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Hire a UNC Ph.D.

Our graduate program has quite a successful placement record.  Thank you for taking the time to review our candidates who are seeking academic appointments this year.

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    Hire a UNC Ph.D.

    Our graduate students have extraordinary records of accomplishment and promise.  Training at UNC is comparable to that at the nation’s top PhD programs and we are proud to bring your attention to these students entering the academic job market in Fall 2014.

    For more information about any of our students, please see their individual web sites as listed below or contact Professor Frank Baumgartner, Placement Director or Ms. Dana Sadek, Graduate Studies Coordinator.

    American Politics

    Methods

    Comparative Politics

    International Relations

    Political Theory

     

    American Politics

    Derek Epp. American / Public Policy. Thesis: Attention Scarcity and Instability in American Political Systems (Baumgartner, Stimson, Gray, Carsey, Clark). The thesis investigates how attention scarcities affect changes in political systems. It is situated within the punctuated equilibrium literature, which identifies cognitive and institutional constraints as the primary causes of disequilibria in government spending. I unpack these broad categories into more specific possible causes of punctuations in budgetary and other distributions of change over time, searching for the limits of the punctuated equilibrium framework by identifying the conditions under which proportional, as opposed to punctuated, change is possible. In my first chapter, I identify spending categories that are prone to instability versus those that rarely see punctuations. I utilize time series models to identify key political variables causing budget instability. The second chapter focuses on public opinion, demonstrating that the punctuated equilibrium model can account for patterns of change in opinion. The third chapter develops a direct measure of decision making costs for various institutions and tests if the occurrence of punctuations correlates with this measure as the punctuated equilibrium framework would predict. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2014. Teaching Interests: Intro to American, State and Local Politics, Agenda Setting, Public Finance and Budgeting, Public Opinion, Political Behavior, Race and Politics, Media and Politics, Introductory Statistics, Research Design.Email: derekepp@email.unc.edu Web: http://daepp.web.unc.edu/.

    Kristin Garrett. American / Methodology / Theory. Thesis: Causes, Political Consequences, and Measurement of Moral Conviction (Carsey, Benjamin, MacKuen, Ryan, Stimson) Recent work in political and moral psychology shows that moral conviction—perceiving a connection to one’s core beliefs about right and wrong—influences everything from issue attitudes to intolerance, partisan intensity to voting intentions, and political engagement to political compromise.  Despite these findings, important questions remain about how moral convictions develop, how they affect public opinion, and how we measure them.  My dissertation attempts to tackle these questions by examining the social causes, polarizing consequences, and physiological measurement of moral conviction.  In the first chapter, I argue that close social relationships in early life and adolescence and emotionally salient experiences in young adulthood influence the development of moral convictions.  To test this theory, I administer a novel two-wave panel survey to incoming college students and their parents.  In the second chapter, I argue that moral conviction heightens affective polarization beyond the effects of partisanship, and I show that individuals who tend to moralize politics are more likely to express polarized affect, job approval ratings, and blame attribution to in-party and out-party leaders.  In the third chapter, I utilize physiological indicators—primarily skin conductance—to compare people’s automatic subconscious responses to political issues with their self-reported moral convictions on the issues.  This allows me to evaluate how well the survey results of questions used to assess moral conviction actually correlate with the arousal that should accompany moral conviction, as well as to examine why some individuals seem to moderate their intuitive response and report less moral conviction. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2016. Teaching Interests: Introduction to American Government, Public Opinion, Morality and Politics, Religion and Politics, Political Behavior, Political Theory, Political Communications, Research Design, Quantitative Methods. Publications: State Politics and Policy Quarterly (2015). E-mail: kdgarret@email.unc.eduWeb: kgarrett.web.unc.edu

    Joshua Jansa. American / Methodology. Thesis: Laboratories of Inequality: The Politics of Economic Development and the Distribution of Resources in America (Gray, Carsey, Hoyman, Clark, Gross) My dissertation is focused on the relationship between state officials and business in the formulation of economic development policy and the consequences of this relationship for the state economy.  I argue that economic development policy is the product of a process in which firms and business associations work closely with economic developers and state legislators to develop policy while other organizations struggle to gain access. The consequences of this process are that 1) states engage in competition with one another to secure investment from targeted industries and 2) governments enact policies that distribute finite public resources to select few firms, leading to increased economic inequality.  Despite lawmakers’ intention to create broad prosperity, economic development policy can merely reinforce existing advantages because of the policy process in which it is formulated.  I take a mixed-methods approach and use innovative techniques and data sources to answer important substantive questions, including using network, event history, and time series analysis with interviews and in-depth case studies. The dissertation contributes to scholarly and practical knowledge by demonstrating that inequality in political access can lead to increased inequality in economic outcomes.  The dissertation has been generously supported by the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2016. Teaching Interests: Introduction to American Government, American Institutions, State and Local Politics, Interest Groups and Social Movements, Public Policy Process, Economic Development and Labor Policy, Class and Inequality, Research Design and Methods, Network Analysis. Publications: State Politics and Policy Quarterly (2015). E-mail: jansa@email.unc.edu Web: jansa.web.unc.edu

    John Lappie. American / Public Policy. Thesis: Voter Behavior in Elections without Party Labels (Carsey, Clark, Gray, MacKuen, Unah). My dissertation examines how citizens react to electoral institutions & candidate behavior, focusing on Elections without Party Labels (EWPLs). EWPLs include non-partisan elections, primaries, & some run-off elections. I address the theoretical tension that: (1) voters want to vote in line with their preferences, which for many means partisan voting, & (2) non-partisan elections were designed to suppress the party cue.  Removing party labels doesn’t change voters’ partisan goals, it merely makes it harder to pursue them. This generates three predictions: First, that when possible citizens will attempt to infer party from alternative cues, such as race or gender. Second, the decision to cast a ballot for a EWPL will depend on the messages sent by the campaigns & on the sophistication of the voter. Third, that the ability to cast a partisan ballot will depend on the messages sent by the campaign & the sophistication of the voter. The first chapter utilizes data from an original survey I am conducting. The second & third chapters use an original dataset merging precinct-level demographic data from the census with precinct-level election results. The third chapter is substantially complete & in preparation for submission. The results indicate that in formally non-partisan elections higher-sophisticates cast more partisan ballots than lower sophisticates. However, this is only true when the candidates run partisan campaigns. Whether the result of campaign strategy or individual-level sophistication, creating differences among voters in the ability to cast ballots in line with their preferences raises important normative questions about the nature of representation. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2015. Teaching Interests: Intro to American, State & Local Politics, Political Behavior, Campaigns & Elections, Public Policy, Judicial Elections, Undergraduate Methods. E-mail: lappie@email.unc.edu Web: lappie.web.unc.edu

    John Lovett. American / Methodology Thesis: The Role of Salience and Elite Goals in Policy Control (Baumgartner, Gross, MacKuen, Roberts, Stimson). What are the policy consequences of increased salience in an issue area?  I argue that to understand the policy consequences of increased salience, we also need to understand the motivations guiding individual political elites.  In particular, members of Congress, guided by their personal goals (such as the desire to create good public policy and to move up in politics), use increased salience to enter an issue area, attempting to both change the dominant issue solution (and with it the status of issue leaders) and promote their own political standing. Using a self-collected dataset of member of Congress mentions and discussions in The Washington Post in 9 issues over a 36 year period, as well as a second dataset on one issue (tax law) over a more constrained 10 year period, I show that when issue salience increases, more members of Congress enter that issue area, both increasing the number of members involved on an issue as well as increasing the number of potential concepts or solutions introduced by the new members.  While leadership can usually dismiss these challenges due to a variety of factors, usurping members do have the potential opportunity to succeed, and failure itself can also potentially help ambitious members move up in political life. Status: PhD expected Spring 2016. Publications: Political Communication (2014, co-authored); Political Research Quarterly (2015, co-authored); Policy Studies Journal (2015, co-authored). Teaching Interest Areas: Introduction to American Politics; State and Local Politics; Political Communication/Media and Politics; Political Parties; Campaigns & Elections; Congress; Public Policy; Agenda-Setting; Undergraduate-level Research Methods.

    Mark Yacoub. American/Methodology. Thesis: The Unique Influence of New Media on Issue Framing (Conover, Baumgartner, Gross, MacKuen, Stimson). Research on media framing and its effects has grown tremendously in recent years. A logical direction for future study is to examine how the media environment in which frames appear influences the framing process. Specifically, the rise of new media--the Internet, blogs, social media--represents a change in how information is disseminated and in how people consume news and interact with one another. Up to this point, the potential unique influence of new media on both the mass media and issue framing has not been fully explored. In my dissertation, I integrate the framing and new media literatures and show how the unique characteristics of new media (its increased number of sources, rapid updating, highly competitive, social, and deliberative nature, and individual control) influence framing processes, particularly at the aggregate level, thus changing our traditional understanding of how frames operate. I examine how these characteristics affect the entire frame environment surrounding an issue--that is, the entire set of frames that develops, how they are related, who uses them, how often they are used, where they appear, which frames dominate, and how people perceive them. Empirically, I perform in-depth comparisons of the frame environments surrounded issues that have emerged in the current new media culture to those that emerged before the advent of new media using content analyses of traditional and new media sources. I also use time series analysis of public opinion data to test the influence of new media on the effectiveness of issue frames. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2015.Teaching Interests: Introduction to American Government, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, Public Opinion, Political Communication, Media and Politics, Survey and Experimental Methods, Quantitative Methods. Email:myacoub@email.unc.edu

    Methods

     

    Comparative Politics

    Santiago Anria. Comparative Politics (Latin America) / Political Theory. Thesis: Movements, Parties, and the Left in Latin America: The Bolivian MAS in Comparative Perspective. (Huber, Robertson, Schoultz, Stephens, Vachudova). The thesis questions the established wisdom that political organization leads to oligarchy by assessing the democratic potential of movement-based parties when they assume national-level power. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Bolivia, it examines the behavior of the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) in the crucial arenas of candidate selection and national policymaking. The dissertation is motivated by the concerns that arise when state power is excessively concentrated in the hands of the executive body. The case of the MAS offers important insights into the opportunities and constraints of a form of organization that can diffuse power, keep grassroots control on the leadership, and enhance the influence of groups that have been historically underrepresented. The thesis should interest not only Latin Americanists but also scholars and practitioners concerned about the substantive defects and potentialities of young democracies elsewhere. Status: Ph.D expected Spring 2014. Publications: Latin American Politics and Society (2013), a book chapter in Latin America's Left Turns (Lynne Rienner, 2010), Comparative Politics (under review), Studies in Comparative International Development (under review).Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics, Social Movements and Democratization, Comparative Political Parties. Email: sanria@email.unc.edu; Web: www.santiagoanria.com

    Lauren Biddle. Comparative Politics / Methodology. Thesis: Corruption in Democratic Brazil (Hartlyn, Huber, Searing, Stephens, Martinez-Gallardo). This thesis, in the form of three articles, is based on over two years of field research in several Brazilian states. It deals with different ways to measure corruption, patterns of sub-national corruption and the institutional environment of anti-corruption agencies using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The first article looks at patterns of municipal corruption in Brazil using an innovative database created from the analysis of over 700 government audit reports. The performance-based measure of corruption generated from this data is then utilized to explore the political, socio-economic and environmental factors associated with sub-national corruption levels. Another article uses survey data from four case studies of Brazilian municipalities to create a multilevel model investigating the determinants of individual corruption perceptions, which include the socio-economic and attitudinal characteristics of survey respondents, as well as performance- and victimization-based measures of corruption. A third article focuses on the Comptroller General’s Office, the premier anti-corruption agency in the country. It provides a case study of institutional development and analyzes the reasons for the lack of success in curbing corruption through examining the larger context of Brazilian politics. Status: Defense complete, Ph.D. December 2013. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics, Brazilian Politics and Political Research Methods. Email: lvbiddle@email.unc.edu;Web: http://lvbiddle.web.unc.edu/

    Benjamin Danforth. Comparative Politics / Methodology / Population Studies. Thesis: The Development of Education and Training Systems in Advanced Capitalist Societies (Committee: John D. Stephens, David Brady, Liesbet Hooghe, Evelyne Huber, Gary Marks). I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. In this NSF-funded role, I am helping to oversee the development of the Political Party Database, a resource that will provide comparative data on political parties in more than 20 countries. In addition to this data management, I am working on a book manuscript and several papers that draw and build on the research I did for my dissertation; two of these papers have been submitted for publication. On the whole, these works examine why affluent countries have developed different education systems over the course of the past century using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data and methods. I also have several other research projects dealing with social policy, human capital formation, and political parties underway. Status: received PhD in 2014. Publications: Journal of European Public Policy and Journal of European Social Policy, other works under review. Teaching Interests: comparative politics, European politics, political economy, comparative social policy, introductory and intermediate statistics (including linear regression, generalized linear models, and time-series analysis). Email: bdanforth@uh.edu Web: http://danforth.me

    Svet Derderyan. Comparative Politics / IR. Thesis: My dissertation focuses on three broad questions pertaining to the influence of the EU on Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE) ability to fight corruption before and after accession. The first is whether the CEE candidate countries made progress in corruption control during the pre-accession period, and importantly, whether such progress was sustained post-accession. The second is whether the EU was able to empower civil society in CEE and make it a strong ally in the battle against corruption, and whether this empowerment was permanent or only temporary. The third is whether corruption had a differential effect on FDI inflows in CEE before and after membership was granted to these countries. The thesis contributes to our understanding of how international organizations influence governance, civil society, and economic development in newly democratized countries (Vachudova, Marks, Hooghe, Robertson, Jenkins). Status: Ph.D. completed in May 2015. Publications: A book chapter in EU Enlargement: Current Challenges and Strategic Choices, edited by Finn Laursen (P.I.E.Peter Lang edited volume); co-authored book with OUP “Governance Above the State” (Gary Marks, Liesbet Hooghe) (forthcoming); An R&R article in International Organization. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, International Organizations, Contentious Politics and Democratization, EU Politics, International Political Economy.  Email: sderderyan@gmail.com. Web: https://sites.google.com/site/svetderderyan/home

    Hanna Kleider. Comparative Politics / International Relations. Thesis: Decentralization and the Welfare State: Territorial Disparities, Regional Governments and Political Parties (Stephens, Hooghe, Huber, Marks, Vachudova). I examine how decentralization and the territorial structure of political preferences affect within country disparities in the provision of key social services. The analysis is based on a novel dataset that combines data on subnational social spending, subnational socio-economic conditions and partisanship of subnational governments for 14 OECD countries from 1980-2010. The multi-level growth curve analysis is complimented with evidence from in-depth interviews with subnational government officials. I find that political decentralization is related to larger territorial inequality. Yet, certain institutional factors, like centralized political parties and policy coordination mechanisms, cushion the centrifugal effect of decentralization. Contrary to previous findings, the analysis also suggests that territorial inequalities are not purely driven by socio-economic factors but are subject to the dynamics of partisan politics. Status: PhD completed in May 2014. ACCESS Europe post-doctoral fellow at the VU Amsterdam. Publications: R&R Journal of European Social Policy, co-authored book chapter with OUP (forthcoming). Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Social Policy, European Politics, Latin American Politics, International Relations, Introductory Statistics Email: h.kleider@vu.nl Web: www.hkleider.com

    Florian Stoeckel. Comparative Politics / Social Psychology. Thesis: Solidarity among Strangers? Citizenship, Identity, and Ambivalent Attitudes in Europe (Hooghe, Conover, MacKuen, Marks, Risse, Stephens). In my dissertation, I bring together work in political science and social psychology to examine the nexus between social interactions, political identities, and attitudes in Europe. First, using a pre-post test design with control group, I show the causal role of social interactions for the notion of community among individuals from different EU member states. Second, I demonstrate the role of ideological orientations on a left-right and new politics dimensions for the link between a shared identity and solidarity in Europe. Both chapters rely on a novel panel data set (n=1500), which I collected between 2010 and 2011. The third empirical chapter is based on a survey experiment (n=1013) in which I manipulate elite and identity cues to examine attitudes towards redistribution between more and less affluent EU countries. Status: PhD completed in May 2014. Currently Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (Florence) and lecturer at James Madison University (campus Florence). Publications: Political Psychology (forthcoming), Journal of European Public Policy (2014), European Union Politics (2013), book chapter with Routledge (2011), more work under review. Teaching Interests: European politics, comparative politics, public opinion, political psychology, experimental methods in political science Email: florian.stoeckel@gmail.com. Web: www.florianstoeckel.eu.

    International Relations

    Lindsay Reid. International Relations / Comparative Politics. Dissertation: Generate a Quality Peace: Negotiated Settlements and Governments' Respect for Rights in the Wake of Civil War (Mark Crescenzi, Stephen Gent, Navin Bapat, Caroline Hartzell, Kelly Kadera). In my dissertation, I develop a new framework for analyzing the success of civil war resolution. Whereas peace is most often defined by the absence of war, my dissertation posits that the conflict resolution process does not stop when war ends. Instead, I argue that conflict resolution is also a process that involves the reconstruction or development of political, economic, and social structures of inclusivity and opportunity. I develop and test theories for how both internal and external actors can interact to improve the quality of peace post-conflict. Specifically, I focus on how civil war peace processes influence the rights accorded to women, minorities, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. As a whole, my dissertation research as well as several other ongoing research projects engage how various stages of the peace process influence the consolidation of a quality peace following civil war. Status: PhD expected Spring 2016. Publications: International Theory (forthcoming, co-authored), Journal of Conflict Resolution (forthcoming), American Journal of Political Science (under review, co-authored). Teaching Interests: International Relations, Conflict Processes, Conflict Management, International Organizations, International Environmental Policies, Comparative Politics, Democratization, Undergraduate Research Methods. Email: lreid13@live.unc.edu. Web: reid.web.unc.edu.

    Political Theory

    Amanda Barnes Cook. Theory / Comparative Politics. Thesis: Breastfeeding, Feminism, and Political Theory (Bickford, Spinner-Halev, Lienesch, Eichner, Labbok). The thesis situates breastfeeding mothers within political theory.  I conduct a comparative study of welfare states, assessing states’ approaches to accommodating breastfeeding workers; examine breastfeeding in public, exploring the extent to which breastfeeding mothers are subject to demands to experience public life in a circumscribed way, without the full experience of publicness; and use the case of incarcerated mothers and the case of custody battles for breastfed infants to argue that mothers require access to their breastfed infants. Throughout, my approach and contribution is to prioritize both women’s autonomy and breastfeeding, and to determine what these twin goals demand of the state. Status: Ph.D. expected Spring 2015. Teaching Experience: Modern Political Thought, Contemporary Political Thought, Theories of Justice, Intro to Comparative Politics. Teaching Interests: Classical, Modern, Contemporary, and Feminist Political Thought, Literature and Politics, Intro to American Politics, Intro to Comparative Politics, Welfare States. Email: cookanb@email.unc.edu Web: http://cookanb.web.unc.edu

    Amanda J. Grigg. Theory / American / Women’s Studies Thesis: Everything and Nothing: A Feminist Critique and Revision of Contemporary Women's Health (Bickford, Spinner-Halev, Lienesch, Kirkland, Tolleson-Rinehart). In my dissertation, I explore health issues facing marginalized women, drawing on the work of feminist bioethicists, critical race scholars, and women of color feminists to challenge and expand dominant understandings of women’s health. Through an examination of issues including drug use during pregnancy, food insecurity, and the occupational health of domestic workers, I highlight the normative complexity of women’s health discourse, practices, and politics. To navigate this complexity, I develop and apply a feminist political theoretical approach to women’s health. Centrally, I argue that identity plays a vital role in determining how and whether women are helped or harmed by the dominant discourses and practices of health. Status: Ph.D. expected Fall 2015. Publications: Politics Groups and Identities (2015), The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory (forthcoming). Teaching Experience: Introduction to American Politics, Feminist Political Theory, Democratic Political Theory, Modern Political Theory, Political Communication. Teaching Interests: Intro to Political Theory, American Politics, and Women’s Studies, Feminist, Modern, American, and Democratic Theory, Gender and Politics, Race and Politics, Health and Politics. Email: ajgrigg@email.unc.edu Web: http://ajgrigg.web.unc.edu/

    Joshua Miller. Theory / International Relations. Thesis: Democracy and Judgment: Lessons from Ancient Greek Political Thought. (Bickford, Lienesch, Leonard, Spinner-Halev, Reeve) My dissertation examines the practical and ethical dimensions of democratic decision-making.  Insofar as democracies rely upon the policy decisions of their citizens, the question of what counts as good judgment has long been of rich theoretical concern.  It was especially important for the ancient Greek thinkers Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle, who placed judgment not only at the center of democratic life but also at the junction between political theory and practice.  Through an examination of their works, I conceive of sound political judgment as a reflective practice balancing moral contemplation with emotional intelligence and practical experience such that actors can make decisions under conditions of uncertainty.  By relating ancient Greek thought to contemporary theories of political judgment, I further suggest that democratic theorists can gain insights into the challenges citizens face in making policy decisions, as well as suggestions for how they might be overcome. Status: PhD expected May 2014. Publications: Polity (2012), other work under review. Teaching Experience: Ancient Political Thought, Modern Political Thought, Feminist Political Theory, America and the World: Challenges and Opportunities.  Email: millerjp@email.unc.edu Web: joshmiller.web.unc.edu

    Carl Najdek. Theory / American. Thesis: Identity, Democracy, and Cosmopolitanism in Walt Whitman’s Political Thought. (Lienesch, Leonard, Bickford, Spinner-Halev, McGowan) The thesis describes Walt Whitman’s democratic thought on the relationship between individuals and the communities in which they live, the idea of the modern democratic nation, and finally the role of the United States in an increasingly industrialized and globalized world. By looking at these three concepts, I consider Whitman as more than just a poet with political concerns but rather as a serious thinker whose thought transcended his time and envisioned a political system at once transformed by changes in industry and technology and united through a shared democratic culture. This thesis relates to American political thought, American political culture, democratic theory, literature and politics, and political theory more generally. Status: ABD (Projected defense in April 2013). Publications: American Political Thought (Revise and Resubmit). Courses Taught: Introduction to Political Theory, Ancient Political Thought, Modern Political Thought, American National Government (Online and in-person), Political Theory of Revolution and Terror, Evolution of Empires, Popular Culture and Political Theory. Interested in Teaching: American Political Thought, State and Local Politics, American Legislature, Literature and Politics, Medieval Political Thought, Democratic Theory. Email: najdek@email.unc.edu Web: http://cnajdek.web.unc.edu/.

    Joel Winkelman. Theory / American.  Thesis: A Working Democracy (Lienesch, Bickford, Spinner-Halev). The thesis argues that work is central to democratic life, both in theory and in practice. Through an analysis of three of the most important American democratic thinkers, I demonstrate that work was the central political concept in the arguments of democratic thinkers who sought to create institutions that protected individual interests and public goods. The thesis relates to American political thought, American political development, democratic theory, and political theory more generally.  Status:  PhD, 2012.  Publications: Polity (2012). Teaching: Intro to Political Theory, American Political Thought, Modern Political Thought, Classical Political Thought, Feminist Political Thought. Email: joel.winkelman@unc.eduWeb: http://jmwink.web.unc.edu.

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