. I appreciate all of your support over these past six years. While there were always surprises waiting for me around the corner, what has remained consistent is the professionalism and high level of scholarship and teaching provided by our faculty, students, and alumni. I want to thank all of you for contributing to the department’s record of academic excellence. I hope to see you in Chicago.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Joe Tafoya: Recent Publications

Joe Tafoya has two recent publications:

“I feel like I was born here: Social identity, political socialization, and deAmericanization,” in Latino Studies;

“Partisan Learning or Racial Learning: Opinion Change on Sanctuary City Policy Preferences in California and Texas,” in The Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.