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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.

For more information about any of our students, please see their individual web sites as listed below or contact Professor Frank Baumgartner, Placement Director

American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory

American Politics

Serge Severenchuk. American Politics and Quantitative Methodology. Dissertation Title: Polarization and Partisan Bias. Summary: My dissertation primarily deals with psychological bases of polarization and partisan bias. First, I examine whether people with certain psychological traits approach partisanship in a more emotional, biased manner. Second, I examine whether the effects of partisanship vary by the context (namely political vs. nonpolitical). Finally, I have a methodological study on conjoint experimental design in political science. It examines how different types of conjoint design affect subjects’ preferences. Status: PhD August 2019. Currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Dartmouth College, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences. Publications: American Politics Research. Teaching Interests: Quantitative methods, public opinion, political psychology, public policy, and American politics. Email: serge.severenchuk@gmail.com Website: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/serge/

Comparative Politics

Katharine Aha. Comparative Politics/International Relations/Methodology. Dissertation: Ethnic Heterogeneity and Party Politics in Eastern Europe (Vachudova, Hooghe, Martinez-Gallardo, Maxwell, Robertson). The three articles of my dissertation demonstrate that ethnicity, long argued to be an important cleavage in post-communist politics, continues to structure how parties compete with one another in many party systems across the region. This structure of political competition varies depending on whether or not a country has a politically salient ethnic minority group, and when present, the minority group’s previous position within the former communist state. In the countries that do have ethnic minority parties, these parties have become enduring members of the party system. Mainstream formateurs have found them to be a constant ally in governing coalitions: ethnic minority parties are more likely to be asked to join a coalition than mainstream parties, even when controlling for other factors, like ideology, that we may expect to contribute to a party’s appeal as coalition partner. Additionally, after serving in government, ethnic minority parties are not punished at the polls for poor performance, despite consistent punishment of mainstream incumbents. This hints that the ethnification of party systems is here to stay, as ethnic minority parties continue to be successful at mobilizing voters and earning spots in government. Publications: Party Politics (forthcoming) Status: PhD Fall 2018. Lecturer, Department of Government, Dartmouth College. Teaching interests: Comparative Politics, European Politics, Central/East European Politics, Ethnic Politics, Party Politics. Email: aha@dartmouth.edu Website: www.katharineaha.com

Guzel Garifullina. Comparative Politics/Methodology. Dissertation: Political leaders and risky decisions: the effects of selection institutions (Robertson, Bassi, Hooghe, Reuter, Olivella). In my dissertation, I identify and explore one of the mechanisms connecting institutions of political leader selection and leader characteristics and behavior – political ambition. I argue that the conditions under which political leaders are selected (whether they are popularly elected, whether the selection is competitive, how they are held accountable) determine who will choose to run for leadership. As a result, leaders with certain characteristics will be more or less likely. I focus on one such characteristic – risk attitudes – and demonstrate through a laboratory experiment how changes in selection conditions lead to changes in the candidates’ risk attitudes. I then test the predictions of this theory on the municipal level data from Russia, arguing that we should see the effects of candidates’ (and then leaders’) risk attitudes in risky policy decisions they are making. This adds to our understanding of specific conditions under which institutional changes lead to changes in political leader behavior and policy decisions and outcomes. My other projects focus on Russian subnational elites. Publications: Comparative Political Studies (2016, co-authored), Demokratizatsiya (2014, co-authored), Europe-Asia Studies (2014, co-authored). Status: PhD expected by May 2020. Teaching interests: Comparative Politics, Russian and Post-Soviet Politics, European Politics, Latin American Politics, Subnational Politics and Federalism. Email: gguzelle@live.unc.edu Website: www.guzelgarifullina.com

Stephanie N. Shady is a Comparative Politics Ph.D. Candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses broadly on social identities and political behavior and takes a social psychological approach. In particular, she is interested in national identity, religion, migration, the European Union, and political attitudes.  Dissertation: Her dissertation examines the varied ways that individuals use religion to conceptualize boundaries of community. Using original and existing survey data as well as qualitative case studies, she analyzes the consequences of religion-community boundaries for national identity and immigration attitudes in Europe and the United States.  (Dissertation article) Territory and the Divine: The Intersection of Religion and National Identity  2021. West European Politics (Online first). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01402382.2021.1884458?journalCode=fwep20  Despite patterns of secularization across Europe, religion continues to exert influence. Besides theological belief, religion is deeply integrated into daily life as a social institution and marker of who belongs in a community and who does not. (Dissertation article) Religion Policy and Subnational Identities  Previous scholarship has challenged the utility of broad national church-state models (state church, concordatarian, secular) for understanding religion policy, and this literature includes valuable single-case studies and ethnographies. (Dissertation article) Competing Christian Frames: Explaining Variation Among Christians in Immigration Attitudes in the United States “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in….” –Matthew 25:34-35 (New International Version)  In a 2020 presidential campaign event in New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) quoted the Biblical parable above as she pointed to the United States’ moral responsibility to treat immigrants with compassion. Indeed, compassion and humanitarianism are central tenets of a Christian moral code. Status:  Ph.d. May 2022. Teaching Interests: I am interested in courses in the fields of comparative and American politics and international relations. Within comparative and American politics, I am qualified to teach courses in migration, religion, political psychology and behavior, and public opinion with data analysis. I can also offer courses in European politics and integration. Within international relations, I am prepared to teach courses in migration and international governance. With nearly a decade of experience with National Model United Nations as a staff member and student, I am particularly interested in leading a Model UN team in conjunction with a course or as an extracurricular activityEmail:  stephns@live.unc.edu  Web: https://stephanieshady.com/research/

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International Relations

Daniel Gustafson. International Relations. Minor: Political Methodology. DissertationCompounding Grievances: Economic Stress and Self-Determination Movement Contention (Stephen Gent, Navin Bapat, Mark Crescenzi, Graeme Robertson, Dave Siegel). In my dissertation, I develop a theory that highlights the combination of economic stress factors and state repression as the key determinants of contentious strategies for both self-determination movements and governments. While conflicts between self-determination movements and governments are most often defined by the domestic opposition’s long-term aspirations, my dissertation asserts that groups’ and states’ behaviors are subject to short-term concerns. I argue that in order to understand the patterns of violent and nonviolent tactics used by the actors in self-determination disputes, we must focus on short-term grievances caused by poor economic conditions and the use of violence. Specifically, my dissertation research suggests that as economic stress factors worsen and governments engage in repression, self-determination movements become more violent. Knowing that repression might trigger anti-government violence, governments can observe economic indicators in their strategic evaluations of the decision to violently crackdown. I argue that these dynamics do not only apply to the contenders in self-determination disputes, as economic conditions and the use of violence shapes public opinion over the disputants. I test these hypotheses using an original dataset of self-determination movement events in Africa. My dissertation generates new insights into the ways in which short-term grievances affect the long-term strategy of self-determination movements, and it offers important policy implications for conflict prevention and the protection of human rights. Status: Ph.D. Expected Spring 2019. Teaching Interests: Civil conflict, contentious politics, the politics of self-determination, quantitive methodology, and Bayesian modeling. Email: gustafson@unc.edu Website: http://gustafson.web.unc.edu

Mitchell Watkins. International Relations/Political Economy. Dissertation: My dissertation focuses on three questions pertaining to the impact of foreign aid on political institutions and governance in recipient countries. The first paper of my dissertation examines the effect of Chinese development assistance on recipient country compliance with Western aid conditionality in Sub-Saharan Africa. The findings suggest that development assistance from emerging donors might deter policy reform, particularly in high conditionality sectors such as governance, energy and natural resources, and macroeconomic policy. The second paper examines the effect foreign aid on the incidence of political budget cycles in developing democracies. The third paper investigates how foreign aid projects impact citizens’ perceptions of institutional trust and government legitimacy using geolocated data on project locations and multiple rounds of the Afrobarometer survey for three Sub-Saharan African countries. Status: Ph.D. expected in May 2019. Teaching Interests: International relations, international political economy, international institutions and global governance, politics of development. Email: jmitchellwatkins@unc.edu. Web: https://mitchellwatkins.com/