Burdine Chronicles – August 2019

Dear colleagues and friends, 
I’m writing you for the first time as the incoming Chair of the Government Department. After six years of excellent service to the Department, Rob Moser has decided to step down, as he related in the last edition of the Burdine Chronicles. Please thank him, if you get a chance, for all the work he has done for the Department over the last few years. No doubt more than a few of you owe something to his dedication and effort. 
You can probably find Rob, and many other UT people, at the Texas Reception at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, which this year will happen on Saturday, August 31, 7:30-9:00pm, in the Omni Hotel Executive Room.
As you will see from the remarkable list of accomplishments below, the Department has a great deal to be proud of. Our faculty are winning teaching awards, and publishing and winning prizes for their research; our grad students are publishing and teaching, and as a result earning tenure track jobs at excellent institutions; and our alums are publishing, winning prizes, and getting promoted.

Our faculty have so far this year published at least seven books (that we know of — they don’t always share):

Richard Albert (a new addition to our excellent set of comparative constitutionalist faculty, with a primary appointment in the Law School): Constitutional Amendments: Making, Breaking, and Changing Constitutions

Daniel Brinks, with Steve Levitsky and Vicky Murillo: Understanding Institutional Weakness: Power and Design in Latin American Institutions

Henry Dietz: Population Growth, Social Segregation, and Voting Behavior in Lima, Peru, 1940-2016.

Wendy Hunter: Undocumented Nationals: Between Statelessness and Citizenship

Bryan Jones, Sean Theriault, and Michelle WhymanThe Great Broadening: How the Vast Expansion of the Policymaking Agenda Transformed American Politics.

Kurt Weyland: Revolution and Reaction: The Diffusion of Authoritarianism in Latin America.

Scott Wolford: The Politics of the First World War: A Course in Game Theory and International Security.

We also continue a long streak of winning teaching awards from the University of Texas. Bethany Albertson won the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award. Michael Anderson received the Leslie Waggener Centennial Teaching Fellowship, and Rhonda Evans (both faculty and alum) was awarded the Harry Ransom Teaching Award. 

And we’re taking home more than our fair share of the 2019 APSA awards. Please congratulate the following faculty on their prizes: 

The Comparative Agendas Project, directed by Bryan Jones, but with the collaboration of many faculty and grad students in our department, has won the Lijphart/Przeworski/Verba Dataset Award from the Comparative Politics Section (previous winners include Zach Elkins, for the Comparative Constitutions Project dataset)

Daniel Brinks and Abby Blass were awarded the C. Herman Pritchett Award for the Best Book Published on Law and Courts, for their book The DNA of Constitutional Justice in Latin America (co-winners).

Remarkably, Derek Epp and his co-authors were the co-winners of the C. Herman Pritchett Award for the Best Book Published on Law and Courts for their book Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race, co-authored with Frank Baumgartner and Kelsey Shoub.

And Gary Jacobsohn was chosen for the Law and Courts Section Lifetime Achievement Award. This trio of prizes from the Law and Courts section of APSA — the largest section of APSA — confirms the Department’s standing as a Public Law powerhouse. 


Perhaps the biggest news this year is our placement record. Twelve of our students landed tenure track jobs this year (one, at one of the most prestigious institutions in Japan, was actually a tenured position). Although we like to claim some credit for this stunning result, one look at their records will largely explain their success. Our students are well-trained, they’re smart, and they compile excellent teaching and publication records before they ever leave UT. Of course, Wendy Hunter’s excellent work as Placement Director doesn’t hurt either. 


Nor do our PhDs stop publishing once they leave. Our more recent PhDs have a long list of books to celebrate (in addition to other publications): 

Manuel Balan: Legacies of the Left Turn in Latin America: The Promise of Inclusive Citizenship

Matt Buehler: Why Alliances Fail: Islamist and Leftist Coalitions in North Africa

Oya Dursun-Ozkanca: Turkey-West Relations: The Politics of Intra-alliance Opposition

Jeremy Fortier: The Challenge of Nietzsche:  How to Approach His Thought

Shannan Mattiace: Politics in Mexico

Amy Risley: The Youngest Citizens: Children’s Rights in Latin America

Christian Sorace: Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi

Brian Wampler and Natasha Borges Sugiyama: Democracy at Work: Pathways to Well-Being in Brazil

Kristin Wylie: Party Institutionalization and Women’s Representation in Democratic Brazil 

As if we were short on prizes, Kristin Wylie’s book won APSA’s Legislative Studies Section Alan Rosenthal Prize.

And, of course, all this excellence is rewarded with promotions and other recognitions at their current institutions. Manuel Balan was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and has won two multi-year external grants from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Oya Dursun-Ozkanca was promoted to professor of political science, College Professor of International Studies. And Amy Risley was promoted to Professor, and won the 2019 Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching. 

Alvaro Corral is the 2019 recipient of the APSA Fund for Latino Scholarship. Dennis Plane won a Fulbright grant to teach at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México. 

Matt Vandenbroek (and his co-authors) won Honorable Mention for the 2019 Walter Lippmann Best Published Article Award from APSA’s Political Communication Section for their 2016 JOP article, “The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming.” David Williams was awarded the TCU Political Science Department Distinguished Alumnus Award. And Matthew Wright was named the 2019-20 John and Daria Barry Visiting Research Scholar in the James Madison Program at Princeton University.

I’m afraid this reads more like a laundry list than like a nicely polished narrative about what’s going on in the Department. And in fact, the lists don’t even begin to capture everything that’s going on here at UT-Gov. We have been and will continue to hire new and exceptionally accomplished faculty, we have just welcomed 15 more remarkable students who want to complete their PhD with us, we have an exciting list of visiting speakers lined up for the following year, and we continue to teach awesome classes to thousands of UT undergrads. Our current grad students are pursuing fascinating research, and you can expect more faculty and student publications, on topics that are central to our discipline and our politics. There’s a real sense of excitement here in Batts and Mezes (as you all know, our time at Burdine is receding into the distant past—should we change the name of this newsletter?). 
Please continue to keep in touch, to share your accomplishments with us, to reach out to your former professors and colleagues. We love to hear from you. 


Dan Brinks