Larry Bartels honored with SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Larry Bartels (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Esteemed political scientist Larry Bartels, whose scholarship deepens the understanding of how voters behave and that behavior’s consequences for democratic governance, is Vanderbilt University’s winner of the 2022 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

Bartels is the May Werthan Shayne Professor of Public Policy and Social Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

The award, now in its 11th year, recognizes faculty members from each of the 14 SEC universities for excellence in research and teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level.

“Larry Bartels is one of the most recognized and influential political scientists in the world. His groundbreaking work on voting behavior and the functioning of democracy has had a profound impact on scholarly and nonacademic audiences alike,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “His work is of fundamental importance for what is one of the most important issues of our time.”

Bartels has written or edited seven books, more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and numerous chapters and essays. He also is a frequent commentator in prominent media outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

His book Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age explores the political causes and consequences of escalating economic inequality in the months before the financial crash that contributed to the Great Recession. It was cited by then- candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign and named by The New York Times as one of the “economics books of the year.” Bartels is also co-author, with Christopher Achen, of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, which argues that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters.

“Beyond his scholarly impact, Larry Bartels is a terrific colleague who has made significant contributions to Vanderbilt through his service and teaching,” said C. Cybele Raver, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Larry is a deeply respected teacher who gives his students a keen appreciation for how rigorous scholarly research and civil discourse can help us understand the political landscape that affects our daily lives. He also has been a valued mentor to many doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in his role as co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.”

Bartels previously received the Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research, Vanderbilt’s most prestigious faculty award for accomplishments in research, scholarship or creative expression, and the Warren E. Miller Prize for contributions to the study of elections, public opinion and voting behavior. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

He earned his doctorate in political science at the University of California–Berkeley after completing a master of arts in political science at Yale University. Bartels taught at the University of Rochester and Princeton University before being recruited to the Vanderbilt political science department in 2011.

Each of the 14 winners of the SEC Faculty Achievement Award receives a $5,000 honorarium. The awards are part of SECU, the conference’s academic initiative.