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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.


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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.


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 www.LapopSurveys.org. 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.


Congress · Presidency · regulatory review · gubernatorial policy-making ·   ·

Sharece Thrower,

Sharece Thrower researches how Congress and and the courts constrain the presidential use of policy instruments including executive orders. signing statements. rule making and regulatory review


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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.


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

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

Geer can talk about all aspects of the presidential election, how this election compared to others, and what the next president needs to do to try to heal a divisive country. “This has been an unorthodox campaign run by a candidate (Trump) who has no ideological anchor and is based on anger and nationalism combined into a cocktail that we’ve never seen before,” Geer says. He is a widely quoted expert on negative campaign advertising and the author of In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns. Geer co-chairs Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the Vanderbilt Poll, which provides a non-partisan and scientifically based reading of public opinion within the state of Tennessee and Nashville. Geer has done many national/international print, radio and television interviews.


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Public opinion · Campaigns and elections · Wealthy Voters · Representation · Public policy

Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science; Co-Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

Bartels is an expert with numerous studies on 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. He is the author of the research “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans

His 2008 book, Unequal Democracy, appeared on a New York Times list of “economics books of the year” and won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the year’s best book on U.S. national policy. He is also the author of Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice (1988), which won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the year’s best book on government, politics, or international affairs, and co-editor of Mass Politics in Tough Times (with Nancy Bermeo, 2014) and Campaign Reform (with Lynn Vavreck, 2000).


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Political Party Polarization · Why Congress is Failing · Trust in Government · Media and Politics

Marc Hetherington, Professor of Political Science

Hetherington can talk about why nothing seems to get done in Congress, and how the ‘hate factor’ between political parties is one of the biggest problems facing American politics. He believes that a climate of authoritarianism, wherein people fear disorder and outsiders, can lead to paralysis in Washington. Hetherington has written extensively about the pitfalls of authoritarianism and has been quoted by many national print media and has appeared on numerous national/international networks and cable networks. His books include Why Washington Won’t Work, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, and Why Trust Matters


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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 can discuss how a new president will be challenged by Russia, Syria and Iran on the foreign policy scene, how presidents in the past handled the first 100 days, the world-wide historical perspective if the United States elects its first woman president, and how history shows us the past election was not the most divisive in our history.” Schwartz is author of Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam. He is currently working on two books: a biography of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, tentatively entitled, Henry Kissinger and the Dilemmas of American Power, and The Long Twilight Struggle: A Concise History of the Cold War. Schwartz has done many national and international print and broadcast interviews.


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Presidency · Public Administration · Bureaucracy · Political Appointees

David Lewis, William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair of Political Science; Professor of Law

Lewis can discuss the inherent problems of a new president appointing 3,000 positions, how the government appointee system could be fixed, the importance of the president’s first 100 days and which past presidents did a good job during the transition and which did not. Lewis is the author of two books, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design and The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance. Lewis recently conducted a massive survey of federal executives that showed a desperate need for civil service reform. Read more about the Survey on the Future of Government Service here. The survey was done by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Lewis has done numerous national media interviews.


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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.


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Congress · Legislative Process · Political Parties · Elections

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

Oppenheimer can discuss the makeup of the new Congress, how the new president will work with Congress, the likelihood of Congress approving a Supreme Court nominee, and the growing power of the presidency relative to the shrinking influence of Congress through the use of executive orders, signing statements and selective enforcement of laws. Oppenheimer is one of the leading experts in the country on Congress. His book, Sizing up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation, co-authored with Frances Lee, won the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress. Oppenheimer discusses how Congress is in danger of losing its relevancy in “It’s Hard to Get Mileage out of Congress,” a chapter in the book Congress and Policy Making in the 21st Century (Cambridge University Press).


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Race and Ethnicity in Politics · Political Psychology · Public Opinion

Efren Perez, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Associate Professor of Sociology; Co-Director of Research on Individuals, Politics, & Society Lab

Pérez studies political psychology and public opinion, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic politics, including legal and illegal immigration. Pérez's current research is titled "Xenophobic Rhetoric and Its Political Effects on Immigrants and Their Co-Ethnics." Other research includes several papers on the relationship between language and survey response and group identity. His scholarship has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis, and Political Behavior. He is a former media relations expert for political consulting firms.


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political behavior · race and gender in politics · political economy of development · anti-immigration sentiment

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

Mo is an expert on issues related to gender and race in politics. She has new research on why it is so hard for people to see women as leaders. Mo used the Implicit Association Test – or IAT. The test measures how people feel deep in their subconscious about issues including race, age and sex. Mo’s paper, “The Consequences of Explicit and Implicit Gender Attitudes and Candidate Quality in the Calculations of Voters,” is published in the June issue of Political Behavior.

She also has research on why Asian Americans should be a natural fit for the Republican Party, yet they have flocked to the other side at a stunning pace. “Why do Asian Americans Identify as Democrats? Testing Theories of Social Exclusion and Intergroup Solidarity.”


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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.


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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 (www.thelawmakers.org) 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.


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

Vanessa 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. Beasley is author of Who Belongs in America? Presidents, Rhetoric and Immigration.



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Militias and White Nationalists

Amy Cooter, Senior Lecturer in Sociology

A sociologist who has conducted in-person interviews within the Michigan Militia as part of her extensive fieldwork, Cooter is one of a few academics who have studied the paramilitary organizations through direct observation. 

Cooter has published articles on militias, neo-Nazi activity and extremism in Studies in Ethnicity and Nationality and Sociological Inquiry, written a guest post about her experience with militias in Michigan for the Maddow Blog and has been interviewed by national media.


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

Paul Kramer, Associate Professor of History

Kramer is an expert on U.S. history and the history of immigration. He says that most Americans don't appreciate the important role immigrants play in the American economy with their labor they do, the goods they consume and the taxes they pay. Kramer believes history is repeating itself with some of the most recent controversies surrounding immigration. You can read about his thoughts here.

Kramer has spent the past decade studying U.S. immigration history. He has written on those issues for the New Yorker and Slate and been featured on National Public Radio.


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Gun Control · Gun Violence & · Mental Health · Mass Shootings · Psychiatry · Race and Health · Gender · Politics

Jonathan Metzl, Director of the Center for Medicine, Health and Society; Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health and Society; Professor of Psychiatry

Jonathan Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, at Vanderbilt University.

Metzl is an expert on gun violence and mental illness. He has research that specifically addresses issues surrounding mental illness, mass shootings and treatment. In the article, Mental Illness, Mass Shootings and the Politics of American Firearms,” Metzl analyzed data and literature linking guns and mental illness over the past 40 years.


He received his MD from the University of Missouri, MA in humanities/poetics and Psychiatric internship/residency from Stanford University, and PhD in American Culture from University of Michigan, A 2008 Guggenheim fellow, Professor Metzl has written extensively for medical, psychiatric, and popular publications. His books include The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality.



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The Presidency · Congress · Policymaking

Sharece Thrower,

Sharece Thrower looks at how American presidents hold, exercise and expand their power. She examines how Congress and the courts try to constrain the president's use of executive orders, signing statements, rule making and regulatory review. The expansion of presidential power is largely exercised by these methods. Thrower has more than 10 studies in various stages seeking to understand the use of power by presidents and their expansive reading of the Constitution over time.


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Closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Center · War Crimes · International humanitarian law · international criminal law · special tribunals · terrorism/counterterrorism and national security law

Mike Newton, Professor of the Practice of Law; Director, Vanderbilt-in-Venice Program

Newton participated in the initial planning meetings to set up Guantanamo almost 15 years ago and continues to be involved in the inter-agency process advising on legal issues surrounding Guantanamo and its possible closing. Newton is an expert in international law, international criminal law, terrorism and counter-terrorism and special tribunals. He helped establish the Iraqi Special Tribunal and led the training in international criminal law for its judges, including holding sessions in Baghdad. He still advises the tribunal and is part of the academic consortium supporting it. He helped establish the leading online source of information regarding the trial and has been a frequent commentator online and in broadcast media.

Newton also co-authored a book titled Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein (Fall, 2008). Newton is an expert on war crimes laws. He served as the United States representative on the United Nations Planning Mission for the Sierra Leone Special Court and was also a member of the Special Court academic consortium. Newton served in the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State and was one of two U.S. delegates who negotiated the Elements of Crimes document for the International Criminal Court. He also coordinated the interface between the FBI and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and deployed into Kosovo to do forensics fieldwork to support the Milosevic indictment. Prior to his retirement from active duty, Newton was senior adviser to the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, where he implemented a wide range of policies relating to international criminal law and the law of armed conflict. Newton is also a member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.



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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.


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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).


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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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