Burdine Chronicles – October 2020

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The more perceptive among you will notice that this edition of the Burdine Chronicles is coming to you long after APSA – such as it was – is over. We could say, “COVID has upended the world and everything is crazy,” but instead we’re going to claim we have been waiting on a few developments to crystalize so that we can share the most up-to-date news with you (which turns out to be at least half true).

First, bucking the national trend, we are conducting two faculty searches this Fall – an open rank search in Racial and Ethnic Politics (REP) and a junior search in Methods. Please share broadly and let us know of any great candidates! Here is the link to the Methods ad. You can find the Racial and Ethnic Politics ad here.

Second, we have organized two election roundtables – an election preview October 29 at 5 pm (Sean Theriault, Bethany Albertson, Tasha Philpot, Jim Henson) and an election review November 10 at 5 pm (Daron Shaw, Alison Craig, Hannah Walker, Eric McDaniel).  Participation is open, but registration is required. We hope many of you can join us.

We recorded another installment in our ongoing, occasional Reflections series. This time we had a great conversation with Pat McDonald and Rob Moser on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and US foreign policy on the global system. We talk about the collapse of the consensus that sustained that global order for so many years, about how that affects US capacity to be a global leader, and how the pandemic has accelerated trends that had been brewing for years, and that underpinned the election of Donald Trump.

Closer to home, it turns out the Government Department at the University of Texas at Austin is not the sole occupant of its own universe. Like many other organizations and most of society, since last Spring we have been engaged in an extended conversation on diversity and inclusion. Raúl Madrid led a diversity task force this Summer and Fall to address these issues.

The conversation and the work of the task force have pushed us to innovate in a number of ways that we think will make us a stronger department. We are hopeful that the REP search mentioned above will bring an exciting new scholar to the department. With strong support from Dean Ann Stevens, of the College of Liberal Arts, we are working diligently to establish a REP research lab that will be co-led by Amy Liu and Eric McDaniel, and that will seek to blend Americanist and Comparative approaches to the study of Racial and Ethnic Politics. Although nothing is yet final, we are hopeful that the lab will become a space for innovation and collaboration across fields, one that will bring together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, and in conjunction with the REP Lab, we are pursuing a new postdoc program spearheaded by the university’s Vice Provost for Diversity. If we are successful, this program will bring two postdocs to the Department for three years, to work on REP research. At the end of the three years there may well be another position opening up in REP.

Given that you inhabit the same universe we do, I would love to hear about the conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion happening on your campuses. Drop us a line to share what you’ve learned and what you are doing differently.

Speaking of the Zeitgeist, we continue adapting to our new teaching environment in the age of COVID. This fall we have expanded our menu of made-for-virtual online classes. Sean Theriault and Bethany Albertson are teaching a new virtual-native elections class; Eric McDaniel and Daron Shaw are teaching their Gov 310 online; and Pat McDonald and Rob Moser continue to teach their very successful Gov 312 online. In addition, Stephen Jessee has developed a virtual-native Methods class that debuted this summer and is on again this Fall. These are all excellent courses we will be teaching online long after we return to “normal” – whatever that might look like. Many others have adapted their standard in-person classes to hybrid and online formats. This department is full of gifted and committed teachers and COVID hasn’t changed that. Our enrollments are up by nearly one thousand students over last Fall.

Of course, in keeping with tradition, we are here to celebrate the many achievements of our alumni, our students, and our faculty! You can find recent alumni news here, but let me highlight a couple of the less traditional contributions our alums have made.

Johnny Meyer, who earned his PhD this past year, received the TISTA Tech Veteran Academic Leadership Award for his role in creating Veterans’ Voices, a state-wide humanities project. Veterans’ Voices brings soldiers and civilians together to break the silence around the experience of war. The project is sponsored by Humanities Texas, and has received two consecutive grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In addition to publishing a NY Times Op-Ed on criminal justice on Native American lands (This 19th Century Law Helps Shape Criminal Justice in Indian Country), David Heska Wanbli Weiden (PhD 2007) has published Winter Counts, a crime novel that takes place on a Native American reservation. His novel was chosen as a Best Book by Amazon, Apple Books, Oprah Magazine, Time, The Washington Post, and other outlets.

You can find additional recent alumni publications here. They include books and articles in prominent journals, as well as op-eds and other contributions, underlining the wide range of interests our alumni have, and the contributions they make. Be sure to send us your publications, as I’m sure there are many more we are not listing, just because we don’t know about them.

Our alums are moving up and moving around too. You can find the news of alumni promotions and jobs here. And we keep adding to the alumni list. Please join me in congratulating recent graduates, and their placements.

But just because our former students are doing lots of interesting things doesn’t mean our faculty have been idle. You can find recent faculty accomplishments here, and you can stay generally up to date by checking in with our blog.

These are interesting times, for sure. The challenge for us is not merely to survive them, but to learn from them and emerge stronger than ever. In the Government Department at UT we are working as always to make our department better, through new hires, self-reflection and improvement, new approaches to teaching, and continuing efforts to produce research that matters. I’m sure you are all doing the same, and I look forward to hearing from you on the many ways in which you too are constantly innovating and improving.

Be well and keep in touch.

Dan Brinks

Burdine Chronicles – April 2020

Dear Alumni,

If this were a normal Spring, I would be writing you as the Midwest PSA conference gets under way. I would be sending some updates, notes about publications and promotions, the state of the graduate program. It turns out, we didn’t get to catch up with each other in Chicago, and these are not normal times. So rather than dedicating the whole letter to the department’s many accomplishments, I thought I might spend a bit of time telling you about our shared experience transitioning to online learning this Spring. I’m sure you all have similar stories.

Our department has some experience with and exposure to online learning; and many of you, no doubt, have the same. But none of us would have anticipated what we did just one month ago, transitioning quickly and completely to our new, virtual classrooms. We were very fortunate to have access to exceptionally helpful resources here at Texas during our transition. Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services (LAITS) has led the whole campus through the transition, creating and maintaining a Faculty Course Guide, and making sure Gov faculty were well taken care of. In addition, the Faculty Innovation Center created and maintains an Instructional Continuity site to give faculty some guidance. While we all – well, most of us – miss seeing each other in person, our department’s faculty have met several times over Zoom, first sharing tips for making the transition, and since, sharing our experiences, collaborating in unprecedented ways to help everyone make the move. We have also been fortunate to receive expert guidance from some of our seasoned online instructors. You can read their insights on this post by Bethany Albertson and Sean Theriault, and in this piece by Rob Moser, Pat McDonald, and Sarah Reed.

More recently, again led by LAITS, we fielded a survey returning nearly 1,000 student responses about their experience moving online with Government Department courses. The survey showed that nearly all our students have access to the technology they need to transition online. At the same time, however, many students are having some difficulty managing the transition. In particular, students are experiencing high levels of anxiety and uncertainty, not just about their classes, but about their finances and their future.

The survey and our response to what we learned from it are part of the approach we have taken throughout the crisis; from the beginning of this forced experiment in online learning we have tried to put the students first. The University, the College, and the Department have all worked to help those students most in need and to ensure our (virtual) classrooms remain accessible to all, accounting for the diversity of experiences and challenges our students face finishing this semester. Acknowledging that many students will have difficulty with internet connections, being able to meet at set times, or finding the right space at the right time to learn, we have encouraged either on-demand modules or recording of live sessions, in conjunction with relaxed attendance policies (for live courses), a move to low-stakes assessments, and maximum flexibility in grading options for the semester. Even as we, faculty, for the most part found the transition to be a little easier than we expected, we understand this transition is most challenging for students – and especially for students facing socio-economic or demographic difficulties. We will continue to do what we can to help students meet these challenges, while continuing to uphold our high standards for instruction and learning.

I sincerely hope all of you are staying healthy and finding some silver linings in your own virtual experiments. I would love to hear from you about the resources your universities have provided, the approaches you and your colleagues have taken, and your experiences thus far. I’m sure there will be tales of triumph and tragedy, before this is all over. And I hope we soon get to gather, trade stories, and celebrate our accomplishments.

I can’t let this opportunity go by altogether without celebrating some of our faculty’s recent publications. Gary Jacobsohn has published a new book on constitutional revolution; Daron Shaw has published a book on turnout myths; Shannon Bow O’Brien published “Transcending the Veil: Barack Obama’s Rhetoric and Strategic Racial Representation” in the new issue of National Review of Black Politics (with Natasha V. Christie); Cambridge University Press has just accepted J. Budziszewski’s Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Divine Law (his fifth commentary in the series); Jeffrey Abramson’s article, “Faithless or Faithful Electors: An Analogy to Disobedient but Conscientious Jurors,” will appear in vol. 69 (April) of the Emory Law Journal; and Zeynep Somer-Topcu recently had an article accepted for publication in theJournal of Electoral Studies (with Margit Tavits and Markus Baumann) — “Does party rhetoric affect voter perceptions of party positions?” I made my own small contribution with an introduction to a special issue of Humanity, entitled “Human Rights and Economic Inequality” (with Karen Engle and Julia Dehm), which includes articles by several prominent human rights scholars.

In final news for this edition, I am very happy to report on one promotion and two new hires. Beginning Fall 2020, Bob Luskin will be promoted to full professor, and two new assistant professors will join the department: Hannah Walker, in American Politics, and Nathan Gilmore, in Theory.

I wish you all the best in these unprecedented times, now and in the coming months. I know you are doing the best you can for your students and your institutions. I look forward to hearing from all of you about your experiences, the next time we are together.


Daniel M. Brinks, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Comparative Politics and Public Law
Chair, Government Department
University of Texas at Austin

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

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

Burdine Chronicles – August 2018

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I hope you will join me at the Texas Reception at this year’s meeting of the American Political Science Association. The reception is Friday, Aug. 31, at 7:30 pm. We’ll be in Back Bay B in the Sheraton Boston Hotel, and drinks are on me! We will be celebrating awards, and plenty of them.

Perhaps most notably, Jeff Tulis is being presented with the 2018 Legacy Award from APSA’s Executive Politics Organized Section for The Rhetorical Presidency. The award has been given three times previously, to William Howell (Chicago), Samuel Kernell (UC-San Diego), and Stephen Skowronek (Yale), and recognizes a “living author for a book, essay, or article, published at least 10 years prior to the award year that has made a continuing contribution to the intellectual development of the fields of presidency and executive politics.”

This is a huge recognition – I do not hesitate to say that no member of our faculty has written a more influential book than Jeff’s Rhetorical Presidency. I am of course likewise thrilled to draw attention again to Jeff’s new book, co-authored with alumna Nicole Mellow, Legacies of Losing in American Politics. Tulis will participate in an Author Meets Critics Panel on the book Thursday, Aug. 30, 2-3:30pm. One final note on Tulis – he has been invited to be one of four Commentators at this year’s prestigious Tanner Lecture at Princeton University. It is an honor bestowed on persons of the highest scholarly reputation, and it is now the second time Jeff has been invited.

In other exciting faculty news, I am thrilled to announce that Alison Craig is receiving the Carl Albert prize for the best dissertation in legislative studies from APSA’s Legislative Studies Section.

On the teaching front, HW Perry has received two of the university’s most coveted teaching awards – the Friar Centennial Teaching Award (click here for link to video of the traditional class ceremony), as well as induction into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. And Xiaobo Lü received the College of Liberal Arts Josefina Paredes Endowed Teaching Award.

As awesome as it is to announce these awards, I am perhaps more excited to report on the success of our young alumni and graduate students. And so, it is with great pleasure that I let you know alumna Calla Hummel has won two major paper awards. Hummel’s paper, “Disobedient Markets: Street Vendors, Enforcement, and State Intervention in Collective Action,” has been named both the Alexander George best article by the American Political Science Association’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section, as well as winner of the Comparative Political Studies Editorial Board’s Best Paper Award.

Regarding placement, our newly minted Ph.D.s, are settling in at tenure track jobs (Kentucky, Clemson, Davidson College, and San Francisco State), non-tenure track appointments (Toronto, Texas A&M, St. Edward’s University, and College of Charleston), and post-docs (Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Emory, Penn, Carnegie Mellon, UT-Austin, Missouri, and the Max Planck Institute). Congratulations to all of you!  Here is a list of all recent UT placements.

Finally, on the graduate student front, I would like to draw your attention to two recent articles by Christina Bambrick, one published in Publius and the other forthcoming in Polity.

Perhaps the heat is getting to me, but that is all I have for you now! Yet, you can read more about our alumni (here and here), graduate students, faculty (here and here or here and here), and recent PhDs. And, here’s a list of papers Longhorns are delivering at this year’s conference.

In conclusion, I do want to give a shout out to Neal Allen, who was quoted in Rolling Stone. I would be happy to be told I am wrong, but Neal is the first political scientist I know to make it into a Rock and Roll magazine.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2018

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I hope everyone has gotten back on track after Spring Break, and that you are all having a productive Spring semester. I look forward to seeing many of you in Chicago at the MPSA conference – the Texas Reception is Thursday evening at 6:30 pm in the Honoree meeting room. The reception is a bit earlier this year but, as always, I will be there with a fist full of drink tickets so please join us if you can. Here’s our list of Longhorn papers being presented at this year’s conference.

And while we are preparing for the Midwest conference, this is a good time to remind you, or inform you, that the January 2019 Southern Political Science Association annual meeting will be held in Austin. Chris Wlezien is the program chair, and many of our faculty, graduate students, and alumni are heavily involved as section heads, including Xiaobo Lü, Frank Thames, Alex Branham, Tim Werner, Cathy Wu, Rachel Wellhausen, Matt Rhodes-Purdy, Jonathan Lewallen, Michelle Whyman, Natalie Stroud, Zeynep Somer-Topcu, David Williams, JoBeth Shafran, and Trey Thomas. We hope to see many of you in Austin next year!

Here, in Austin, our faculty continue plugging away. But before noting our many accolades, I am happy to report another successful round of promotions. In Fall 2018 Patti Maclachlan and Tasha Philpot will be promoted to full professor (and Maclachlan will become holder of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Professorship in Japanese Studies), while Xiaobo Lü, Zeynep Somer-Topcu, and Rachel Wellhausen will be promoted to associate professor with tenure. I would also like to take this opportunity and once again welcome our new assistant professors – Alison Craig and Derek Epp, who were recruited through our recent search in Public Policy.

Regarding faculty accomplishments, we have a slew of recent, new, and forthcoming books (with more, not listed, on the way):

More generally, our faculty are generating quite a bit of attention out there in the world. Zoltan Barany’s recent Journal of Democracy piece on Burma made its way around the US embassy to Myanmar; Zach Elkins launched version 4.0 of Constitute; Eric McDaniel launched a podcast, The American Ingredient; Kurt Weyland and Raúl Madrid rejected fears of a Trump threat to liberal democracy in the current issue of The American Interest; and Chris Wlezien’s article about election polling error was viewed by thousands.

We have also won more awards: On the heels of his Burdette Prize for best 2016 APSA paper, Ken Greene has won honorable mention for the Sage Best Paper Award from the APSA’s Comparative Politics Section. Rachel Wellhausen has won the International Political Economy Society’s Best Book Award. And graduate student Zac McGee’s 2017 MPSA paper, “Keeping Your Friends Close: A Study of Punishment and Intraparty Insurgency,” has been named Best Paper Delivered by a Graduate Student at the 2017 conference.

Regarding graduate students, we have some exciting tenure-track placement news, regarding soon-to-be newly minted PhDs and a couple who have been out a few year on postdocs:

And our graduate students continue pushing the bounds of achievement. Most recently, EJ Fagan’s article, “Marching Orders? U.S. Party Platforms and Legislative Agenda Setting 1948-2014,” was accepted for publication in Political Research Quarterly.

As for our alumni, y’all continue to impress, and are on a book run of your own, including:

Naturally, many of you have recent or forthcoming journal articles too:

Of course, beyond publications, our alumni have been making other waves, in the form of prestigious grants, awards, administrative appointments, policy impact, and general public visibility:

  • Eduardo Dargent was quoted in the NYT and Economist about the resignation of Peru’s president
  • Erik Devereux is interim director of research and evaluation at the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore, MD
  • Danny Hayes won a 2018 Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in Teaching of Introductory Courses for his work overhauling the intro to American politics course at George Washington University
  • Shannan Mattiace has been named a 2018-19 Fulbright Scholar at Catholic University of Chile, and was part of a team awarded a Frank Guggenheim Foundation award for the project, “Criminal Violence and Indigenous Resistance: Why Ethnic Autonomy Institutions Deter Drug Violence in Mexico”
  • A program under Greg Michener’s direction, Brazil’s Public Transparency Program, swayed the Brazilian federal government to adopt a provision that will allow freedom of information requestors to conceal their identity (Law 13.460, article 10, paragraph 7)
  • Amalia Pallares was appointed Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Trey Thomas received a $71,000 NSF award to study how non-state actors coordinate with government during natural disasters

And finally, one note of congratulations for one of our alumni moving onto the next phase of her life: Patricia Caperton Parent retired in December from Texas State University’s political science department after 34 years. During her tenure there as Senior Lecturer, she taught multiple American Politics courses, supervised graduate assistants, and coordinated political science internships.

As always, it is an honor to be part of our community of faculty, students, and alumni. Please stay in touch, and keep up-to-date at https://sites.utexas.edu/government/. And remember, for those in Chicago Thursday evening, drinks are on me!


Robert G. Moser

Professor and Chair


Burdine Chronicles – August 2017

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer! Other than looking forward to a break in the heat, in Austin we are as excited as ever to get the Fall rolling, as we are recruiting two senior methodologists (including statistical methodologists and formal theorists) this year, and once again we have a lot to celebrate.

First, please join me in welcoming our two new assistant professors – Alison Craig (PhD, Ohio State University) and Derek Epp (PhD, UNC-Chapel Hill). Alison and Derek bring new blood to our Public Policy and American Politics fields, and we are fortunate to have them. Their hire rounds out a flurry of recent activity surrounding hiring and promotion. Within the last few years, Bethany Albertson and Amu Liu were promoted to associate professor, Mike Findley was promoted to full professor, and we hired Xiaobo Lu and Zeynep Somer-Topcu. Of course, we also hired John Gerring and Nate Jensen, and we are now hoping to take the next step with our senior methods search.

As to our faculty accomplishments – they are making my job easy here! Consider the awards we are receiving at this weekend’s annual conference of the American Political Science Association:

• Best paper delivered at the 2016 conference (Ken Greene)
• Best article in political economy (Rachel Wellhausen)
• Best article in comparative democratization and qualitative methods (Kurt Weyland)
• Law and Courts teaching and mentoring award (HW Perry)

This year, our recent graduate students are joining the party, too:

• Best dissertation in legislative studies (Michelle Whyman)
• Runner up, best dissertation in the comparative study of democracy (Matt Rhodes-Purdy)

Congratulations to Michelle and Matt on these awesome achievements! Michelle is in the second year of a postdoc at Duke, and Matt is starting a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis. Overall, we have a lot to be happy about with our placement record. This year, we placed 13 students in tenure track jobs, ranging from research positions such as at University of Miami to traditional liberal arts schools such as Colorado College.

Of course, our alumni continue carrying the torch with pride. Congratulations to Janet Box-Steffensmeier for being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; to Ernest McGowen for his promotion to associate professor and new book from Kansas University Press; to Roy Germano for his forthcoming book from Oxford University Press (Outsourcing Welfare: How the Money Immigrants Send Home Contributes to Stability in Developing Countries); to David Crow and Clarisa Perez-Armendariz for their article in Comparative Political Studies; to Chien-wen Kou for being elected president of the Taiwanese Political Science Association; to Neal Allen for his promotion to associate professor; to Justin Dyer for being promoted to full professor; to Josiah Marineau for his APSA small research grant; and to Ariel Helfer for publishing his book, Socrates and Alcibiades: Plato’s Drama of Political Ambition and Philosophy, with University of Pennsylvania Press.

We have also always been fortunate to keep some of our alumni around the 40 Acres, and two in particular have been providing the university and department some exceptional service. Rhonda Evans runs the Clark Center for Australia and New Zealand Studies, and this year taught the Longhorns’ Men’s Basketball team a course on Australia as part of the team’s trip down under. And Jim Henson, who runs the Texas Politics Project, has announced a new program that will allocate proceeds from the project to our graduate students in the form of competitive small research grants.

I also want to thank William Angel for sending in this brief memoir about his second APSA conference.

There are any number of additional faculty accomplishments to also draw attention to (and more general insights too!). This past academic year, Stephanie Holmsten and Pat McDonald won prestigious teaching awards; Tom Pangle (whose next book, on Xenophon, will be published early next year by Chicago, and who recently had two of his books published in Chinese) delivered a lecture this summer to the Siemens Foundation in Munich, Germany as part of their “Future of Democracy” lecture series; Terry Chapman in Senior Editor at International Studies Quarterly; Scott Wolford is Associate Editor at International Studies Quarterly and has a textbook contract he is spinning out of his course, World War I in Real Time; Chris Wlezien has a new National Science Foundation Grant, as does Dan Brinks; and Ben Gregg will hold a visiting position at Oxford.

I think we can all agree – it is a great time to be a Longhorn! The Texas Reception at APSA is Friday at 7:30 pm. Please stop by to say hi and have an over-priced drink on me. I hope to see many of you there and around the conference, perhaps at one of our faculty’s panels.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2017

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It is that time of year again when I have the great honor to update you all on the many accomplishments of the Government department’s faculty, graduate students, and alumni. I continue to be impressed with our community of scholars, and begin my kudos with a collective shout out for our department’s recent climb into the “top 20” in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report Rankings of political science departments. We are now tied for #19 with Cornell, Penn, and WashU. I am confident this rise is the beginning of a long upward trajectory.

Our students, alumni, and faculty continue producing world-class research showcased in the discipline’s leading outlets. For example, graduate student Anthony Ives has just had an article accepted for publication in Journal of Politics. John Gerring has a forthcoming piece in British Journal of Political Science. Our IR faculty have been all over International Organization with Mike Findley, Scott Wolford, and Nate Jensen each having published or forthcoming articles there. Meanwhile, we have had several hits in the discipline’s flagship journal, the American Political Science Review – alumni Natasha Borges Sugiyama and Brian Wampler have an article published in the current issue of APSR, and Lorraine Pangle has one forthcoming in 2017.

Our faculty continue shining in other venues too. Princeton University Press has asked Jeff Tulis to republish his seminal The Rhetorical Presidency with a new foreword and afterword as part of their Princeton Classics series. The Rhetorical Presidency will be the 30th book in the series and only the second by a political scientist. Jeff also has a new book, Legacies of Losing in American Politics, co-authored with UT alum Nicole Mellow that is forthcoming with Chicago. J. Budziszewski’s second book of a series of commentaries on the works of Thomas Aquinas is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Tasha Philpot’s book, Conservative but Not Republican: The Paradox of Party Identification and Ideology among African Americans, is fresh off the presses from Cambridge. Devin Stauffer’s new book on Hobbes will be coming out with University of Chicago Press. And Maurizio Viroli had two books on Machiavelli published with Princeton University Press last year.

Administratively, Dan Brinks has been named the university’s next Outstanding Graduate Advisor. Zoltan Barany is making a name for himself on the Arabian Peninsula as the non-resident Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Nate Jensen is breaking department records for the amount of press generated by his study of economic development tax incentives – most recently he published this commentary in the Dallas Morning News. And Kurt Weyland’s 2013 Journal of Democracy article on Latin America’s left wing populism just received substantial attention in The New York Times.

Also noteworthy, Bat Sparrow organized a symposium published in the April issue of PS: Political Science and Politics. Rachel Wellhausen, Jonathan Lewallen, and Peter Harris each contributed articles to “’Disembodied Shades’: Teaching the Territories of the United States.”

Alumni accomplishments remain strong too. Christian Sorace has published a book with Cornell University Press. Matt Rhodes-Purdy has an article in Comparative Politics and a book contract with Cambridge University Press. Bruce Peabody and Jay Dow have published books, Trey Thomas’ book is forthcoming, new books are also out by Susanne Martin and Muserrif Yetim, and we know more are on their way.

What’s more, our most recent graduates have been landing tenure-track jobs in large numbers! During the current 2016-17 cycle, we have placed 11 ABDs and recent PhDs in tenure-track positions here and abroad including at University of Miami, Wayne State University, Old Dominion, University of Tampa, Colorado College, National Taiwan University, and Victoria University (New Zealand).

Besides producing mountains of top-flight research, we are also providing interesting and challenging courses to thousands of students every semester. According to the most recent figures, the Department of Government teaches more undergraduates than any other department in the College of Liberal Arts, by quite a long way. At a projected 46,000 semester credit hours (over 15,000 students) for academic year 2016-17, we teach roughly 50% more undergraduates than any other department in COLA. Moreover, we are in the midst of redesigning our curriculum to include an expanded internship program, providing more experimental learning, more undergraduate research opportunities, and optional tracks to allow for greater concentration in particular areas of interest.

I also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to a couple of faculty members who have recently stepped down from active teaching – Bruce Buchanan and Gary Freeman. Our best wishes are with both of these stalwarts. But of course there is news on the other end of the cycle. Congratulations to Amy Liu for being promoted to associate professor, to Mike Findley for being promoted to professor, and to Michael Anderson for being promoted to senior lecturer.

I hope to see many of you at the Midwest Conference in Chicago in just a couple of days. The Texas Reception is Thursday, 6:30-8:30. As always, I will be passing out drink tickets as if they were candy.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – September 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I look forward to seeing many of you in Philadelphia this week! The Texas Reception is Friday 7:30-9:00 pm, in the PA Convention Center, Room 103‐A. As is hopefully now the norm, we have a lot to celebrate this year.

But before getting into that, I want to take a moment to mention a couple of our colleagues we have lost. This year we lost Janice May, a scholar of state politics and state constitutions, who was frequently called as an outside expert to advise state legislatures in the process of amending their constitutions and, among other things, was the first woman to receive tenure in the department. We also lost Kenneth Williams, who had been teaching at Michigan State since 1988. Many of us will have fond memories of both, and our thoughts are with them.

In April 2016 before MPSA, I wrote about the success of our faculty and graduate students publishing in premier outlets. But, in the few short months since then I have even more prestigious publications by our faculty to brag to you about. Tasha Philpot is publishing a book with Cambridge University Press, Conservative but Not Republican: The Paradox of Party Identification and Ideology among African Americans. Juliet Hooker has a forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, Theorizing Race in the Americas: An Intellectual Genealogy. Xiaobo Lu and Chris Wlezien have forthcoming articles in Comparative Political Studies, Wendy Hunter has one in Comparative Politics, and Scott Wolford landed one in Journal of Politics.

Now, let me direct your attention to similar levels of success of our alumni. More specifically, two alumni have published books this year with Cambridge. In May, Danny Hayes (with Jennifer Lawless) published Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era. And with a planned September release, Austin Hart has published Economic Voting: A Campaign-Centered Theory. See the full list of recent alumni publications here.

There is other exciting alumni news too. For example, Matt Buehler has been awarded a research fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he will work under the auspices of the school’s Middle East Initiative with Tarek Masoud. Another recent alum, Daniel McCormack, won the Graduate School’s Outstanding Dissertation Award for “Protection from Themselves: International Hierarchy and Domestic Politics.” Dan is in his second year of a prestigious post-doc at University of Pennsylvania.

And, unsurprisingly, two of our most distinguished alumni continue bringing home awards. Janet Box-Steffensmeier will receive the Society for Political Methodology’s 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, which will be presented to her Friday Sept. 2 at the Method’s section business meeting. Additionally, Jan’s article, “Examining Legislative Cue-Taking in the US Senate,” has won the Jewell-Loewenberg Award for best article published in Legislative Studies Quarterly in 2015.

And then there is Marc Hetherington, who has won two major book awards. APSA’s Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section has named Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics the 2016 winner of the Philip E. Converse Book Award. And the International Society for Political Psychology has named Why Washington Won’t Work the 2016 winner of the Alexander George Award for the best book published during the previous year in the field of political psychology. Please check in on the rest of our alumni news here.

Speaking of book awards, APSA’s political psychology section has named Bethany Albertson’s Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World as co-winner of the 2015 Robert E. Lane Award for the best book in political psychology. Bethany, along with Daron Shaw and Bruce Buchanan, were featured in the most recent edition of Life & Letters, the College’s alumni magazine.

I would also like to point out that the department continues its run of strong postdoc placements. Recently, Kyle Endres and Michelle Whyman received postdoc positions at Duke, Connor Ewing will be at the University of Virginia, while Rachel Navarre and Jessica Price are at Tulane. Kate Bersch has finished up her stint at Stanford and has moved on to a postdoc at McGill.

And finally, I know I have already noted this, but please let me once again offer our collective congratulations and deep-felt thanks to Nancy Moses, the Executive Assistant for the GOV department for several decades, who is retiring at the end of September. Nancy, you will be missed!

So, 2016 has been another banner year so far for the UT Government department and there promises to be even more great research and inspiring teaching to come this Fall. Please join us at the reception on Friday evening to celebrate. Drinks are on me!


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2016

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As promised when I last wrote in September, I am now able to announce what many of you already know – thanks to the university’s faculty investment initiative, we have hired two senior professors, John Gerring and Nate Jensen. Both will add tremendously to our department, and we are eager to welcome them here later this summer. I am equally excited to announce the hire of Graeme Boushey, who strengthens our public policy field and adds to our cluster of expertise on diffusion.

I am also incredibly pleased to inform you that we are in the midst of recruiting two more senior hires, again through the faculty investment initiative, to fill positions in American Politics.

Of course, these strong hires merely bolster a thriving faculty. Take, for example, the recent spate of our faculty’s published or forthcoming APSR articles:

• Juliet Hooker: “A Black Sister to Massachusetts’: Latin America and the Fugitive Democratic Ethos of Frederick Douglass”

• Devin Stauffer: “Of Darkness from Vain Philosophy’: Thomas Hobbes’s Critique of the Classical Tradition”

• Rachel Wellhausen (with Leslie Johns): “Under One Roof: Supply Chains and the Protection of Foreign Investment”

• Kurt Weyland: “Crafting Counterrevolution: How Reactionaries Learned to Combat Change in 1848”

And among our incoming faculty:

• Graeme Boushey: “Designed for Diffusion? How the Use and Acceptance of Stereotypes Shapes the Diffusion of Criminal Justice Policy Innovations in the American States”

• John Gerring (et al): “Demography and Democracy: A Global, District-level Analysis of Electoral Contestation”

And one by a graduate student (now newly minted Ph.D.):

• Lewis Fallis: “Six Portraits of Political Ambition in Xenophon’s Memorabilia”

In addition, we have numerous articles in other top outlets. Allow me just to name a few. Nate Jensen, our other new arrival in 2016, has a forthcoming article in AJPS. Terry Chapman has an article forthcoming in BJPS, Pat McDonald published last year in IO, and Scott Wolford has a forthcoming IO article. Mike Findley has articles in JOP and AJPS among a slew of recent publications. Wendy Hunter has published in World Politics, Chris Wlezien published two articles in AJPS, Zeynep Somer-Topcu and Stephen Jessee both have forthcoming articles in AJPS, and Amy Liu has a forthcoming article in BJPS. OK, that is more than a few but what can I say? It has been a good year.

In addition to these high profile journal articles, our faculty continue churning out excellent books. In the first part of 2016 alone, Zoltan Barany published How Armies Respond to Revolution and Why (Princeton), Ben Gregg published The Human Rights State (Penn), and Gary Freeman’s edited volume, Handbook on Migration and Social Policy, has been published by Elgar. In 2015, the department had books by Bethany Albertson (Cambridge), Jason Brownlee (Oxford), Bryan Jones (Chicago), Amy Liu (Penn), David Prindle (Routledge), Bat Sparrow (PublicAffairs), Rachel Wellhausen (Cambridge), and Scott Wolford (Cambridge).

Our faculty have won some impressive fellowships and awards this past year as well. Lorraine Pangle has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Other large grants were obtained by Dan Brinks (Ford Foundation), Mike Findley (National Science Foundation), Tse-Min Lin (Taiwan government), and Xiaobo Lu (MIT). And graduate student Caitlin Andrews has just received notice of a grant from the NSF. Later this week, Chris Wlezien will be honored at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference for winning the Pi Sigma Alpha award for the best paper presented at the 2015 meeting.

Speaking of Midwest, the Texas reception will be Friday, March 8, from 10-11 pm in the Empire Room at the Palmer House. We hope to see all of you there and, as always, I will be passing out drink tickets and would love to buy you a drink. More importantly, one of our distinguished alumni, Janet Box-Steffensmeier, will receive the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from MPSA’s Women’s Caucus. A roundtable will be held in her honor Friday, April 8 at 11:30 am.

In other exciting alumni news, Anna Law has received a grant from the NSF to study how US immigration courts decide gender-based asylum cases.

And in a new department development, I would like to give you a sneak peek to our latest initiative: a department podcast. In our pilot episode, we take you into Zach Elkins’ work on comparative constitutions. You can listen to all three segments of the pilot here: https://utexas.box.com/podcastpilot. As we grow, look for the podcast to be hosted at this address: http://sites.utexas.edu/connector. We also plan for you to be able to find us on ITunes U. Our next episode in the pipeline features Bob Luskin, Daron Shaw, and Chris Wlezien discussing the world of polling.

Before closing, I would like to take a moment to congratulate some of our recently promoted friends. On the alumni side, congratulations to Curt Nichols, promoted to associate professor at Baylor, and to Mark Setzler, promoted to professor at High Point University. As for our faculty, congratulations to Bethany Albertson, whose promotion to associate professor becomes effective this Fall, and also to Dana Stauffer, who will be promoted to senior lecturer.

And finally, I want to acknowledge a couple of careers in their final chapter, as retirement takes two truly special and unique individuals who many of you have come to know over the years, and who everyone can recognize for their many contributions to our department. Henry Dietz is in the homestretch of his final semester, as is Nancy Moses. Please join me in wishing both of these individuals all the best in the next chapters of their lives.

One last item. I would like to bid a warm goodbye to Scott Moser, who has accepted a position at The University of Nottingham. We will miss Scott, but wish him success in all his future endeavors.

Please remember to keep up-to-date at https://sites.utexas.edu/government/.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – September 2015 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The APSA conference is just around the corner and thus it is time once again for me to send out greetings, invite you to have a drink on me at the Texas reception (Thursday, September 3rd, 7 pm, Hilton, Union Square 22), and, of course, tell you about all the great things happening at the UT GOV department.

This is a time of much excitement and anticipation in the Department of Government. We are on the cusp of big changes carrying the promise of pushing us that much closer to our goal of being one of the country’s elite political science programs. Some of these changes are thanks to an influx of institutional support giving us the freedom to attract the discipline’s top faculty to Austin. Although we cannot make any official announcements just yet, I am confident the Faculty Investment Initiative (FII) launched last year will soon add some prestigious new faculty members to the UT GOV family. Stay tuned…

Incrementally, we have been improving thanks to the dedication of key department leaders and a steady commitment by our faculty and students to excel. For example, recently we have made some important improvements to our graduate program. Since becoming graduate advisor, Dan Brinks has implemented a host of reforms that are fine-tuning our graduate program and creating a more detailed, systematic map to help our students navigate their career path. Much of this consists of a renewed focus on the timeline and milestones of progressing through the program, ensuring, for example, that students are timing their research activities and publication submissions in sync with the job market cycle. Dan also undertook some simple, but significant changes to our admissions procedures, streamlining the process and making it more effective. Most importantly, we have directed more resources directly to our graduate students. With generous support from the College and Provost, along with investment of departmental resources, we have increased graduate recruitment packages and provided increased TA stipends for all our students.

Now, more than ever, the department is in a position to put diligent graduate students into a position of strength on the job market. On the back end of the program, our placement director, Wendy Hunter, has instituted important changes to ensure that our students are as well prepared as possible to excel when going on those critical job interviews. She has also made changes to our pedagogical training to make our students better teachers in the classroom.

For me, the proof is in the pudding. Last spring we admitted a new cohort of 18 talented students who have now arrived in Austin eager to start their graduate careers. Last year, we managed to place 19 out of 21 job candidates in academic positions (tenure-track, visiting professorships, and post-docs). Looking at this year’s list of job market candidates, I am struck by the pool of talent I see. I am also struck by the candidates’ breadth. We are producing scholars across a wide spectrum of the discipline – from international security, to electoral politics, comparative democratization, and the history of political thought. This breadth across the many subfields of political science has always been a positive feature of our department and continues to be part of our legacy as seen in this newest crop of job candidates. What’s more, the level of professionalization and achievement I see in these students leads me to believe that we are very close to some high-profile placements that, in the future, we might look back on as watershed moments in the department’s growth.

This work on the programmatic end is bolstered by continuing to do what we do best – research and teaching. At the APSA annual meeting Kurt Weyland will receive the comparative democratization section’s best book award – the third time since 2004 our department is taking home the honor. Indeed, we are cleaning up in the comparative democratization section’s awards this year, as Ken Greene is receiving the best paper award. On the teaching front, H.W. Perry received a Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award, one of the university’s most distinguished – this would come as no surprise to anyone who has had the privilege of being taught by H.W.

In other faculty news, I would like to congratulate Jason Brownlee on becoming the department’s newest full professor, and welcome once again our new faculty – John Bullock and Zeynep Somer-Topcu join us as assistant professors, and Wendi Wang is our newest lecturer. Thank you to all the alumni who remain in touch and share their good news with us. Here I will just recognize the latest promotions to cross my desk – Jeremy Teigen is now professor at Ramapo College, David Williams is professor at DePaul, and Greg Michener is associate professor at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, in Brazil. To all our alumni, please keep news updates coming in, and keep the publications rolling. I hope to see many of you at APSA, either Thursday night, 7pm at the Texas Reception, or at one of the many presentations with UT connections throughout the conference.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2015 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Among the many responsibilities of being chair, taking a few moments to brag about our department is one of my favorites. And this go-around, there is plenty to brag about, beginning with our faculty’s publication record.

In the past year we have published books with Cambridge, Chicago, Oxford, and Penn, covering topics and regions spanning the discipline and globe. Bat Sparrow’s biography of Brent Scowcroft has drawn national attention, including reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

With five articles accepted in the American Political Science Review, including graduate student Lewis Fallis’ “Six Portraits of Political Ambition in Xenophon’s Memorabilia” and alum Aaron Herold’s “Tocqueville on Religion, the Enlightenment, and the Democratic Soul,” and six articles in AJPS, our journal record can only impress. We have also placed numerous articles in other noteworthy journals, including International Organization, BJPS, Comparative Politics, International Studies Quarterly,Perspectives on Politics, Political Science & Politics, Political Behavior, Electoral Studies, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Journal of Democracy.

Our graduate students have been following suit in producing quality work. In addition to the APSR article referenced above, two examples are the awards won by Peter Harris and Daniel McCormack. Peter Harris won the 2014 Marvin Gelber Essay Prize for the best article by a junior scholar in a volume of International Journal, and McCormack won the Stuart A. Bremer Award for the best graduate student paper delivered at the 2014 Peace Science Society meeting. These students’ success on the job market is not surprising. Peter has a tenure track position at Colorado State University, and McCormack has a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Pennsylvania’s Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics.

We have placed other students this year in postdocs at Harvard, Stanford, McGill, Tulane, and Australian National University, and placed students in tenure track positions at Louisville, UT-Arlington, and Western Carolina. Students received tenure track job offers from Barnard, Singapore National University, and Illinois-Springfield. We also interviewed at a diverse group of schools, including Georgia, LSU, Georgetown, LSE, Providence, William & Mary, West Virginia, Johns Hopkins, Brandeis, College of the Holy Cross, UNC-Asheville, and Miami of Ohio.

This year has also seen increasing graduate student entrepreneurship. This is most evidenced by our first student-organized public law conference, spearheaded by Connor Ewing and Robert Shaffer. The two-day conference brought together leading emerging scholars from around the country and our distinguished faculty served as discussants. Conference papers were meant to bridge the intersection of political science, law, and public policy, something Shaffer and Ewing began in 2013 when they launched a public law lunch series to strengthen connections between our department, the law school, and LBJ School.

Graduate student efforts like this are supported by enterprising faculty whose research agendas bring new opportunities. Keeping with public law, Zach Elkins and his Constitute project has a team of graduate students in constant motion, working on various comparative constitutionalism projects. Mike Findley’s Innovations for Peace and Development Lab keeps about 50 graduate and undergraduate students busy with research projects. In fact, we have five undergraduate students presenting posters at the Midwest conference – all projects coming out of Findley’s lab. Further, Bryan Jones continues to maintain a bustling fifth floor in Mezes Hall with the Policy Agendas Project, and, in conjunction with Sean Theriault, the Pickle Research Program offers our undergraduates unique research experience. Additionally, we now have routinized department workshops in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and experiments, all of which have added tremendously to the department’s vivacity and intellectual vigor.

Anchoring all these activities is faculty retention and recruitment, and there is more good news on this front. Jason Brownlee’s promotion to professor has been approved, and we have at least two new assistant professors joining us in the Fall — Zeynep Somer-Topcu, from Vanderbilt, and John Bullock, from Yale. But we have more hiring to come! The department has been selected by the Provost to participate in a targeted program to raise the university’s profile. As part of this faculty investment initiative, the department will be making up to 10 senior-level hires. We began this process with a search in international studies and are targeting three top-flight scholars. So, stay tuned… We are losing one colleague — Terri Givens received promotion to professor, but she is returning to the west coast to be Provost at Menlo College. We will miss Terri, but wish her all the best at Menlo.

On to some more awards! At Saturday evening’s MPSA business meeting, Rachel Wellhausen will receive an award (with Leslie Johns, UCLA) for the 2014 best paper in international relations. Among our alumni, last year, David Crockett received Trinity University’s Scott Faculty Fellowship for outstanding teaching and advising. This year, Oya Dursun-Ozkanca won Elizabethtown College’s Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence (Oya is the award’s first recipient). Finally, we have some repeat winners! Manuel Balan, for the second year running, has won two best course prizes at McGill: best comparative politics course and best political science course. And once again, Danny Hayes beat out John Sides for GW’s best professor award.

For all of you who will be at Midwest, the Texas Reception will be Friday night, 10:00-11:30 pm in the Monroe Room. I hope to see you there!

Please keep up to date with department news at this site — sites.utexas.edu/government — and please let us know what you are up to!


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – August 2014 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

After a slow, relatively cool start, and with much of the country perhaps anticipating autumn, summer has finally dug into Austin. Is it as hot as you remember? No. It is hotter, and more humid, which leaves me with little else to do but brag about all the great work y’all have been doing.

As you hopefully know at this point, this week Paula Muñoz will receive APSA’s Juan Linz Best Dissertation Award. This is the first time I can recall our department winning such a prestigious dissertation award from APSA. Look for Paula’s article, “An Informational Theory of Campaign Clientelism: The Case of Peru,” in the October issue of Comparative Politics. In other illustrious APSA news, Barbara Romzek, Dean of Public Affairs at American University (and UT PhD, 1979), is receiving the John Gaus Award in recognition of “a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in the joint tradition of political science and public administration.” Barbara delivers the Gaus lecture Friday, Aug. 29 at 6:15 pm in the Thurgood Marshall Ballroom South. As for our faculty, John McIver will receive the State Politics and Policy section’s inaugural “Malcolm Jewell Enduring Contribution” Award, for Statehouse Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1993, co-authored with Robert Erikson and Gerald Wright). In 2010 this book was recognized with the Philip E. Converse Award, at which time the committee wrote, “sometimes a book changes permanently the way we understand the world.” You may also have noted that, earlier this summer, Bethany Albertson was announced as a winner of the Political Methodology Harold F. Gosnell Prize.

On the publication front, the record of our alumni is no less impressive. Eduardo Dargent’s Technocracy and Democracy in Latin America is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. This summer, Brian Arbour published his first book, Candidate Centered Appeals: Political Messages, Winning Personalities, and Personal Appeals (Palgrave). Harvey Kline’s Fighting Monsters in the Abyss: The Second Administration of Álvaro Uribe Velez, has been accepted for publication by the University of Alabama Press, and Sonia Alianak published The Transition Toward Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised? (Edinburgh University Press). Steven Taylor’s book (with Matthew Shugart, Arend Lijphart, and Bernard Grofman), A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective, is forthcoming, this October, from Yale University Press.

Several of you have also received noteworthy appointments or grants. Most notably, Justin Dyer has been appointed director of the Kinder Forum on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. Meanwhile, Greg Michener received a $135,000 grant from the Open Society Foundation. And, straddling the alumni-faculty divide, Bryan Jones is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Aarhus University – look for more about this in the coming weeks.

As you can see, we have a lot to celebrate! And I have not even mentioned that Sean Theriault and Daron Shaw each won yet another teaching award! Hope to see everyone at APSA. Remember, the Texas Reception is Friday evening starting at 9:30 pm in the Marriott Thurgood Marshall Ballroom North.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2014 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

When I last wrote to you, I noted excitement and optimism about forging ahead as I transitioned into the chairmanship. I am happy to report that the momentum continues. First, we are very happy that Maurizio Viroli has made it to campus, teaching his first courses this semester. Recruited as one of our transformative hires, Maurizio is going to add tremendously to our intellectual community, and I hope you join me in welcoming him. We are also very excited that Michael Rivera has agreed to fill our Latino Politics search, as part of a joint hire with the Center for Mexican American Studies. Finally, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we have filled our longstanding need for a China specialist with the hire of Xiaobo Lü. Xiaobo comes to us from the Bush School and, if you know me, you know I am happy just to beat A&M at anything. Fortunately, Xiaobo is also a young scholar of the highest quality, a specialist in the distributive politics of development and Chinese politics, and international and comparative political economy more broadly. We could not be more excited.

Which brings me to my main point, which goes without saying and is nothing you have not known for some time: The job market is excruciatingly competitive. In our comparative politics assistant professor search, our top 19 candidates had, on average, four peer-reviewed publications, with others under review and/or in R&R. Many of these were in top journals. We are in one heck of a bind. Increasingly, we measure our success solely through our ability to place our graduate students in good, tenure-track jobs. But while we seemingly are on a continuous upward trajectory on other metrics — such as quality of publications, external fellowships won — and are recruiting stronger and stronger candidates, the job market remains a serious obstacle. That is not to say we do not have victories. This year, for example, Austin Hart accepted a tenure-track position at American University, Adam Myers did the same at Providence College, Rachel Sternfeld has a tenure-track offer at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Kody Cooper has a postdoc at Princeton. These are significant placements, and most of our graduates wind up with, at a minimum, respectable positions in academia. But we are never satisfied, and there never seem to be enough jobs to go around.

With Dan Brinks the new graduate advisor, and Wendy Hunter taking over as placement director and pouring her energy into that position, we have a renewed focus on placement throughout the program. But we need your help, to whatever extent possible. We have many talented and energetic new Ph.Ds who are looking for academic jobs. If your department still needs to hire for next year — even for a one-year position — please think of your fellow alumni as a possibility.

We have already had some great participation from some of you. Through Skype, Nicole Mellow participated in one of our job market panels earlier this year; Nicole focused on the job search specific to liberal arts colleges. Some of you also shared samples of your job market cover letters that our students are now able to read through and use as templates if they choose. These are all priceless contributions, and we value them as much as actual offers of employment. We hope we can engage more of you in the coming years, and please come forward with any ideas for how you might get involved. We are also interested in non-academic career paths. For any leads about job opportunities or “soft” contributions, please contact Wendy Hunter at wendyhunter@austin.utexas.edu.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge our hard-working faculty, who continue garnering accolades for their teaching. Just this week the Graduate School announced Tom Pangle as this year’s recipient of the university-wide Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. Earlier this year, Eric McDaniel and Bruce Buchanan received Silver Spurs Teaching Fellowships. And Sean Theirault was named by the Texas Exes as a 2014 Top Ten best and most inspiring professor, which came on the heels of Theriault’s appointment as a Provost Teaching Fellow. Congratulations to my most-deserving colleagues!


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Goodbye and Good Luck – December 2013 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As political scientists, we are well aware that words, spoken and written, are often devoid of meaning. I would forgive you, therefore, if you doubt the words I would use to describe much of what is happening in the Department of Government these days. Words such as ‘innovation’, ‘creativity’, ‘imagination’, ‘bold’, ‘daring’, and, even, ‘fun’. But I believe quite strongly our department demonstrates that words often do describe reality, without hyperbole.

The Government Department is not simply riding the wave of online learning, we are, to borrow a surfer term, ripping it! Our big debut happened this semester, and I am overjoyed to report that our online GOV 310L, taught by professors McDaniel and Shaw, is a huge success. The online 310L adopted the TOWER (Texas Online World of Educational Research) method developed for the university’s Psychology 301. The method combines a real-time, physical classroom with live video broadcasting. As of this writing, 960 students have registered for the course’s Spring semester! The course is also available through University Extension. And, we are developing additional online courses, such as GOV 312L. What is truly exciting is we are finding that not only are we able to educate more students at once, but the technology is actually helping our professors enrich the curriculum and enhance the learning experience.

In the traditional classroom, courses such as Bat Sparrow’s “The Politics of Food” highlight the reach of our faculty and our ability to stretch the bounds of a traditional course in liberal arts and political science. We always tell our students that politics affect their lives, and we are always searching for better ways to demonstrate this in concrete ways. By focusing on the food we eat every day, Sparrow has found a delivery mechanism to powerfully discuss the interaction of politics and students’ day-to-day lives.

Beyond the classroom, Zach Elkins is proof of our department’s global reach. Supported by Google Ideas and the university’s IC² Institute, the Constitute website launched Sept. 23, 2013 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Since his arrival to Batts Hall in 2008, Elkins has been employing an army of graduate students who have both been helping build one of the world’s premier open-access databases and joining Elkins in research projects exploiting the data. Here is a link to one of the more recent pieces Elkins has written about comparing constitutions. Learn more about Constitute on Game Changers, premiering Dec. 10 on the Longhorn Network.

At risk of you tiring of me saying it, these are exciting times in the Department of Government, and we hope you are enjoying the ride.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – August 2013 Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Greetings from your new chair! We have enjoyed seven years of progress under Gary Freeman’s leadership, and I hope for nothing less than continuing to push the department forward. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received to date, and am excited about working with all of you to take the department to new heights.

This is a time of transition in the department, but one being buoyed by several positive developments. On the one hand, we are losing or have lost several faculty in a short period of time. Gretchen Ritter has become a dean at Cornell, Catherine Boone and Peter Trubowitz have accepted positions at the London School of Economics, Jason Casellas has accepted a tenured position at The Univerisity of Houston, and, in January, Sam Workman will move to Norman and become a Sooner. We have also seen a generation of scholars begin passing at an accelerated rate. One-time Longhorn James Soukup died last year, and earlier this year another one-time member of the department, Norm Frohlich, died after suffering a stroke. And within one week this month we lost our friends David Braybrooke and Bill Livingston. John Higley is now fully retired (although he just completed another book), and Henry Dietz, who just won a Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award, is entering phased retirement.

On the other hand, the work Gary Freeman did as chair is really starting to pay dividends. Despite the college and university still reeling from the $92 million cut in state appropriations two legislative sessions ago, Dean Diehl has approved two new hires for us this year, both at the junior level, one in comparative politics and one in public policy. We also have strong signals about opportunities for joint hires with other units on campus. These multiple new hires will further boost the new hires now settling in: Michael Findley in IR, Rachel Wellhausen in IR, Chris Wlezien as Hogg Professor in American and Policy, Maurizio Viroli in Theory, and Paula Newberg heading up the chair in Pakistan studies.

We are extremely grateful to the Dean for his continued support, especially on the heels of our very positive external review, conducted last Spring by Chris Achen (Princeton), Arlene Saxonhouse (Michigan), and Jim Stimson (UNC). Although the reviewers shared some concerns with unique aspects of our governance and questioned certain modus operandi, they were unequivocal in their praise: “[senior hires, such as Wlezien] have been complemented by excellent junior level hiring in each of the fields. If these people stay on board, UT’s future is brighter than its past … UT has been making good decisions with better than normal consistency … many of the major impediments to excellence are the result of financing and curricular decisions at the university level and especially at the state level.” We were also pleased that the response from the Provost’s Office was in agreement with the review, that Freeman’s leadership has “had a positive impact on the department” [and] “We note that the upper trajectory highlighted by the [External Review Committee] has been seriously curbed by our budget constraints.” It is therefore particularly encouraging that Dean Diehl has stepped in to ensure we keep moving in the right direction.

What makes me happiest, however, is that I can say this knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that we could hardly be more deserving. If awards handed out at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association are any indicator, we are on the cusp of something big. Bryan Jones is receiving the Norton Long Career Achievement Award, Chris Wlezien the Seymour Lipset Award, Rachel Wellhausen the Mancur Olsen Award, Kurt Weyland two best article awards and Michael Findley two best paper awards, Zach Elkins the Lijphart/Prezeworski/Verba Data Set Award, and one of our most distinguished alums, Janet Box-Steffensmeier is receiving a career achievement award in Political Methodology. Furthermore, Timothy Werner, an assistant professor in the new McCombs School program — Business, Government and Society — is receiving an Emerging Scholars Award from the Political Organizations and Parties section. Wow, and congratulations to all!

We also continue providing our students with first-class courses and instruction, as showcased by our faculty members’ continued success garnering teaching awards. This year, in addition to Henry Dietz receiving the Regents’ Award, our distinguished lecturer, Alan Sager, won a Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence, and Sean Theriault was selected by The Eyes of Texas to receive the Glenn Maloney Award for outstanding contributions to student life. And this is to say nothing of all the work our faculty, students, and alumni churn out on a regular basis. Keep up with everything (links are embedded in this letter and also posted below). And keep up with each other at APSA! The Texas Reception is Friday at 10 pm, and, of course, quite a few of us are presenting — here is the list we have compiled.

Finally, we have also been moving forward with promotions. Raul Madrid and David Leal join me in being promoted to full professor, and Stephen Jessee has joined the ranks of the tenured faculty. It is hard to think of three more deserving colleagues. I am also happy to congratulate Ami Pedahzur on his appointment as the Arnold Chaplik Professor in Israel and Diaspora Studies. And, it is my distinct honor to announce to you that one year ago Daron Shaw was named to the Frank Erwin Chair in State Government. As many of you will know, this is the chair long held by Dean Burnham, and one which we tried very hard to fill since Dean’s retirement. As it turns out, I know you will agree that Daron is the perfect choice, and we couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out.

There is no denying that we are entering a new chapter in the department’s history, but I hope you will agree that, while we will continue managing within the new budgetary realities, we have every reason to be optimistic and excited as we forge ahead.


Robert G. Moser
Professor and Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2012

Dear Alumni and Friends,

There is ample evidence in this issue that our current faculty and graduate students as well as our alumni are forging remark- able records of important research and publication, outstanding teaching, and critical service to their departments and institutions. Research, teaching, and service are the three benchmarks by which academic institutions measure the per- formance of faculty. They are the bases of promotion, merit-based raises, post tenure review, and all the other occasions when we are asked to evaluate the work of our colleagues.

Conventional wisdom has it that publica- tion is what really matters in the final analysis; lip service alone being accorded teaching and service. My long perspective stretching from the boom years of the six- ties through the hard times of the seven- ties, the hard times of the eighties, the hard times of the nineties, and the harder times of the new century leads me to a number of observations on these issues.

The reward structure of academia changes over time as the economic and political context evolves. Those individuals fortu- nate enough to complete graduate school and enter the job market in the sixties were in a position to choose the schools they would move to and, at the first sign of unhappiness, pack their bags and move on. This was truly the golden age of academic life. That all began to change about 1973-74 (as luck would have it just when I entered the market) when the great postwar economic boom came to an end.

Those days are gone forever. In their place are shrinking job markets, increas- ing competition for scarce resources, and growing demands for more efficiency, accountability, and productivity, all to be accomplished by fewer doing more with less. In some places the value of research is under attack, traditional modes of classroom instruction are being contested, and administrative burdens are escalating at alarming rates. Everywhere it seems the prestige once accorded the professoriate is fading away.

Academia may be a hotbed of left liberal claptrap, as many critics claim (by my count our department leans left but in- cludes a significant minority of unabashed Republicans, libertarians, devout believ- ers, and a few that defy classification), but one thing that brings revolutionaries and reactionaries together is resistance to changes in the organization of academic life. This resistance slows change but does not prevent it in the long run. Universities like all institutions must adapt to changes in their environment or die.

Despite these unhappy developments, de- spite small or nonexistent merit increases, and mushrooming bureaucratic burdens, our department members continue to advance political science through their research, take pride in excellent teaching, and perform many uncompensated service duties out of sheer loyalty to the depart- ment and commitment to self government. It is heartening to see that so many of our alums are doing similar things in their departments; somehow managing to pro- duce first rate scholarship, award winning teaching, and commendable service under circumstances far less than ideal. Moreover, large numbers of prospective grad students queue up to prepare themselves to follow in your inspiring footsteps.

Whatever the complaints we might all have, college and university teaching, the life of the mind if I may, continues to attract persons of curiosity, imagination, and dedication. No matter that academic life has been described as an unending series of minor humiliations, it still affords its members unusual freedom to explore ideas and set their own agenda. It is worth remembering, as David Leal recently reminded our executive committee, the university is not exactly a coal mine.

— Gary P. Freeman

Burdine Chronicles – August 2011

Dear Alumni and Friends,

As the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association is about to take place in Seattle, let me invite any of you attending to drop by the Texas reception, co-sponsored by UT, Rice, Houston, A&M and Tech. It has become our custom to buy old friends of the department, as well as current students and faculty, a drink or two and I see no reason to break an honorable tradition.

We are about to embark on a fourth straight year of difficult economic and budgetary problems. The College of Liberal Arts has an austerity plan to get us back in the black soon. In the meantime, our normal pattern of recruiting several lines each year has been interrupted. We were able to hire only one new colleague last year (Scott Wolford, PhD Emory, assistant professor Colorado). The year previously we were permitted to break a total hiring freeze in order to bring Daniel Brinks back to the department after a short-lived stint at Notre Dame. This year we will again be seeking to fill the Charles Wilson chair in Pakistan Studies and have one open rank search in international relations.

Let me bring you up to date on developments in our international relations field, which is a top priority of the department. Harrison Wagner ended a stellar career by retiring last January and George Gavrilis resigned in May 2010. That left us with only three active members of the field: Peter Trubowitz, Patrick McDonald and Terry Chapman. Peter was promoted to full professor last year, but we stood to lose both McDonald and Chapman, each of whom was being hotly pursued by other institutions. I am happy to report that with the Dean’s support, we were able to retain both and with the addition of Wolford have a very talented core of a subfield clearly on an upward trajectory. That trajectory should be ensured with a successful search this year.

Now for something entirely different: It probably started as a joke, when it was suggested to me that I challenge the chair of the Texas A&M political science department to a Longhorn-Aggie political science softball duel. Some time has passed since then, but the idea never died, and I am happy to report to you that the challenge has been made and accepted, and that next spring, exact date TBD, the state’s flagship political science programs will gather in Austin for their first annual softball game. The game will be open to interested faculty, graduate students and staff. Alumni, of course, are also welcome to play, so feel free to join the fun. We expect people to show up and play, or at least cheer and mingle, and we expect people to make the trek to College Station in 2013 for the second annual match. We expect to have a great time. We also expect to win.

Best wishes,
Gary P. Freeman, Chair

Burdine Chronicles – March 2011

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Despite the grim economic news, the Government Department, with the encouragement of Dean of Liberal Arts Randy Diehl, is moving aggressively to enhance our graduate program. The Dean has invited departments to shrink graduate admissions slightly in order to concentrate our resources and attention on a smaller number of very promising students. The ultimate goals of this strategy include better trained and mentored doctoral students who will then be placed in more prestigious colleges and universities.

According to a number of metrics employed by the College, our department is doing very well, but by others there is room for improvement. For example, between 1989 and 2010 the department admitted 510 students in our doctoral program. Thirty percent of this number exited the program with no degree, another 30 percent exited with a Master’s, and only 35 percent exited with a Ph.D. Time to degree is a subject of great interest to the Dean. Government is about at the mean of Ph.D. programs in political science. Students who exit without a degree spend on average 2.51 years in the program. The M.A. takes an average of 2.69 years (and we admit no one directly or solely into the M.A. program). As many of you will appreciate all too well, our average time to the Ph.D. is 7.58 years.

Such a huge investment of a student’s time certainly calls for placement of those seeking academic appointments in reputable institutions. In the last five years we have placed 67 percent of our graduates in tenure track positions. These include some impressive placements and a bevy of mid-ranking institutions that many departments would be proud of, but while our record is improving, we have some distance to go. We anticipate that showering more TLC, money, and training on a smaller cohort of outstanding applicants will improve our placement record. The goal is to place our graduates in those top departments from which we recruit the bulk of our faculty.

This is something we know we can do and believe we will. The question is how. There is no hiding from the facts, most obviously that we are not named Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Berkeley … and as such our candidates have to compete against students who carry the banners of the best institutions in the country. Great placements, therefore, are not simply a function of the skills and intelligence of our current and future graduate students, but of the visibility and reputation of our faculty, and the stellar accomplishments of those of you already making names for yourselves in the discipline. Keep up the good work and we will do our best by the next generation of Texas Ph.Ds.

Best wishes,
Gary P. Freeman, Chair

Burdine Chronicles – September 2010

Dear Alumni and Friends,

There’s a little secret in the Department of Government that is really no secret at all: the department has struggled for years to field an elite program in international relations. The main stumbling block has been a lack of manpower. Despite the very significant, very real contributions that Harrison Wagner, David Edwards, and Peter Trubowitz have made to the discipline and the department, they are only three men, and for a long time have been the only colleagues keeping international relations going in this department. Wagner, who produced his magnum opus two years ago (“War and the State: The Theory of International Politics”) is nearing retirement. Edwards devotes most of his energy these days to undergraduate teaching. Peter Trubowitz, whose book “Defining the National Interest” won numerous awards, is still very much active. He has a new book forthcoming from Princeton, “Politics and Strategy: Partisan Ambition and American Statecraft,” and has published a number of high profile articles in the last few years.

I am happy to report optimism that our IR program is turning a corner despite its small size. The most promising development is that in Associate Professor Patrick McDonald and Assistant Professor Terry Chapman we have two scholars I am confident will be leaders in their field for years to come. McDonald’s book, “The Invisible Hand of Peace,” has won APSA’s 2010 Jervis-Schroeder best book award from the International History and Politics Section. Chapman’s book, “Securing Approval: Domestic Politics and Multilateral Authorization for War,” is forthcoming from The University of Chicago. And McDonald and Chapman have a coauthored article, “The Sword and the Coffers: the Fiscal Foundations of Sustainable International Peace,” under review. We will continue expecting great things from these two in the years ahead.

At the more senior level, Ami Pedahzur has been promoted to full professor, and he is dead set on making the department an international leader in the study of terrorism. We are also lucky to enjoy the expertise of Itty Abraham, whom we share with Asian Studies, and Michael Brenner, who will head the University’s new International Relations and Global Studies program and be a lecturer in the department. In addition, we enjoy collaboration with four political scientists who are IR specialists in the LBJ School and hold courtesy affiliations with Government: Eugene Gholz, Ethan Kapstein, Alan Kuperman, and Kate Weaver. The new Strauss Center for International Security and Law is the first unit devoted to international relations.

We have had a setback in the resignation of George Gavrilis, who was a great asset to the department during his short time here, but we have new hires in the pipeline, and with time there are plans for a major expansion of the IR faculty, including filling an endowed chair with a distinguished scholar, and the possibility for several entry-level positions. Currently, we are recruiting for the Charles N. Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies, which may not be an IR hire, but it could be, in addition to an entry level, tenure-track position. We are also working on a joint-hire at the assistant professor level with the Strauss Center, a joint effort of the LBJ School, the Law School, and the College of Liberal Arts.

Of course, we’ve been here before: bright young scholars and promises of expansion, but we’re moving forward with a glass half full mentality, and very much looking forward to adding to an already distinguished IR faculty.

Gary P. Freeman, Chair

Burdine Chronicles – April 2010

At this month’s 68th Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Bryan D. Jones, the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Chair in Congressional Studies, assumes the presidency of the organization. There are three points I would like to make regarding this milestone.

First, our department has finally conquered the last of the big three. Faculty, former faculty, or alumni have a relatively impressive presence in the list of American Political Science Association past presidents – Charles G. Haines in 1938-39, V.O. Key, Jr. in 1957-58, R. Taylor Cole in 1958-59, and Emmette Redford in 1960-61. We have had an even bigger presence, unsurprisingly, in the list of Southern Political Science Association past presidents – Roscoe Martin in 1942, R. Taylor Cole in 1951, Wallace Mendelson in 1969, Donald Strong in 1970, William Livingston in 1975, Clifton McCleskey in 1983, and Earl Black in 1997. Jones’ presidency marks the first time a Longhorn has hooked the Midwest. It certainly will not be the last – which brings me to my second point.

Even if we had not succeeded three years ago in moving Jones from Seattle back to Austin, his MPSA presidency would be a cause for celebration because he is an alumnus, having received his Ph.D. from the department in 1970. This department, in one capacity or another, has a history of producing disciplinary leaders. We have every reason to believe – and every expectation – that this will continue. It might be the student just enrolled, the student not yet admitted, the visiting faculty member, or you – but we know it is going to happen, and happen more than once. And our alumni especially can draw inspiration from Jones’ career, which has been built on hard work and sheer native intelligence. He worked his way up from a lengthy stint at Wayne State University (no offense, but not a peer institution) before heading for greener pastures in College Station, Seattle, and, finally, his alma mater. His career also is marked by numerous alumni connections. His first article in the Journal of Politics (the journal he says saved his career, and which, judging by recent trends will accelerate the careers of many members of our department), was published in 1973, the median year between the editorships of William Livingston and Donald Strong.

The third and final point is that our recent effort to reach out to our alumni, the centerpiece to this effort being these periodic newsletters, has multiple purposes. A primary goal is to occasionally inform you of the storied history of the Department of Government and of the many luminaries associated with it. Another is to convince you that loyalty to your old department and former mentors will be returned in kind. It has been a real pleasure reengaging with alumni to this point, and we are eagerly anticipating the opening of new doors for all of us as we move on.

Gary P. Freeman, Chair

Burdine Chronicles – August 2009

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I would like to take this opportunity to plug our current graduate students and encourage you to take an interest in them as if they were your own. Our students are constantly improving, and if you demand evidence to back this statement up, I will point out the many sources of external funding the group has brought in this year.

Austin Hart has won a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant (and a Graduate Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship supplement). Danilo Contreras and Joanne Ibarra have received National Science Foundation Diversity Fellowships. Matt Buehler has received a David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship (and a Graduate Dean’s Prestigious Fellowship supplement). Regina Goodnow, Yuval Weber, and Allison White have received FLAS fellowships. Jolie Wood won an AAUW award. Doaa’ El Nakhala’s research will be funded through the Open Society Institute’s Palestinian Faculty Development Program (as well as the University’s Center for European Studies). The department has also maintained its competitiveness in university-wide fellowship competitions – Roy Germano and Aaron Herold have won University Continuing Fellowships, and Stephanie Holmsten received a David Bruton, Jr. Endowed Fellowship.

On top of these impressive feats, the department granted summer, half-year, and full year MacDonald or Long Dissertation Fellowships to Manuel Balán, Luis Camacho-Solis, Eduardo Dargent, Justin Dyer, Laura Field, Regina Goodnow, Austin Hart, Matthew Johnson, Patrick Hickey, Stephanie Holmsten, TaoHuang, Ernest McGowen, Paula Munoz, Curt Nichols, Daniel Ryan, Randy Uang, Matthew Wright, and Kristin Wylie. Leeann Youn received a James Roach Fellowship.

We also had a banner year in terms of graduate student publications. We are especially proud of our students’ growing publication record, and on behalf of the graduate student body I want to thank our alumni for paving the way. Without question, your work when you were here sowed the seeds we are now reaping. Whether by sheer example, by pushing the department to increase professional development opportunities for the graduate students, or through the work you do now as part of our professional community, your presence continues being felt. We like that, and we encourage it.

All of our graduate students are doing exceptional work, and we are also extremely excited about our incoming class. We have 25 new students, spread fairly evenly across the various fields.

It has long been the philosophy in this department that a rising tide lifts all boats – let’s continue living by that maxim.

Gary P. Freeman, Chair

Burdine Chronicles – March 2009

John Alton Burdine, 1905-1967, was a professor of Government, vice president of the American Political Science Association, vice president of the University, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and associate dean of the Graduate School. The 60th Texas Legislature adopted a resolution honoring Dr. Burdine’s “decency, intellectual honesty, kindness, integrity, and courage.” In 1970, the university dedicated Burdine hall in his name, and the Department of Government moved in.

At the time, Burdine Hall was the newest classroom-office building on campus and for many years nicely accommodated the needs of the department. But, the five-story (plus basement), tan brick building could only hold us for so long. As the department grew – we are now the largest department in the College of Liberal Arts in terms of undergraduate majors – we needed new space to grow in, and we got it. In May 2006 the department moved to the renovated Batts and Mezes Halls, in the heart of campus, on the east side of the ‘six pack’ on the university’s South Mall.

The move from everyone’s favorite brick compound to some of the most desirable accommodations on campus is emblematic of the greater transformation the department finds itself in. Things have really taken off the last decade, and we continue running on all cylinders. The most obvious change is in the composition of the faculty. Under former chair John Higley and in my first three years in that office, the department has hired well over thirty new colleagues. Several of these occupy endowed positions. Gary Jacobsohn is the McDonald Chair, Tom Pangle holds the Long Chair, Bryan Jones is the holder of the J.J. “Jake” Pickle Chair, and Kurt Weyland is the Lozano Long Professor of Latin American Politics. Other endowed positions are held by Melvin Hinich, John Higley, Zoltan Barany, Jeffrey Abramson, and Patricia Maclachlan. We are especially excited about our very productive corps of junior and tenured associate faculty, the most recent of which are Terry Chapman, Pat McDonald, George Gavrilis, Andrew Karch, Stephen Jessee, Eric McDaniel, William Hurst, Itty Abraham, Kenneth Greene, Zachary Elkins, Jason Casellas, Tasha Philpot, Jason Brownlee, Sam Workman, and Juliet Hooker.

The move to Batts and Mezes has also allowed us to provide much more usable space for our bourgeoning research institutes, such as the Experimental Political Behavior and Communication Laboratory, the Public Policy Institute, and the TIGER data archive on terrorism, insurgents, and guerrillas. And, Bryan Jones has brought his Policy Agendas Project with him from the University of Washington, along with Sam Workman, who is managing the project and will be assistant professor in the fall.

But, for all the changes going on, many faculty members spent the better parts of their career in Burdine Hall, and many of you earned your doctorates while holding court in those hallways and classrooms. We feel that Burdine Hall and the Department of Government will forever be enmeshed, and that everyone who passed through those doors carries a piece of that building around with them today. And so, I dedicate these Burdine Chronicles to you, as the Department of Government’s Ph.D. alumni newsletter.

Gary P. Freeman, Chair