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Political Experts

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International Security · War and Conflict · American Foreign Policy · Political Methodology

Giacomo Chiozza, Associate Professor of Political Science

Giacomo Chiozza is a student and scholar of International Relations and International Security. He is an expert on the study of attitudes towards U.S. power and the study of political leaders in conflict processes. He is the author of Anti-Americanism and the American World Order (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). His most recent book, Leaders and International Conflict, co-authored with H.E. Goemans, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Professor Chiozza teaches undergraduate courses on U.S. National Security and the U.S. role in global politics, graduate seminars on International Security as well as the required graduate course on Research Design. Before joining Vanderbilt, he was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley; and earlier, a post-doctoral fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. In 2008-09 he served as a member of the American Political Science Association Presidential Task Force on U.S. Standing in World Politics.


Comparative Political Economy · Political Institutions · Gender and Politics · Experimental Methods · African Politics

Amanda Clayton, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Amanda Clayton is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. Her research concerns political institutions, representation, and public policy, with a focus on gender and politics. Using a variety of cases and methodological approaches, her current research examines how quotas for women in politics mediate the representative process. This agenda includes measuring the effects of electoral gender quotas across a range of potential outcomes, including public attitudes and behavior towards female leaders, MP plenary behavior, and policy outcomes and legislative priorities. Her work has appeared in such journals as Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, and The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Professor Clayton has also acted as a research and policy consultant for the World Bank and research institutes in the US and Africa. Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Free University of Berlin and a Research Fellowship at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2014.


Political behavior

Suzanne Globetti, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Suzanne is interested in the political behavior of ordinary citizens, specifically how voters react to campaign stimuli such as ideological code words. Her recent work examines the conditional effects of candidate characteristics on vote choice. Suzanne enjoys teaching American politics and basic regression classes.


Democracy · Local development: Migration · Latin America

Jonathan Hiskey, Associate Professor of Political Science; Associate Professor of Sociology;

Jonathan Hiskey is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies at Vanderbilt University. Hiskey received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, winning the 2001 American Political Science Association's Gabriel A. Almond award for best dissertation in comparative politics. After spending five years at the University of California-Riverside, he joined Vanderbilt in 2005. His research interests center on local development processes in Latin America during times of political and economic reform. In particular, much of his research has focused on the development consequences of Latin America's uneven political and economic transitions over the past thirty years, with a particular interest in Mexico. More recently, Hiskey has carried out research on the political implications of migration for sending communities across Latin America. He is the author of articles in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Electoral Studies and the Latin American Research Review. Most recently, Hiskey was a contributor and co-editor of a special volume of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science entitled "Continental Divides: International Migration in the Americas" (July 2010).


International Relations Theory · War and Conflict · Formal Modeling · Statistics

Brenton Kenkel, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Brenton Kenkel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science.  His main area of research is international relations, with a focus on the causes and consequences of interstate conflict.  His main research project concerns the interplay of resource extraction and internal conflict in territory that is governed by outside forces, such as in colonial endeavors and military occupations.  He is particularly interested in unpacking the logic of "divide and rule" to determine when, if ever, internal unrest allows an outside force to extract more economic output from a piece of territory.  He is also working on a set of papers about how diplomatic communication can (and cannot) affect the outbreak of war.  Additionally, he has carried out methodological research on missing data and the estimation of game-theoretic models, and he is the author of multiple open-source software packages.


United States History · Immigration · Politics of Inequality · American Social Thought

Paul Kramer, Associate Professor of History

Paul A. Kramer’s primary research interests are in modern U. S. history, with an emphasis on transnational, imperial and global histories, American social thought, and the politics of inequality.

His first book, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines (University of North Carolina Press; Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2006), explores the imperial politics of race-making between U. S. and Philippine societies in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. The book was awarded the Organization of American Historians’ James A. Rawley Prize and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations’ Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Philippines’ National Book Award in the Social Science category.

Professor Kramer has received research fellowships from the Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright program and the Smithsonian Institution, and was named a Top Young Historian by History News Network. He is co-editor of Cornell University Press’ series “The United States in the World: Transnational Histories, International Perspectives” and was program chair for “The United States in the World/The World in the United States,” the 2009 annual conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is a member of the editorial boards of Labor: Working-Class History of the Americas, Philippine Studies, and Diplomatic History. He is currently at work on a manuscript on the geopolitics of U. S. racial formations across the long 20th century.

Professor Kramer teaches a wide range of courses in modern U. S. history and the history of the United States in the world at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including Transnational America, 1880-1940; Transnational America, 1940-2010; Race, Gender and 20th Century U. S. International History; Race, Power and Modernity; Class, Culture and Power in the 20th Century United States; The Craft of History; American Masculinities; and Modern Colonialism in Global History.


Presidency · Public Administration · Bureaucracy

David Lewis,

William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair of Political Science

Professor of Law

David E. Lewis is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include the presidency, executive branch politics, and public administration. He is the author of two books, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford University Press, 2003) and The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2008). He has also published numerous articles on American politics, public administration and management in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Administration Review, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. Before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Political Science, he was assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, where he was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, from 2002-08. He began his academic career at the College of William and Mary, where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Government from 2000-02. He is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration. Ph.D. Stanford University.


Political Economy of Development · Political Behavior · Experimental Methods · Public Policy · African Politics

Kristin Michelitch, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Kristin Michelitch is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. She earned her PhD from New York University in 2013, specializing in comparative politics and experimental methods. Her research interests center around discovering major catalysts that improve or stymy the quality of democratic processes and the pace of socioeconomic progress, paying close attention to inequalities on the basis of gender, ethnicity, and partisanship.  She is currently active in four distinct but related research agendas: (1) examining the effect of major political upheaval on citizens’ political and socioeconomic behavior; (2) investigating how political accountability for public service delivery might be improved, particularly through new information technologies; (3) discovering the primary mechanisms through which traditional elites such as chiefs and religious leaders influence citizens’ political and socioeconomic behavior; and (4) understanding how women obtain rights, representation, and status improvement. By evaluating aid programming through policy field experiments, she seeks to advance our knowledge of political science and help policy-makers learn which programs are most effective in improving the wellbeing of citizens.


History of Political Thought · Early Modern Political Thought · Democratic Theory

Emily Nacol, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Emily Nacol is a political theorist whose research interests lie primarily in the history of political thought, especially early modern epistemology, political theory, and political economy.  Her research focuses on the problem of risk in historical perspective. Her first book, An Age of Risk: Politics and Economy in Early Modern Britain (Princeton University Press, forthcoming) traces how attention to and shifts in thinking about risk, and related conceptions of danger and uncertainty, produced a complex and nuanced conversation about the relationship among knowledge, politics, and order in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writing on politics and political economy.  She is currently working on a second book project on social perceptions of risk in eighteenth-century Britain, with a focus on social groups that complicate normative notions of work and labor and who are deemed risky for this deviance.  Her essays have appeared in journals like Political Studies, Polity, and The Adam Smith Review.  Professor Nacol's teaching interests include ancient political thought, early modern and modern political thought, theories of capitalism and political economy, and democratic theory.  She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 2007.  She has held research fellowships at Brown University's Political Theory Project and the Cornell University Society for the Humanities, and most recently participated in a research colloquium at the Folger Library.


Political Psychology · Public Opinion · Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

Efren Perez, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Associate Professor of Sociology

Pérez studies the public opposition to immigration and other aspects of political psychology involving race and ethnicity. He is a former media relations expert for political consulting firms. His current research includes several papers on the relationship between language and survey response, as well as two projects on group identity, identity threat and political response. His scholarship has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and Political Behavior.


Comparative politics/Latin America · Political Behavior · political Economy of Development

Mitchell Seligson, Centennial Professor of Political Science; Professor of Sociolgy; Founder and Senior Advisor of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP)

Mitchell A. Seligson is the Centennial Professor of Political Science and Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and serves as a member of the General Assembly of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights. He is the founder and Senior Advisor of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), which conducts the AmericasBarometer surveys that currently cover 27 countries in the Americas. LAPOP has conducted over 100 surveys of public opinion, mainly focused on democracy, in many countries in Latin America, but has also included projects in Africa and the Balkans. For details, see Prior to joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, he held the Daniel H. Wallace Chair of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and also served there as director of the Center for Latin American Studies. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and has received grants and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The Howard Heinz Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, USAID and others, and has published over 140 articles, 14 books and more than a 35 monographs and occasional papers. He served on the National Academy of Sciences panel studying the impact of foreign assistance and democracy, and is an appointed member of the Organization of American States (OAS) Advisory Board of Inter-American Program on Education for Democratic Values and Practices, and an appointed member (2007-present) of the OAS Network of Democracy Practitioners. He is a founding member of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of the AfroBarometer, and of the editorial board of the European Political Science Review (Cambridge University Press) and the Journal of Democracy en Español. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Comparative Political Studies. He has been awarded a Danforth Foundation Kent Fellow, the Social Science Research Council Foreign Area Fellowship, and was awarded the Grace L. Doherty Latin American Fellowship by Princeton University.


Egalitarianism · Political Debate;  · Democratic Theory ·

Robert Talisse,

W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy

Robert Talisse is the co-author (with Scott Aikin) of Why We Argue (And How We Should), , which promotes the idea that you must first understand an opponent's argument rather than deride it, to argue effectively. He takes a highly critical stance on the current state of democratic politics. He believes that although the news media, elections and campaigns are increasingly formatted around "debate," very little actual debating goes on.


American Politics and Political Economy

Hye Young You, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Hye Young You is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. Her main research focuses on the political economy of special interest groups, procurement, regulation, and federalism and local governments. Professor You’s current research topics include why groups continue to lobby Congress and federal agencies after legislation has been enacted; the role of commercial lobbyists as matchmakers in the market for access; why some local governments lobby the federal government and whether it pays off; and the shareholder activism by public pension funds and labor unions and corporate political activity. She received her B.A. from Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea, M.A. from University of Chicago, and Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in 2014.


Presidential Elections · Campaigns · Polling · Attack Ads · Civility in Politics

John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science; Professor of Public Policy and Education; Co-Director, Vanderbilt Poll

Geer is an expert on the use and usefulness of negative advertising in political campaigns, with his book In Defense of Negativity: Attack Advertising in Presidential Campaigns the leading text on the issue. His other books include Nominating Presidents: An Evaluation of Voters and Primaries and From Tea Leaves to Opinion Polls: Politicians, Information and Leadership. He served as the editor of The Journal of Politics from 2005 to 2009. He has provided extensive commentary on politics, including television interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and NPR and print interviews with The New York Times, USA Today and many others.


Trust and Politics · Authoritarianism and Polarization;

Marc Hetherington, Professor of Political Science

Hetherington can discuss party polarization, presidential elections, political behavior, public opinion polls, media coverage during a campaign and campaign rhetoric. He has done extensive research on how trust in government affects elections and public policy. He has written several books including Why Washington Won’t Work: Polarization, Political Trust and the Governing Crisis.


Public opinion · Campaigns and elections · Representation · Public policy

Larry Bartels,

May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science

Professor of Political Science

Bartels has released studies of the political attitudes of wealthy people and the impact of economic conditions on voting behavior. His research is focused on electoral politics, public opinion and the role of citizens in the policy-making process. In 2014 Bartels received the Warren E. Miller Prize for an outstanding career of intellectual accomplishment and service to the profession in the field of elections, public opinion, and voting behavior.


North Korea · Japan · East Asian Defense Policies

James Auer, director, Center for U.S.-Japan Studies at Vanderbilt; retired naval commander

Auer can discuss North Korea’s military threats to Japan and the U.S. Auer was stationed in Japan and the Western Pacific during his naval career and was the special assistant on Japan with the office of the Secretary of Defense. He has written numerous articles and made presentations addressing East Asian security and defense policies. He is co-author of “Japan: America’s New South Korea?” published in the journal Current History.


Immigration Politics · Radical Politics · Intercultural Communication

Robert Barsky, editor of AmeriQuests; professor of French and comparative literature

Barsky is working on a research project on immigrant incarceration —”Issues of Inter-Cultural Relations among Inmates Held for Immigration Concerns”— and can speak to the idea of making first entry a felony. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Barsky taught at Yale University’s Center for International and Area Studies. He has authored many articles and two books on refugees and immigration policies. His book Arguing and Justifying looks at why people flee their country seeking refuge elsewhere. He is the founding editor of AmeriQuests, a Vanderbilt journal that focuses on dislocation and relocation in the Americas. He is also author of two books on Noam Chomsky and an expert on the beat writers and radical politics.


Presidential Rhetoric · U.S. Political Communication · Rhetorical Criticism and Theory

Venessa Beasley, Associate Professor of Communication Studies; Dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons

Beasley’s areas of expertise include the rhetoric of American presidents, political rhetoric on immigration and media and politics. She can discuss campaign speeches as well as how political campaign strategists must take into consideration the expanding forms of media covering the candidates, including blogs and participatory/collaborative websites. In addition, she has a strong interest in gender, race and ethnic diversity in contemporary U.S. politics, including the rhetoric surrounding candidates’ campaigns. Beasley can critique the performances of political candidates during debates and other campaign events.


Congressional Politics · Campaigns and Elections · Polling · Statistics

Joshua Clinton,

Abby and Jon Winkelried Professor of Political Science

Co-Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

Clinton uses statistics to analyze political outcomes, especially issues dealing with elections and the conduct of the U.S. Congress. Clinton helped the press decipher the impact of the Swift Boat ads on John Kerry’s presidential campaign. He is co-director of Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, which produces the Vanderbilt Poll on issues impacting Tennessee and Nashville. 


Labor Relations · Unions · Labor in Politics · Workplace and Employment Issues · Immigration's Impact on "New Destination Cities"

Dan Cornfield, Professor of Sociology

Cornfield looks at how “new destination cities” in the interior states are dealing with integrating documented and undocumented immigrants into their communities. While cities like New York, Miami, Chicago and Houston have historically been at the forefront of immigration issues, Cornfield says the “formerly secluded” interior states are now dealing with immigration’s implications for social services, health care, employment and the prospects for unionization. Cornfield led an immigration study looking at Nashville, Tenn., one of the new destination cities, during which researchers surveyed service providers and members of immigrant communities in cities of comparable size to Nashville – Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Memphis.


American Politics · Presidency

Erwin Hargrove, professor of political science, emeritus

Hargrove is an expert on the American presidency and political leadership. In his latest book, The Effective Presidency, Hargrove analyzes the effectiveness of America’s eight most recent presidents. Previous books include The President as Leader: Appealing to the Better Angels of Our Nature, The Future of the Democratic Left in Industrial Democracies (edited) and Prisoners of Myth: The Leadership of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1933-90.


American Politics · Presidency · Executive and Bureaucracy · Presidential Transitions · Presidential Power

David Lewis, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science; Professor of Law; Co-Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

Lewis teaches and writes about the presidency, executive politics and public administration. His most recent book, The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance, explores why and how modern presidents have politicized the bureaucracy and the consequences. Lewis also wrote Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design. Among his current projects is a study of the political views of government agencies and their employees.He has taught courses about government performance under crisis and follows presidential cabinet appointees closely.


political behavior · political economy of development · bounded rationality · anti-immigration sentiment

Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education

Mo has researched voters who vote against their own economic interests and families who sell their children into forced labor. She has also studied how voters perceive women and men differently as leaders, anti-immigration sentiment and education policy. Her interests include inequality, prejudice, gender-based violence and education.


Abu Ghraib · Women in the Military · Suicide Bombers

Kelly Oliver, Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy

Oliver is the author of Women as Weapons of War, which examines how women are increasingly being used by military organizations around the world. She has studied the use of young attractive females as Palestinian suicide bombers, how the United States has used female sexuality as an interrogation tool and rape issues in the military. She is the author of more than 50 articles and 15 books, including Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human; The Colonization of Psychic Space: A Psychoanalytic Theory of Oppression; Family Values: Subjects Between Nature and Culture; and Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-Bind.


Congress · Legislative Process · Political Parties · Elections

Bruce Oppenheimer, Professor of Political Science; Professor of Public Policy and Education

Oppenheimer is knowledgeable about the workings of the U.S. Congress, including process, elections, development of energy policy in the Congress and the effect of war deaths on elections. Oppenheimer is one of the most-quoted political scientists in the country. His books include Sizing Up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation (with Frances Lee) and Oil and the Congressional Process: The Limits of Symbolic Politics.


History of American Foreign Relations · International Relations · 20th Century American History · Modern European History · History of the U.S. Presidency

Thomas Schwartz, Professor of History; Professor of Political Science; Professor of European Studies

Schwartz is an expert on the foreign policy of the United States and the U.S. presidency. He has written a book about President Lyndon Johnson and helped edit another on U.S.-European relations. Other research includes Henry Kissinger, the Cold War and modern European history. He can also discuss our relationships with Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and U.S. efforts to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.


Religion and War · Religion and Social Movements · Religion and Politics · Ethics

Melissa Snarr, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Ethics and Society

Melissa Snarr’s research focuses on the intersection of religion, social change and social/political ethics. She teaches courses ranging from "Modern Christian Political Thought" and "Religion and Social Movements" to "Religion and War in an Age of Terror" (comparative Muslim/Christian). She is an expert on ethics.

Her most recent book, All You That Labor: Religion and Ethics in the Living Wage Movement (NYU 2011), draws on extensive participant observation to analyze and evaluate the contributions of religious activists in the living wage movement. Snarr is also the author of Social Selves and Political Reforms (Continuum, 2007) as well as several articles in the area of feminist ethics.

Snarr will co-direct the 2016/2017 Robert Penn Warren Center Fellows Program, with the theme "Working for Equality and Justice: Theorizing from and with Lived Resistance to Economic Inequality and Injustice."

Snarr is an active member of Glendale Baptist Church (affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship).


African American Representation · Black Leadership · Reparations · White Nationalism · Race and Public Policy · Affirmative Action · Voting Rights Act · Immigration

Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science; Professor of Law

Swain is an authority on immigration, voting rights law and African American representation in politics. Her book Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress won the 1994 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book on government published in the United States. In her book Be The People: A Call to Reclaim America's Faith and Promise, Swain discusses her belief that America's departure from the founding father's Judeo-Christian roots has come at a cost politically, socially and morally. Swain has extensive print, TV and radio experience.


Legislative politics · electoral politics · bureaucratic politics · regulation · bureaucracy · legislative effectiveness, industry regulation

Alan Wiseman, Associate Professor of Political Science; Associate Professor of Law

Wiseman is an expert on the relative effectiveness of legislators, and maintains a website ( that ranks members of the House of Representatives. He can speak in general about American political institutions, legislative and electoral politics, regulation, bureaucratic politics and relations between business and government. His books include The Internet Economy: Access, Taxes, and Market Structure and The Lawmakers: Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress.


Comparative Politics · Latin American and Mexican Politics · Political Behavior

Elizabeth Zechmeister, Associate Professor of Political Science; Associate Director, Latin American Public Opinion Project

Dr. Zechmeister received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 2003. Her research focuses on comparative political behavior, in particular in Latin America. Her work includes studies of voting, ideology, political parties, representation, charisma, and crisis. Zechmeister recently won two grants from the National Science Foundation in support of her research on the public opinion consequences of the global threat of terrorism and the 2010 Chile earthquake, respectively. Her research has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Electoral Studies, Comparative Political Studies, and Political Behavior, among others. She is co-author of Democracy at Risk: How Terrorist Threats Affect the Public (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and of Latin American Party Systems (Cambridge University Press (2010). Zechmeister teaches courses on Latin American politics, Mexican politics, and comparative political behavior.

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